Derek Gerber is the global marketing director at Active PDF, the leading global provider of automated, server-side PDF tools. Derek...
Did you know that digital content marketing obtains three times more leads than paid search advertising?
It’s now 2019. It’s time to invest more effort into crafting your digital content into attention-grabbing masterpieces that resonate with your audience.
Storytelling is a critical component of creating content that stands out and builds long-lasting relationships between you and your target audience.
Let’s dive into how to best incorporate different aspects of storytelling into your digital content marketing.
What is Digital Content Marketing?
Before jumping straight in, let’s remind ourselves what digital content marketing entails.
Content marketing is a tactic that involves the creation and distribution of relevant, valuable content to reach a particular group of people. The idea behind this is to ultimately drive potential leads and conversions into your sales funnel. According to Hubspot, it has been proven that “47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.”
What is Storytelling?
Storytelling, in marketing, is the act of sharing a story that exemplifies relatable challenges to portray an experience your audience will connect with.
This is a golden opportunity where your brand can shine through a different lens. It’s one of the fundamental elements to incorporate into your content marketing approach to ensure your content resonates with the right crowd.
How to Utilize Storytelling with Digital Content Marketing
Now that we fully understand the concepts of both digital content marketing and storytelling, let’s marry the two!
Think of content marketing as primarily a story focused on your audience’s needs. When planning out your pieces, include elements that draw your audience in and connect with their emotions.
When it comes to the B2B realm, we understand this can be a problematic push. However, if you keep in mind the following components, you’ll discover a new outlook when it comes to your digital content marketing strategy and utilizes the magic of storytelling.
Include an Engaging Hook
All good stories start with a hook. Reel your audience in with an eye-opening statistic or perhaps a hypothetical question that relates to them and leads into your story. You could even tell your audience an anecdote and have them paint a picture in their head (we’ll touch on this later).
Storytelling is about keeping the audience engaged and interested in what you’re saying. Content marketing is no different. Are you trying to increase your time-on-page metric? Hook your readers from the beginning to get them to read your article rather than bounce out.
Brand & Persona Embodiment
Your brand tells a story itself. Whether it be from how the company came to be where it is today to what values it stands for.
Ensure that behind everything you’re saying within your content, what your company believes shines through. Tell a story as a B2B brand and share perspectives you’ve experienced. Your content marketing can help build up your brand identity as well.
Directly correlated with your brand is your persona. When telling your story, you want your persona to come alive with the exclusion of selling your products/services. Instead, you want your persona to be relatable to your target audience that will connect with them on both an emotional and personal level.
If you take a look at the image below, you’ll see that Directive allows their brand and persona to show through the copy of one of their blog articles and navigate readers through different content types.
You want your words to embody who you are as a company. For us, we try to relate with our readers by being conversational and share our own experiences to connect with them.
Help Your Audience Visualize Your Words
In order for people to really connect with what you’re saying, use the right verbiage.
The first rule of storytelling is to give as much background information as possible, so you transport your audience into your story. If you want your marketing message to resonate, then you need to place it in a narrative form.
Let’s face it; people don’t willingly read articles that straight up display facts with no “oomph.” It needs to be understood that you should be taking your audience on a journey through what you’re trying to convey. After all, we are all humans, and we want to spend our quality time on something that makes us feel heard; not like we’re being sold something.
Below you can see an example from SentinelOne’s post about phishing scams that shows a strong story that makes the reader visualize what is being said and paints a clear picture of what is right and wrong.
Utilize Visuals for Representation
Speaking of visualizing… we cannot stress the importance of making sure to include visuals within your content that reflects what you’re trying to say.
If you have a piece containing all text with no images, you’re setting yourself up to have a high bounce rate. Users typically don’t stay on pages long if there is nothing to grab their attention.
I cannot stress enough the importance of including images throughout your content.
Whether they’re in the form of a graph, chart, infographic, or image that portrays the words you are preaching, they need to be in there to keep your audience engaged.
Make sure all visuals you use align with your branding so there is uniformity to your content throughout your site. We always recommend creating a branding guide to ensure consistency with design across the board.
Put Yourself in Your Target Audience’s Shoes
Imagine how many sites and pages a user visits in just one day?
Let’s just say that according to Forbes, an average of about 40,000 searches are being processed by Google every SECOND.
Yes, you read that correctly.
You can only infer how many pages an individual user visits every day, week, or month.
I bring this is up because you need to create content that will connect somewhere in your target audience’s lives. You need content that engages them more than the other billions of articles out there.
What sets you apart?
Start sharing specific stories that align directly with your target audience’s pain points. Use language that your audience will understand best. The idea is to have them read your content and think, “Wow, they understand how I’m feeling.”
Cherwell wrote a great piece, An Essential Guide to Facility Management Software, that helps their audience navigate through some best practices for a specific type of management. Cherwell’s expert tips speak directly to what the audience has issues with. This is precisely how you make a deeper connection with your audience.
The key is to make sure you come off genuine and that your audience feels comfortable with you.
Not to mention, this helps to improve trust that can be hard to find in our modern-day society. Put the people first and the rest will follow!
Coalescing Creativity and Science
The best way to bridge the relationship between you and your audience is to engage them with the creativity of art – something they’ve never seen before on the entire web.
Throwing eye-opening statistics and data that will persuade the reader with little to no effort is vital. The combination of these two elements helps tell a memorable story that is sure to resonate.
Remember, storytelling is more than just words. You need to paint a picture and persuade your audience that what you’re sharing is worth their time. Inputting data into a branded graphic is a great way to help your readers digest content easier.
Below is an excellent example of how you can accomplish just that:
Now that you have acquired a few tips on how to incorporate storytelling into your everyday digital content marketing, it’s time to hit the ground running!
Most importantly, let your brands persona shine through your content to make a connection with your audience. Be strategic in your content creation and be sure you understand “why” you’re creating it first.
Need help with your digital content marketing? Directive’s team of specialists is available to help you get moving.
Check out our numerous case studies that show how we’ll help you get to the next level.