As marketers, when we show that there’s more to business than making a profit, we’re more likely to build longer-lasting customer relationships. One of the best ways to do this is through storytelling.
As humans, we connect emotionally to stories, characters, and ideas. And as consumers, we want to feel that businesses understand us on a deeper level. This is why, according to one study, 92% of consumers prefer stories in brand messaging.
Storytelling Benefits for Content Marketing
It’s harder than ever before to capture the attention of busy consumers. But storytelling achieves some things. It makes your brand more memorable, relatable, credible, and unique. And all this leads to a more engaged audience, which is also good for your search engine rankings.
Stories can also boost conversion rates. In one test, consumers were five percent more likely to purchase a bottle of wine that featured the winemaker’s story on the product page, than customers who saw a standard description. They were also willing to pay 6% more for the same bottle.
Use the following storytelling tips to build more compelling brand stories and give your content marketing more long-term impact.
Enticing Your Audience to Bond With Your Brand
Customers want to buy from brands that they feel aligns with their personality and values. Therefore, when you get readers involved with your brand’s story or the stories of your employees or customers, it can spark a connection. This bond can have a significant impact on creating new customers and boosting brand loyalty.
Chanel’s website is an epic example of storytelling, taking readers into the luxurious world of Chanel in each “chapter” of the site.
Luxury goods can be a tough sell – people are buying a feeling as much as they’re buying the product itself. That’s where Chanel shines, making readers feel like they’re being invited into the sophisticated Chanel universe and learning exclusive secrets about the brand’s products.
Showcasing Your Human Element
Great content captures the humanity and personality of your brand as well as helps your audience understand your mission and values. An effective storytelling strategy that humanizes your brand can be your origin story – how did your company get started?
Frozen-foods company Amy’s Kitchen nails this technique on their website.
They tell readers how they sold handmade pot pies out of the family kitchen during the early days of their business and never imagined the enormous success that lay ahead. This story helps the brand appear humble and family-oriented, and it gives their frozen, microwaveable meals a homemade, wholesome vibe.
A good story doesn’t just help you build relationships with your audience; it also boosts the shareability of your content.
A study delved into the psychology of social sharing and revealed that content was more likely to be shared when it evoked certain emotions – amusement, awe, fear, and anger topped the list. While anger and fear are probably not advisable emotions to try to invoke with your stories, if you can get elicit an emotional response from your readers, it’s also more likely that they will remember your brand in the future.
Storytelling Doesn’t Have to be Difficult
There’s no need to be intimidated by the idea of telling stories to your audience. Specific patterns tend to come up again and again, and you can take advantage of these basic formulas in your storytelling. You probably recognize some of these classic story structures:
- A coming-of-age journey
- A hero’s adventure
- A beginner being taught by a master
- Triumph over obstacles or adversity
Dove Products put one of the classic storytelling patterns to good use in their Real Beauty campaign.
This marketing campaign told the stories of women who overcame obstacles to develop self-confidence and view themselves as beautiful. The real-life tales resonated with Dove’s audience and helped the company boost their revenue and social reach
11 Tips for Creating a Great Brand Story
1. Be Authentic
Fake stories will soon be exposed and won’t help your brand’s credibility, so keep it real. Share true anecdotes, and don’t be afraid to talk about your failures; showing the human side of your business is more relatable. Let people see the real people behind the brand. Share your personality and individuality.
2. Show that You Understand Your Audience
On the flip side, you also need to show that you grasp the genuine concerns of your audience. Within your stories, outline situations and challenges your audience will relate to so that they’re able to see themselves in the story.
3. Highlight Conflicts
One way to show that you understand the challenges of your audience is by describing the problems they’re trying to solve. Highlighting their struggles can show potential customers that your product is the solution they’re looking for and will build brand trust.
4. Use Customer Stories
User-generated content is another great way to make your brand more relatable and prove how your products fit into the lives of consumers. GoPro has become one of the best storytelling brands, letting customers tell their own stories through video content that shows the brilliance of their products. The brand now has over six million YouTube subscribers.
5. Experiment with Different Content Formats
Use a format that effectively communicates your story to maximize its power and reach. For example, a video can have a more emotional impact with beautiful imagery, but a case study can speak to readers on a more rational level. Try different approaches. Are conversions from your “About” page low? Why not try displaying an animated video?
6. Don’t Forget Design Elements
Visuals can affect the way a story is interpreted. Think about how your logo, background colors, and fonts look on the screen. Whether it’s a video, infographic, or blog post, make sure your visual style complements your content.
7. Quote the Experts
Bringing in industry experts from outside your company is a simple way to make your stories more trustworthy. According to Nielsen research, 67% of consumers think that an endorsement from an unbiased expert makes them more likely to consider purchasing.
Why not interview an expert in your industry to add some credibility to your content?
How did your business begin? You probably had to overcome many obstacles to build a successful business. Sharing your origin story and highlighting the difficulties you’ve faced makes your brand more honest and approachable, which can quickly set you apart from the competition.
9. Use Supporting Data
Revealing some hard data is a simple way to add depth, credibility, and even surprise to your storytelling. Share customer case studies, industry statistics, and customer survey results to highlight your brand’s mission and capabilities.
10. Try the Unexpected
What makes some brands stand out? They do something unexpected. Arab Dairy, manufacturers of Panda Cheese, had massive success with their “Never Say No to Panda” commercials, which feature a Panda who terrorizes people for not wanting to try their cheese. What could you do that’s a little bit unexpected to make your messages more memorable?
People like to share stories that reflect the qualities that they see in themselves. The most sharable stories make people feel something, and they share them to help define themselves as individuals. Do your stories empower your customers to reveal themselves? Make sure your content is easy to share with social share buttons.
Use these tips to deliver more powerful content that shows your brand is about more than merely your products and services. Tell genuine stories that stir emotions and make people think. It’s one of the quickest ways to build trust, stand out from the crowd, and build deeper connections with your customer base.