Spinning a storyline through your brand marketing content is a growing trend in the digital sphere and an important part of the services of online pr agencies.
Modern brands may be taking advantage of new technology to connect with their audience, but it is the ancient art of story-telling that is having the most impact on customer engagement.
Studies show internet users spend an average of eight hours a day online. And the modern consumer is exposed to so much content, bland ads that do not convey emotion, are instantly forgotten.
Consumers today want to be entertained. They want something they can share with their social networks and talk about with their friends. They also want content that offers value.
Putting a story into an ad
Every brand has a story. You could start with how your company began and take us through the journey of your growth. But you also have products to sell. And they have a story as well.
But story telling does not always have to focus on you. It can star your customer. What are the pain points for your customers? There is a story in there somewhere.
Story-telling plays on our cognitive behaviour. Explain something in linear order and people will remember more than reading an article packed with information.
How to create stories in content?
The structure of your story should have a beginning, middle and end and include the five W’s; who, where, what, why, when.
Providing you have the fundamentals in place, you can create a story in an ad that appeals to how the human brain works. All you need to do then is bring your story to life.
There are many ways for brands to tell a story using any format.
Video and written content are the easiest way, and if images say a thousand words, then Memes with a strong statement, weave a plot line into the narrative of the picture.
Providing your story delivers a message for viewers to take away with them, you plant the seed that leaves a lasting impression on your audience.
Before creating content with a story thread, think about what type of TV programmes consumers watch. Reality TV shows and soap operas are the most popular.
One of the easiest ways to create content therefore is to tell a real life story about you or your customers.
The core element should be the brand message you want to deliver. Using your position statement as a central thread you can build the story around the theme.
To create a plot, look for inspiration in real-life stories and use the subjects as your characters. Any fiction writer will tell you, write about what you know.
Providing the story you tell is the truth and not fictional, of course.
The power stories have over the human mind cannot be ignored by marketers. And the art of telling a story challenges content curators to be more creative. So it is time to put on your creative hats.
Types of Stories in Brand Story Telling
Search engines and SEO marketers keep telling webmasters to upload quality content. But how can you define what quality content actually is?
Search engines define quality as content that “is fresh and engaging.”
This doesn’t really tell you a great deal, but one sure-fire technique of writing fresh and engaging content is to tell a story. And there are seven basic story types you can choose from:
The seven story types are as follows:
- The Quest
- Hero's Journey
- The Underdog
- Rags to Riches
Let's look at each in more detail:
1. The Quest
The most popular stories are “quest” stories, tales where the hero goes in search of something such as Lord of the Rings or Jason and the Argonauts.
In terms of business content, you can use the quest story technique to explain how you solved obstacles to reach your goal.
2. Hero’s Journey
The journey is similar to the Quest, the difference being the character is thrown into a situation rather than specifically striving towards a goal. Think Life of Pi, Up In The Air.
As a piece for your business, the journey is a problematic position you found yourself in and the lessons you learned to overcome the problem.
3. The Underdog
The Underdog stories are simple enough to decipher – and everyone always wants the underdog to win. This may be a story of how you overcame competition from direct rivals with more money and experience or maybe even a legal or social barrier that prevented you growing; the struggle to find funding for example.
4. Rags to Riches
This is another plot line that requires little explanation. Even in business terms it is the story of your business growth. These type of stories work well for an About Us where you began crafting your first product in your parent’s garage from borrowed material to becoming a multi-national corporation.
Hopefully you can avoid any tragedy stories, but if you do suffer setbacks and can turn this into content that offers value to readers, let it be known. Recently there has been a spate of articles from SEO companies admitting they have been fined for copyright infringement.
Humour is always a winner, but comedy stories are often the hardest to write. Rather than force a comical article, it is better to go with something anecdotal that relates to your business.
The story does not have to involve your business directly, it may be something you find in the news, but providing you can use the humourous angle to relate to your business you are on to a winner.
One of the hardest basic story plots for companies to pull off is the rebirth. This type of plot involves a character nobody likes, but during the course of the story he redeems himself for his misdemeanours.
In business, rebirth stories are good PR pieces companies sometimes need to clean up their public image. It is not recommended that you publish rebirth pieces unless you need to otherwise you are airing your dirty laundering in public when nobody even knew they needed a wash.
Approaching online content with a basic story plot in mind will help you shape the piece and make it a more enjoyable read for your audience. End users and search engines will love you for it.
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