Building a Brand: Storytelling in Content Marketing

It’s the latest buzzword in the marketing arena and rightfully so. Whether you call it Content Marketing, Brand Journalism or Embedded Journalism, it’s the latest tool (a powerful one at that) in that hands of today’s digitized marketers. ‘Storytelling’ is a fundamental human activity directed towards creating engagement. That engagement is what all of us marketers want to achieve with our work. Offering information in an attractive, fetching manner to your target audience has proven to be highly effective in the current era of content marketing.

Doug Kessler (Co-Founder of Velocity, UK): “Storytelling is patterned cognitive play”

What’s the barrier to entry for your company to reach out to the people’s networks? You have to make your company seem relatable and approachable. The humanizing effect that competent content marketing storytelling can induce, leads to a greater engagement with your target audience. Share information that can generate emotion, intrigue and a hopefully a reaction. That reaction can in turn lead to them talking about it, carrying it with them and sharing it with their peers. You are seeking that spark with your story.

A company doesn’t have to jump off the edge of space or launch a blimp to get their message across. We live in the age of the democratized internet where dunking a bucket of ice over your head can get your message across just as well. All you need is a good idea and an empathetic manner of delivery.

When it comes to “selling” we have long since been accustomed to selling price, benefits, discounts and features. While that definitely should be a part of your story/message, how often have you placed the focus of your story on the customer?

Content marketing takes a lot of planning. What will be your brand’s story/what story are you going to tell? It will have to encompass the values and direction of your brand. Once you have figured out who your audience is, what your mode/s of content will be and the platforms through which you will deliver; it will be ideal if desired outcomes can be outlined as well. Play to your strengths, if you’re a good writer, capitalize on that. If your team has a great video editor – work him/her in to your content plan. Well defined content creation workflow and approval coupled with the use of metrics tracking (to monitor and get the most out of your hard work) is now also an essential part of the process. It can be amazing how much the analytics insights can help fine tune your content over time.

On the SEO side of things, Google’s new algorithms have certainly changed the landscape for content. SEO is no longer about a set of tactics and optimization. SEO-driven opportunity has never been better for content marketing and Google’s new found fondness for visually appealing and long-form content means that they are considered to be elements of “quality” in searches.

One way to sum it up would be to think of your content marketing effort as a sporting event. Wouldn’t you be more engaged if you knew more about the lives of the athletes? Isn’t that a basis for you to be drawn to them and care about what they do?