How To Use Storytelling
Although some business owners believe that marketing is all about spending enough money for advertising, the truth is that you can accomplish a lot, even without a huge marketing budget. The trick is to engage your audience and make them care about your message. However, if you want to have a compelling message, you will need to learn how to create a narrative that will get users interested in what you have to say. To help you out, we have put together a step by step guide to using storytelling as a marketing tool. You can use these tips to improve your marketing by increasing user engagement and retention.
What Is Storytelling As a Marketing Tool?
Storytelling is an age-old art that allows us to use words to share our experiences, thoughts, and emotions with others. From a young age, we use stories to learn about the world around us. Although storytelling is an art form as old as civilization, we have gotten very good at it over time, and now we have surefire ways of telling an exciting story. If we pay close enough attention to the best stories, we can see that they often have common patterns of piquing our interest and stirring our emotions. The better you get at telling stories, the easier it will be to tell a compelling narrative and engage your audience.
You have to realize that modern audiences don’t want to be advertised to. Nowadays, users are bombarded with more ads than ever, yet traditional marketing is becoming less effective. The drop in effectiveness is because users want to be entertained and engaged. Users don’t want to hear how efficient your products are, not until you get them to care about the message itself. Without a powerful message, users will scroll past your ads and never look back.
However, a witty and creative message in your ads isn’t going to be enough to get you noticed. Your competition will also attempt to draw a following through their marketing. Therefore, you’ll need to have a way to stand out in online spaces. SEO techniques can help you optimize and streamline various facets of your online presence, including your marketing.
Step by Step Guide to Using Storytelling as a Marketing Tool:
1. Create a Detailed Marketing Plan
We suggest you start by planning out your entire marketing campaign and how you will use storytelling to reach your desired audience. Of course, there will be differences based on the size of your company, the type of products you offer, and the demographics of your customer base. However, you can plan most marketing campaigns with a similar outline. While you are in the planning stage, you should go through the following steps:
- Define your goals. Not every marketing campaign aims to achieve the same results. Think about what your goals are since that can significantly affect the style of storytelling you will be using. Generating new leads for your sales department and building up interest for a new product launch will require different storytelling approaches.
- Set your marketing budget. Although storytelling is a reasonably affordable tool in any marketer’s repertoire, you will still need a way to deliver your content. Thankfully, there are forms of marketing that don’t require significant investments, such as PPC advertising. Pay Per Click ads are generally cheap and have a good ROI, making them perfect for testing new ads.
- Get to know your audience. We will discuss how you can use storytelling to appeal to different audiences further down in this article.
- Create a unique storytelling stylethat you will use in your marketing. Admittedly, not every marketing executive is a great storyteller; however, there are ways to get around this problem. Namely, you don’t need to do everything yourself, and you can outsource the creative writing to a copywriter. Remember that you should still give them an outline of your marketing campaign and what you want to achieve through the use of storytelling.
2. Who Do You Want To Appeal To
Before you start optimizing every aspect of your marketing, it would be helpful if you knew who you are targeting. The type of storytelling you will use is going to vary depending on who your audience is. You won’t use the same language or themes to appeal to 18-year-old TikTok-ers as you would for a B2B email marketing campaign aimed at CEOs. You’ll need to define your target audience and their interests accurately. Make a profile of your ideal customer and get to know everything about them.
It’s advisable to research even if your products appeal to several demographics. You’ll probably need to use different storytelling styles for the same product if you target different demographics. For example, you won’t market your tech and gadgets the same way for college students and families with children. While you can develop a unique storytelling approach for each demographic, you should still try to remain consistent with your brand values.
Most businesses neglect to take into account users from their area. Depending on the type of products or services you offer, local customers could make up a large percentage of your business. If you want to appeal to those users, we suggest looking into local SEO, which can help you improve the effectiveness of your marketing for users in your area.
3. Find Your Voice
It’s crucial to use the right tone to make your storytelling more effective. When discussing literature and written content, the author’s ‘voice’ refers to the tone and style of writing they use. This can also include vocabulary, sentence structure, and even inserting a personal point of view. For more complex marketing campaigns, you can even develop the characters you will feature in your advertising. You can give those characters unique personality traits and use them as audience stand-ins to appeal to your chosen demographic.
Another essential thing to remember when finding your storytelling voice is that it should be consistent with your brand values. Many inexperienced marketers make the mistake of trying to appeal to new audiences in a way that does not correctly convey their company’s brand values. This approach can be particularly problematic for well-known and established brands. While it is sometimes necessary to re-invent your brand, it is something else entirely if you are tonally inconsistent in your marketing.
Finding your voice and using it across all of your marketing is a great way to build trust with your audience. Once you establish what your brand is about, a consistent tone will help your followers create an emotional connection. Users will already know what to expect the next time they see your marketing, making your job much easier. It will also be easier for users to remember your brand if your marketing and branding are consistent.
4. Get Creative
One of the best ways to stand out from the competition is to channel your creativity and use it to tell an engaging story. In many ways, marketing is similar to comedy. Both are constantly exploring new and creative ways of telling stories and are known to push the boundaries of their respective mediums.
For starters, you can look at what your competition is doing. Remember that you don’t need to re-invent the wheel if you want to start using storytelling as a marketing tool. After all, every story has already been told; the only thing you can do is tell them in a way that is unique to your brand. Checking out what your competition is doing can be a great source of inspiration. Think about what they are doing right, and take notes. Also, consider which elements of their storytelling you think you can improve on.
A critical lesson you must learn is that storytelling doesn’t have to be confined to a written form. Use visual storytelling to your advantage since most modern platforms are primarily visual. Creative images and promotional videos can be even more effective at telling your story in online spaces.
5. Know Where to Spread Your Message
Traditional storytelling relies on the audience sticking around long enough to hear the whole story. Unfortunately, the same rules don’t apply when using storytelling as a marketing tool. Audience attention spans in online spaces are ridiculously short. Therefore, the stories you tell need to be concise and dynamic. The exact length or format will depend on the platform you will be marketing on. Thankfully, there are set trends you can follow for specific formats.
Here is how to adapt to the needs of each specific platform:
- Posting on your website. Create a blog section on your site where you can post long-form articles. However, it would help if you didn’t neglect to analyze your entire website to improve optimization. This process includes having a strong copy for your CTA and well-written descriptions and tags for your articles and images.
- Social media. Posting on social networks is imperative if you want to stay relevant. However, it would be best if you catered to each network’s specific needs. Twitter is good for fostering discussion, while you will get more engagement on TikTok if you tell your story through vertical videos. Social media marketing can help you stay in touch with your audience, but you will need to post regularly and update your profiles.
- Guest write on other sites. Talk to the webmasters of the website you are writing for about inserting links to your site. They will probably let you place a link or two in the article you are writing. Backlinks are an essential part of any SEO strategy. Guest writing can also lead more people to your site.
- Hire influencers. Having a real person spread your message can be a total game changer. Nowadays, you can find influencers catering to every niche. It would be best if you hire an influencer whose audience overlaps with your target demographic.
6. Track User Engagement Metrics
Just putting your content out into the world isn’t going to be enough. Most marketing experts know that they must keep a close eye on how their campaigns are performing, and the same is true if you are going to be using storytelling as a marketing tool. To gain insight into user engagement metrics, you’ll need to concentrate on the right data. If your audience isn’t responding to your storytelling efforts, you can reassess what you are doing wrong and make corrections to your marketing.
Don’t get discouraged if you have trouble finding your voice and building a following. It might take you several attempts to find the correct form of storytelling. That’s why we suggest experimenting with cost-effective forms of marketing before you commit to an expensive campaign.
7. Use Social Proof in Your Storytelling
If your business has been around for a while, you may have plenty of satisfied customers. Consider asking them for feedback and reviews and placing their comments on your website. Listen to what your users are saying and take the time to respond to them.
By taking a proactive approach and solving customer issues in a timely fashion, you will be able to get a large number of satisfied customers. Positive reviews can sway your website visitors to become paying customers. However, you can also implement social proof and user-created content into your storytelling.
Share the accomplishments of your employees and customers on your social media profiles. Organize contests for your audience and share the best submissions. Online audiences will be excited if you make users the stars of your marketing campaigns. This is a great way to build empathy and get the goodwill of your community.
Most types of digital marketing are never truly finished. You should always check how your campaign is performing and make slight adjustments where they are needed. Continual optimization is the name of the game, and if you are going to be using storytelling as a marketing tool, you will need to constantly explore new storytelling methods.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I use storytelling as a marketing tool if I don’t know how to write?
A: Thankfully, this problem has a reasonably easy solution. You can hire a copywriter. Look into freelance writers that have experience writing about the topics you are interested in.
Q: How long should the blog posts on my website be?
A: Blog posts should, on average, have more than 1.000 words. Recent SEO trends indicate that Google’s algorithm prefers long-form content, so you can aim for articles that are upwards of 2.400 words.
Q: What video length is ideal for storytelling on social media?
A: This greatly depends on the platform in question, as well as the preferences of your audience. Generally, avoid making videos that are longer than 1 minute. Sometimes a short, 5-second clip is enough to make your marketing campaign go viral.
Q: How do I deal with a negative response from my audience?
A: We have found that it is best to be sincere and truthful. Don’t ignore or delete negative comments. Instead, you should try to resolve any issues and win over the sympathies of your audience by showing them you care.