Every organization has a story. If that story is authentic and it resonates with consumers, it helps that organization to bring in the big bucks. That’s because people are more likely to spend money on products and services they can relate to. Your story can be inspiring, funny or a little bit of both as long as it makes people feel something. Many businesses find it difficult to create an effective consumer-facing narrative. However, this is a big part of any quality content marketing strategy.
Why Narrative is So Important
Contrary to what you may have heard, business is personal. It is all about connecting with other people, solving their problems, and providng a top-shelf customer experience. Sales and revenue only come after you build a relationship with your customers and demonstrate that you can meet their needs. As it happens, storytelling is a great way to build relationships and keep customers engaged regardless of your industry and the product or service you sell.
Everyone loves a good story. Stories about people are more impactful than facts and figures. This is especially true for B2C organizations but there is also a human element in B2B marketing. That’s why businesses need to ensure they craft narratives which connect with their prospective customers.
Consumers are bombarded on a daily basis by all kinds of advertising. If you don’t want your brand to be buried in the cacophony of messages, you need to use your consumer-facing narrative to help you stand out. Focus on what makes you unique.
An important thing to remember is that your narrative is not really about your organization. It’s about the value of the products or services you offer to customers. The best consumer-facing narratives put to the consumer at the forefront.
Let’s look at just how you can reap success by telling your story.
Keep Your Narrative Simple
Quality content marketing doesn’t have to complicated. Actually, it shouldn’t be. You probably don’t like movies or books that are difficult to understand. You certainly wouldn’t like if they didn’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. It’s safe to assume your customers won’t respond positively to a complex, confusing narrative.
Over time, you will naturally have different products and services. You may try new platforms and new advertising strategies. However, your core values, purpose, and mission should remain the same. When you tell your brand’s story simply and effectively, customers can focus on the actual content. Think about how Nike’s stories always revolve around determination or how Coca Cola is all about spreading happiness. Whether a customer is on your YouTube channel, Instagram page or website, the narrative should be consistent.
Appeal to Emotion
Businesses gain popularity and remain popular because people connect with them. It happens in much the same way that people see something of themselves in their favorite characters on TV or in books. Your narrative may include values many of your customers hold dear or challenges they are currently experiencing.
That’s why you should resist the urge to focus directly on your product and selling its benefits. Quality content marketing is not about a hard sell. Rather, it should tell people why they should care about what you have to say. Share what makes your organization unique. Talk about your strengths and how you came to be where you are. You don’t have to tell all the stories from your perspective. Instead, incorporate testimonials and case studies so your customers can share how you helped them.
Choose Language Which Will Resonate with Your Audience
Most businesses want to come across as friendly, yet authoritative. Whether you’re writing an Instagram caption, a video script or a blog post, you want customers to see you as approachable and relatable. If you are too formal, you risk pushing people away. Consider using humor or informal language if it is in keeping with your overall brand. Essentially, write like you’re talking to a friend, not delivering a stuffy academic presentation. People respond to authenticity, not perfection.
At the same time, you need to watch your tone. It’s now just about what you say but how you say it. Your tone and voice need to be appropriate for your target audience and the occasion. Conversational language targeted at millennials is very different from conversational language aimed at baby boomers. When you’re deciding on your tone, think about what you want your audience to do and how you want them to feel after engaging with your content.
Add Some Surprise Elements to Your Content
People love cliffhangers. They enjoy suspense and the promise of something new. Nobody know this better than Apple. That company creates lots of anticipation ahead of its big launches and predictions about new products drive the conversation in the days leading up to the events. Your organization probably can’t do such big production, but you could include an element of suspense in your content. You can tease customers with your email opt-ins or end a blog post at an exciting point to get them coming back to read the next installment.
Stay Active on Social Media
You can’t just tell your brand’s story once and assume it will go viral. Sure, narratives spread via social media but you will have to do a lot of the pushing. If you’ve published a lengthy interview with your company’s founder on YouTube, break it up into shorter videos for Instagram. Pull out interesting quotes and tweet them so others will share them. Invite feedback from your audience. All these actions help you to ensure your brand remains top of mind and you carve out an even bigger space for your organization.
If you’re in business, your aim is to sell your products or services. However, this doesn’t mean you should focus solely on driving sales. Customers are more likely to support brands and organizations which make them feel something. As you probably know from your personal life, a sure way to make someone feel something is to tell them a good story.
Maybe it’s a rags to riches tale or an account of how someone stumbled on an ingenious idea. Perhaps it’s about how they help other people to improve their quality of life. Whatever your journey has been or your current situation is, your customers want to hear your narrative. Dig deep and think about what makes your product or service special and how you can convey that to your audience. High-quality content marketing which includes a sound customer-facing narrative can do wonders for your organization.