Nearly as elusive as it is essential, being a great storyteller is the difference between seeing your content take off and fly with the readers, or grinding it out week after week, looking for the answer. It really is that important to your marketing content success.
People are geared for story time. Ever since we were small children story time was a treat, enjoying an imaginative and magical experience with mom or dad. Enjoying a good story has been hardwired into us since we were infants. However, the challenge is holding their attention and making them yours until you say “The End.”
If you do a search for storytelling tips and advice, you will find a veritable library of content on the topic. Which is why I have avoided the topic thus far. How do you find your own voice with so many others in the chorus? Information overload can make a guy’s head spin, so don’t mistakenly blame last weekend for it. Here is the information you need to become a better storyteller.
I find it easiest to write when I am not being pulled in three different directions. I sit down when I have some peace and quiet to focus on creating a story that will get the customer to do whatever we need him to do. This may be directing them to a Call to Action button or contacting your firm for more information. The most effective way to motivate them to journey to the promised land is to tell them a story of a similar company that took the same journey, how they dealt with the problems along the way and why it resulted in a great success for the customer and another win for your firm.
Friends in Low Places
I believe that sales and marketing are one team. Their roles may be different, but their goals are the same – to drive revenue. The internet is full of stories about rifts forming between sales & marketing. If this is happening at your firm, today is the day it stops. Having sales friends can be a wonderful source of information. Everyone loves to tell their war stories, especially those that ended in a big win. These make excellent stories to use in your content marketing pieces. If sales doesn’t initially want to give you the time of day, then remind them that their pay check is proportional to the number of qualified leads generated.
Telling Tales – Your Fairytale Workshop
Every story has three parts – a beginning, a middle, and an end. We will look at each individually:
Once Upon a Time… – You come equipped for Act One, armed with the newspaper reporters “5 W’s”….who, what, when, where and why. Who is the client? What was their problem? When did this occur? (The more recent the more relevant.) Where did this take place? Why was this so important to them?
Slaying Dragons is a Tough Job, But Someone Has to Do It (*) – Act Two is where all of the action happens. This is your “conflict zone”. This is where you lead your reader on a merry chase across a battlefield that they have been staring down, all the way to the joy and rewards of resolution. This is your opportunity to create tension, do battle with the enemy (or problem), and restore peace and all that is right to the land.
(*) Apologies to Daenerys “the Rastafarian” Targaryen
Happily Ever After (or at least until the sequel) – After your brilliant accounting of conflict resolution and good vanquishing evil, you should have your audience right where you want them. Act Three is where you tie it all together, recapping what the effects from struggle and celebrating what effects the victory had on the customer.
In the end, your storytelling is only going to be as good as your ability to creatively describe a simple story about success. Make your readers feel the pain points. Build suspense and drama you can. Give them a good cause to feel good and celebrate at the end of the story. If this happens, you will have done your job as a storyteller.
Thank you for taking time out to read this piece. To hear the rantings of other voices on the same topic, try these two out:
How to Be a Good Storyteller in Content Marketing, According to Kevin Spacey
Content Marketing: How to Become a Better Storyteller