As I sat down to write this blog post on a chilly October morning, I cradled a mug of strong, black coffee in my hands and stared out the window at the cars passing on the street below. Their exhaust spiraled upward like the steam from my cup ‘o joe. I paused briefly, and then I began typing...
It’s been well researched and reported that the human attention span is shrinking. This is especially true of consumers. They have so many options to choose from when it comes to products and services that, generally speaking, they will only invest seconds in taking a look at yours. One exception to that statement, however, is that they will give you more of their attention if you offer them a story.
They can’t help themselves. Telling and listening to tales is so deeply ingrained in us, it feels downright rude to leave a story in progress! Consequently, that “moth to a flame” behavior is something all marketers, especially those who are using a content marketing approach, should take advantage of.
Get Up to Speed, Then Get Creative
How can you incorporate storytelling into your marketing? Here are some tips.
- Familiarize yourself with the art of storytelling. Almost any story is more engaging than more of the same old marketing copy. But a well-crafted story can take engagement to a whole new level. There are plenty of resources out there that can teach you to spin a powerful yarn. You don’t need to become Shakespeare, but taking a little time to get a decent foundation in storytelling is a good idea.
- Get personal and emotional. Yes, this is very hard to do in a business setting where your instinct is to be… businesslike. But your stories will be most effective if they cause the reader to feel connected with the characters and to have a rooting interest, so to speak.
- Think outside the (case study) box. Case studies are great, don’t get me wrong. But they aren’t the only place you can tell a story. In fact, there are very few places in your marketing content where you can’t or shouldn’t tell a story.
- Use stories as an “addendum.” As powerful as stories are when it comes to grabbing and keeping a prospect’s attention, you don’t necessarily always want to lead with them. In some cases, it’s best to start with a more traditional presentation of the information, with a story serving as optional reading. You’ll be surprised at how often it gets read.
- Fire your internal editor. It can be difficult to shift gears from writing marketing copy to writing stories, but give yourself permission to be creative. Readers understand and accept that the tone and tenor of a story may be very different than other content you produce. And they tend to enjoy the change of pace. So, experiment. Make this piece a mystery or a comedy, or whatever you like. Then you can gauge the reaction and respond accordingly.
Your Next Chapter
As I completed my blog post, I pushed back from my desk and thought about the many calls and meetings on my calendar for today. I smiled, knowing my team and I would be helping some great companies connect with their target audience and grow their marketshare.
(Confession: I don't really drink coffee. But see how the beginning of this blog post added a personal touch that propelled you to the bottom?)
How can storytelling help you separate yourself from your competition? We’re an inbound marketing firm in Colorado Springs that helps companies like yours share their message and grow their sales. Let’s talk about your next project.