Hooray! You’ve decided to engage in the oldest form of marketing there is: storytelling.
But, where do you start? How do you begin a content marketing strategy? What stories do you have that are worth telling?
If you’ve been entrenched in “features and benefits” marketing for years, or even decades, it can be very hard to shift gears and come up with compelling storylines.
What can you use for inspiration? Where do great stories live? Here are some ideas to help grease the wheels:
- Your Customers — Who are they? Why do they use your products or services? What kind of outcomes do they enjoy from using them? (These are the "buyer personas” we often talk about.) And remember, you want your stories to help people make an emotional connection to what you do. Saying, “Robert uses our software to complete his projects faster,” does NOT do that. Instead, “A former college basketball player who still has a fiery passion for the game, Robert was thrilled when getting out of the office earlier meant he could coach his daughter’s youth basketball team—a team that ultimately won the league championship,” is more what you’re after.
- Your Company — Again, you’re looking for the human interest side here, not founding date and average gross revenues. Why was the company started? What were the founders trying to accomplish? Has the early “vision” changed? How is the company involved in its local community or the global community? Companies often have trouble appreciating the truly interesting and inspirational aspects of their own stories because they are so close to them. You know, the forest for the trees. Step back and view your organization from a fresh perspective.
- Your Product — Nope, not feature and benefit bullets, but the backstory. What was it like when it was first released? What are the successes and failures you've encountered as it has evolved? What is its future? What is the lifecycle of a new release, from drawing board to delivery? What is it like to be in the “war room” days before a new version is rolled out?
- Your People — Every person in your company has a unique story. How do those backgrounds come together to produce your company’s culture? Do your employees use your products and services? What is to be gleaned from a “day in the life” of one of your employees? How does staff input help define company direction?
These are just some of the places to find fodder for your storytelling. You’ll see as you start crafting some engaging tales that the more of them you tell, the more you uncover. You’ll also find that as your storytelling skill increases, your audience increases as well. And that, dear readers, can lead to a very happy ending!
If you're still having trouble gaining traction we'd be thrilled to talk with you about a collaboration.