Storytelling… it can be the most powerful form of marketing you use. I say “can be” because in order for a marketing story to be hungrily consumed, there are certain key ingredients it must contain. And these elements are the same regardless of what you are marketing or who your target audience is.
To grab and keep a reader’s attention, your marketing “stew” must contain:
- 1 Part Truth — People deserve and demand honesty from the companies with which they do business. If at any point while reading your content they sense that you are misleading them, they’ll be gone faster than you can say "The End."
- 1 Part Relevance — All of your marketing efforts should be based on, and geared toward, specific buyer personas. A tale about how your product changed the life of a 23-year-old woman is going to be less influential to a 65-year-old man than a story about someone in his peer group. Write your material as if your target audience is looking over your shoulder as you work and commenting on what’s important to them.
- A Splash of Emotion — It’s often been said that buyers make emotional decisions and justify them later with reason. Figure out what makes your readers happy, sad, excited, angry, etc. and then identify where those feelings exist in the story you’re telling and be sure they are exposed or even amplified. (And your passion for what you do is always a great addition here.)
- A Pinch of Clarity — People love a good mystery, but not from you. From you they want a story that is easy to follow and delivers a clear, happy ending. Leave them guessing and they’ll likely just leave.
- A Dash of Enlightenment — Ideally a good story—marketing or otherwise—will show how a character has made a journey and been changed along the way. Whether that character is one of your customers or staff members, or one of your products or services, people want to see it evolve and grow.
Now, of course, the “base” for this stew is your stellar products and services. No story, no matter how compelling, is going to help you sell inferior goods. But once your base is ready, it’s a fairly short recipe, easily tweaked and refined to fit your needs and the desires of your target market. So, get cooking; your hungry audience awaits!
Oh, and don’t forget about “presentation.” Gourmets will tell you it can really help make a good meal great. Both your branding and the amazing inbound customer experience that you create help you present your content and your offerings in the best possible light. Bon appetit!