Since we were young, we've been told stories. It's a fact of life and something that we are all driven by (whether we know it or not). It's the deciding force of whether we like a movie or a novel, or connect with a brand. In fact, the top, most well-known brands in the world are all expert storytellers. From Nike and Subaru, to Apple and Airbnb, big brands recognize the importance of storytelling marketing. They are using it to create an army of brand loyal followers that feel connected on an emotional level.
Right now, you may be wondering - "How do they do it?" or "My company isn't a big name like Apple or Nike, so does storytelling marketing make sense?" It absolutely does! Your company, whether in finance, construction, or any other industry, can and will benefit from telling a great story.
In fact, according to Forbes, Americans consume an average 100,000 words online every day. That's a lot of content! Additionally, "92% say they want brands to tell stories amongst all those words". That means, not only are people consuming online content, the vast majority want storytelling. It's a huge opportunity.
We'll get into how brands are finding success with stories shortly. But first, let's define storytelling marketing.
What is Storytelling Marketing?
- The characters,
- who encounter a conflict,
- and eventually, find a resolution (through a guide)
That's the premise for every movie, book and short story you'll ever pick up and read. A story becomes unsuccessful when one of these things is lacking. Have you ever left a movie feeling unsatisfied (maybe even angry) when there was no resolution? Have you ever read a book where the characters weren't defined? It makes it hard to connect with the book, right? The same goes for storytelling marketing.
To paint a clearer picture, let's explore some additional examples. We'll start by taking a close look at some brands that are killing it at storytelling marketing.
Two Companies that are Storytelling Masters
2. Plum Organics
This organic baby food brand has released some stellar marketing campaigns over the years. Each of them relates to their customers and address the problems every parent faces. One of their latest campaigns, Keeping It Together, is a great example of storytelling marketing. The campaign revolves around a single message - "Let's commiserate through the blowouts and celebrate the baby steps. Follow us as we share expert perspectives, insights, and stories. You got this!"
How Does Storytelling Fit into Your Digital Marketing Strategy?
You may have a solid digital marketing strategy with a plan for inbound marketing, blogging, email, and social media. But, if storytelling marketing isn't a part of the equation, you should definitely take a step back and rethink your strategy.
Take a close look at the text on your website, starting with the home page. In this case, the character should always be your target customer. Does the copy in your header relate with your ideal clients and their pain point or current conflict?
Here's a great example from Campaign Monitor:
Their headline addresses a problem many of us face with email marketing - low open rates. So, let's break it down storytelling-style.
- The character is you, the ideal client.
- The conflict is low open rates.
- The resolution is Campaign Monitor's email marketing platform.
See how that works? Now, let's explore how storytelling marketing ties into content for blogging.
Blog writing should also include the three parts of a story. We'll use one of our recent blogs as an example - Refresh or Redesign? The Best Way to Fix Your Bad Website. In this article, the character was our buyer persona, the owner of a business. This is who we were speaking to. The conflict is our persona's bad website that isn't getting results. The resolution is either a website refresh or redesign, which the business owner should be able to determine after reading the article.
Social Media Marketing
Besides video marketing on social media, there are other ways to incorporate storytelling marketing into your efforts. For starters, think about your post copy. Does it speak to your target audience? Does it address their conflict? Does it offer a resolution? Airbnb does this really well.
Take a look at this recent post for example:
Airbnb addressed their ideal client who is looking for a place to stay in Scotland. By posting this available home, they are offering a resolution.
This can work outside of vacation rental properties, too. For example, say you own a finance company. Your ideal client could be a couple looking to get a mortgage for their new home. In this case, your social post could say something like, "You've started a new life together. Now, you need a place to call home, and a mortgage lender you can trust." Then, link to a case study or relevant service page for more information.
So, the newlywed couple (the characters) are trying to buy a new home, but need a mortgage (the conflict). You offer your services as a mortgage lender they can trust (the resolution).
Now, Start Telling Stories!
You now know what storytelling marketing is, the three parts of an effective story, and how it relates to your overall digital marketing strategy. Remember, if you go about storytelling marketing the right way, you will captivate your target audience and make them feel connected with your brand. And the more connected, the more loyal they will be. Now, go forth, and start storytelling!
You may be adding storytelling marketing to the list, but if you're not getting the results you want out of your overall strategy, take advantage of our free marketing audit!