Do you want to know what viral content marketing really is?
It’s easy; Content marketing is all about storytelling. By the end of this article, you should know exactly the connection between storytelling and viral content marketing, the skills to become one so that you can help brands, professionals, and businesses. Just like I do to help businesses, brands, and individuals to generate growth, build strong audience relationships, and generate leads which in turn increase their sales and profitability, you can also.
The power of a story
Humans need emotion to trigger actions. Having a positive emotion in content can stimulate the person much more than logic or numbers do. If you have seen children, they adore stories simply because they can relate to them. Just like that, we adults can resonate with stories as sometimes we see ourselves as the character struggling or traveling on a fantastic journey to magical places. They bring forth visuals in your mind and fond memories of your life.
When a brand uses stories, it really gets closer to its audience and gets rid of all the objections and blockages. Of course, the stories must be real when it comes to branding.
“Content marketing is the gap between what brands produce and what consumers actually want.” — Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group
Millennials and Teenagers for example love fantasy and adventure movies like Lord of the Rings, magic, and wizards such as Harry Potter, and people such as Superman and Wonder Woman with superpowers and special abilities.
Everyone wants their story to be heard
Is there a brand or a business out there that doesn’t want to share their stories with their audience and build strong relationships with them? Is there anyone who doesn’t want to grow and scale? Who doesn’t want leads?
Everyone wants all these things and Content Marketing involves a lot of storytelling. Not all Content Marketers are storytellers, and it takes years and years of training and practice to become a storyteller, but every content marketer is creative. A significant advantage to content marketers is the fact that they have a natural ability to learn storytelling skills. All they need to do is build those skills to be able to craft engaging stories, especially in a business and brand context.
Marketing doesn’t equal selling
One thing that I see a lot is Marketing simply used as a means to sell. Marketing is not selling. People are tired of being sold to. A typical person gets around 10,000 ads every day if you combine all the social and online channels they are in. They do not want another ad or sale landing in their inbox. Many people have the impression that 90% of brands only try to sell by talking only about their products and spamming their inboxes.
Great marketing shouldn’t feel like selling. It is merely a part of the sales funnel. As a marketer, you are talking to humans, don’t forget that. Just because you are online doesn’t mean you should treat people like bots. Humans are still humans, whether online, on social media, or offline. You are a human so learn to communicate and treat everyone as human.
“Many companies have forgotten they sell to actual people. Humans care about the entire experience, not just the marketing or sales, or service. To really win in the modern age, you must solve for humans.” – Dharmesh Shah, CTO & Co-Founder, Hubspot
Write like a journalist
Content marketers can be excellent copywriters. They mostly write every single day of their life for diverse types and formats of content. However, long blogs and articles cannot be considered as stories just because of their length. Many creatives mistake this as the ability to story tell, but this is simply not the same.
There are certain people such as journalists who are ideal storytellers and can be excellent content marketers because it’s their job to collect stories, interview individuals, and write impeccably for magazines, newspapers, and other publications. The way journalists copywrite is unique in the fact that they are taught to gather information. They do it based on the 5w’s – who, what, when where, and why. When you answer all these elements in an article or news story the emotional effect and impact on the audience is tremendous.
If you look at top brands, they usually hire professionals such as journalists for their content marketing, simply because it’s that much easier and economically viable. Some brands do amazingly because they have understood the concept of storytelling far better than others.
Make your story unique
The marketing teams of top brands are usually exceptional in connecting with the target audience and attracting their attention. A few examples are Apple, Microsoft, Google, Coca-Cola, and Red Bull, I can go on and on with the list. All these brands have managed to identify their unique stories whether it’s from a garage or from its corporate side. People don’t buy goods or services, they buy trust, value, emotions, experience, and something to connect with.
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.” – Seth Godin, Content Marketing Guru
Essential elements of storytelling
Now that I have explained Content Marketing and its connection with storytelling, it’s time for me to tell you what the essential elements are that go into storytelling along with some bonus tips that are necessary for effective storytelling.
1. Define your core message
If you don’t have a core message your story’s going to sound useless and boring. There must be a point to your story. You can’t just tell a story because you want more sales and more conversions or more people to follow. People need to know why they should continue to pay attention to the story.
2. Decide what kind of story you’re going to tell
One version of storytelling is in to get other people to act and do something positive. If you tell a story that motivates people, you can get them to act. Another way of storytelling is to tell people about yourself. You can have a story telling about the difficulties and successes you went through. It could be motivational. this can help inspire other people to resonate with your story and follow your personal brand, follow you over social channels.
Personal storytelling is extraordinary. when people get to know you, they relate more, they’re more likely to follow you, and your personal brand is more likely to grow.
Conveying value is another way of telling a story that gets people to join you. If other people believe in the same values as you do, they’re more likely to relate with you and follow you as well. This not only helps generate sales for your company but also helps with your personal brand.
The philosophy behind storytelling is that people typically tell stories to educate and pass knowledge on. When you educate or pass knowledge on to others through a story they’re more likely to retain that knowledge and be able to execute it in the future.
3. You need to establish your call to action if you tell a story
So, you got people hooked and they’re all talking about you, they’re supporting your personal brand and your business. But if they don’t know what to do next, you’re not really going to see any sales or conversions. You need to tell them to do things like check out your company, follow you on social media channels, and join your email list.
It doesn’t have to be a major commitment, where they have something to buy right away. It could just be as simple as joining your list so that you can tell them more stories, build more of a connection with them, and then eventually convert them into customers.
3 Extra tips
I’ve been storytelling for a long time, and I found that when a story includes these 3 main things, it does much better. Let me give you these 3 tips:
You need to have characters
This allows people to see themselves in the story and be part of it. Without characters, there will be a disconnect between you telling this story, and the person listening on the other end. Always have characters and make them relatable.
You need a conflict
Without the conflict, there’s not going to have that hook that gets people into it, waiting to see what happens next. When we don’t have conflict and all is well, people will get bored.
You need resolution
You have characters and the conflict, now you need the resolution to go with it. If you follow all the steps plus the bonus tips, you’ll do well when it comes to storytelling. If you need help with your content marketing and strategy if you want to grow, generate leads, and connect with your audience.
Content marketing is on the rise thanks to the internet. More and more people are getting online every day to check out new sites and content. However, not every person is a writer and not every site posts original content. Some people think content marketing is about just posting things on your website and hoping people take them seriously. This is completely wrong! The goal of content marketing should always be to tell a story.
Content has become an important tool for content marketers. Storytelling helps people remember key points and gain immeasurable knowledge. It’s a way to cut through the noise and get to what’s important. Your content should tell a story.
Content marketing is all about using stories to influence decisions and help people reach their goals. Stories can evoke emotions, persuade people, and can create a community around a product or idea. Storytelling helps you connect with your audience on an emotional level and can help them remember your brand.
About the author
Novnish Ramesh is a content marketer and strategiest having a decade worth of experience.
His sole aim is to help brands and businesses learn about content marketing so that they can use it effectively to create strategies to grow their business, generate leads and form meaningful connections.