There’s a lot of noise around content marketing these days. People have finally figured out that nothing sells their products and services as fast and efficient as good content does. After the success a couple of brands experienced in this field, a lot of businesses – big, medium, and small – have started to think of content marketing as their golden ticket to the land of riches.
It’s in our nature. Just like with anything else in business, people go wherever the money is. And content marketing is definitely where the money is today. How come? – Well, because we live in a day an age where information is power. It’s the only things that really sells these days.
You can no longer blindly chase your clients all over the Web. Nope. Those times are long gone, my friends. Things don’t work like that anymore. In today’s world, if you want to sell something and grow your business, you need to continually demonstrate your value. You need to make the people come to you. You need to make it clear to everyone who’s interested in doing business with you just how your brand, products, and services will influence their lives for the better. It’s your job to make the benefits of doing business with your brand transparent from a mile away.
Next to that, today’s shopper don’t really like being sold to. They’re more interested in finding out the best solutions by themselves, instead of being bombarded with all sorts of different ads and proposals.
This is where intelligent and compelling content comes to save the day. How? – By giving your shoppers everything they need to see you as a perfect solution for their everyday problems. If you manage do this, if you manage to make your targeted crowd see you as the solution to their troubles – you’re basically inviting them to come and buy whatever it is that you’re selling.
Content marketing is all about the journey and taking all the right turns that constantly, with perfect timing, cross paths with your customers on their voyage to success.
If you do it right, your content can easily become your best salesman. It’s all about understanding your shoppers and speaking directly to their main senses.
Even though content marketing has been around as long as marketing itself has, for some reason this technique is currently trending. A lot of businessmen today are looking for their chance to make it big by producing all sorts of different blog posts and webinars.
Although I don’t necessarily discourage these efforts, once the going gets though, once they figure out that content marketing isn’t really a walk in the park – a lot of companies that start strong in this department usually abandon ship and change their focus to something else.
Even though they have finally figured out that this is something in which they need to invest far more than just money to make it work for them, a lot of businessmen still struggle to understand what separates great from mediocre content.
I’m gonna tell you: Story.
What Do Stories Really Do For Us?
They make our information interesting, memorable and shareable. Next to that, they gear us to take action.
Everyone who works in marketing knows just how important this is to their success.
People are addicted to stories. They always were, and they always will be. Since the beginning of time, people used stories to get what they want. Why? – Well, because good stories have the power to provide contextual stimulation and inspire our audience to act on our words. They help our listeners better relate to the information that’s being presented to them.
Stories are fundamental to how we, as human beings, communicate. They capture our attention, make us feel, understand, and most important of all – they have the power to persuade and transfer value from one person to another. To view them as anything else than a necessity in business, it’s beyond stupid.
Recent research has shown that stories, metaphors, and even anecdotes are a lot more memorable to people than data. Storytelling is an essential component of content marketing. Without it, all your efforts will gown the toilet. Laying down sterile information is not gonna help you win in business. If you want to make the most out of your efforts, you have to feed your audience with a lot more than just content. You need to serve them with stories that trigger emotions and make them really sit down and think about what they’ve read on your site or ads.
But what kind of stories are good for businesses? What kind of stories get people to fall in love with your brand and products?
All types, really. But, in order to tell a story that will keep people interested in your brand and products, you must focus on these 3 critical components:
1. Register Who’s The Real Hero of Your Story and Speak to Him (or Her) In Your Content
Every story needs a hero. It needs a protagonist, that special someone who’s in the center of it all. Your hero can be an actual person, a fictional character, or even an object. It doesn’t really matter, as long as he (she or it) is the one who experiences some sort of transformation from the beginning ‘till the end of the story.
Numerous great example can be found all over the Internet. Personally, I love Chipotle’s story. They’ve created an animated short film about a scarecrow who fights a fictional evil corporation, Crow Foods, by bringing affordable food to the people in his area. It’s a clear case of the little guys Vs. the big corporation, and it works. Why? – Well, because it focuses on all the benefits that come with doing business with small to medium sized brands.
Even though this concept is something that most brands use in their content marketing, 8 out of 10 of them make the same mistake here – they make their business the hero of their story. The goal here is to focus on your shoppers because they need to gain something from your content, not you.
Just look at Under Armor. Founder and CEO Kevin A. Plank created a product that actually solves a real problem for all sorts of athletes, which naturally got them excited about his venture. By creating clothing from a material that remains dry regardless of how much you sweat, Mr. Plank forever ended the soaked cotton undershirt problem that’s been stressing out athletes from all over the globe for years and years now.
Naturally, the founder and CEO of Under Armor was smart enough to make this the foundation of his brand, story, and marketing, and as you know – he grew his company into a real power powerhouse in no time.
Under Armor is truly a brand that knows how to craft compelling stories for its targeted audience. Its content is all about overcoming obstacles, adversity, and everything else that stands in between of us and reaching our goals. Under Armor is all about pushing forward, which works so well with its targeted shoppers.
2. Unite Your Crowd Under the Same Goal, and Introduce them to a New World or Scenario
In order to get people to really stick with your brand, you need to unite them under the same story. In order to do that, you have to serve them with a glimpse of a better future. They need to see and experience through your content where you’re going, and what are you trying to accomplish. Nothing gets people interested in a brand like a strong vision of a promising tomorrow.
Also, you need to show them where they fit in your scenario.
This is an extremely important part of every content strategy. This is where we morph into one with our users. This is where we use our story to build relationships and create large communities around our brand.
Even though there are a lot of brands that I could use as great examples here, I think that no one did this better than the guys behind CrossFit. These guys have literally created an underground army – nay, rebellion – against the traditional/mainstream culture of working out.
CrossFit broke the mold. Instead of focusing just on giving their customers muscles, they’ve decided to take things even further. CrossFit’s emphasis is on turning their people into real soldiers. This program focuses on functional movements that allow clients to become better adapted for all sorts of different usual and unusual daily activities.
Unlike most brands whose story is oriented around their user’s problems, CrossFit is focused on the future.
They have created more than just a brand. CrossFit created basically a religion that gets people so involved in their story, that they cannot stop preaching about what this particular program has done for them, and where they, as a community, see themselves in days, weeks, months, and years to come.
3. Break the Mold – Introduce Something New
Even though solving problems and gathering people under the same goals is something that every brand, business and content marketing strategy should be about, in order to get ahead in this game, you still need to bring something unique to the table.
Your main goal here should be to present your audiences with something that they still haven’t seen before. If you want to be remembered in this endless sea of direct and indirect competitors, you need to find something that really sets you apart from the rest. And not just that. You also need to make sure that everyone who comes into contact with your brand and messages, instantly know who you are, what you stand for, and what makes you special.
Why? – Well, because, such stories showcase your brilliance. They present you as a visionary and someone who really works hard to achieve greatness.
Asana did a great job here. Like their tagline suggest, their goal was to put conversations and tasks together so you can get more done with less effort. Their main objective here is to cut out email (and all the complexity of using it) from the equation. Looking back at their currently active user numbers, I think they’re doing pretty good for themselves.
I hope these 3 critical components really helped you see what you need to in order to make your story and brand stand out from the crowd. If you have anything to ask or add to this text, feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section bellow.
That’s it for now,
See you soon again,
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.