5 Ways to Infuse Storytelling into Your Content Marketing

5 Ways to Infuse Storytelling into Your Content Marketing

Humankind has been telling stories for centuries—from around the campfires of pre-history to the modern eBook.

More recently, the growth of social media and the focus upon content marketing, has given storytelling a renewed prominence. Businesses are realizing just how much stories, and the art of storytelling, can be good for the brand.

Recent examples include Starbucks, which has employed storytelling in their ‘Upstanders’ campaign and the Lego Movie franchise, which cleverly weaves advertising and content marketing into a compelling story.

While advertising has traditionally been used to create brand stories, the skill of the storyteller in marketing is nearer to that of Charles Dickens than it is to Leo Burnett. And it’s a skill-set that a whole new generation of marketers are starting to learn by studying the art of the fiction writer.

The main role of the storyteller is in encouraging the consumer to engage with the brand at an emotional level, whether that is through social media, content marketing, or even other traditional marketing communication activities.

There are five ways you can do that:
#1: Dramatic Structure:
Adhere to the traditional dramatic structure - in his Poetics, the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, said that “A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end.” And while there are different variations, we are all used to that 3-part plot structure, which remains the basis of any good story: from the character’s initial problem through to their final resolution.

#2: Believable Heroes:
Create characters that the audience will develop some empathy for, such the Dos Equis “most interesting man in the world’ or Progressive’s Flo. Characters must be credible and the audience should have some reason to connect with them, follow their progress, and care what happens next.

#3: Brand Consistency:
Stories must be rooted in your overall brand promise and remain consistent with the way in which the brand’s message has evolved. Move too far away from your current brand and your values and you will confuse your audience and the impact will then be lost.

#4: Don’t Make it a Sales Pitch:
It is not about pitching the product, rather it’s about giving your brand more of an identify and inviting your audience on a journey that allows them to engage through a creative and authentic experience.

#5: Leave the Audience Wanting More:
In the UK during the eighties, Nescafé used a long running series of commercials that featured the on-off will-they-won’t-they relationship of a couple whose encounters centered around Gold Blend coffee. Known as the ‘Gold Blend couple’, the ongoing saga had viewers hooked and each new installment was greeted with considerable interest and it remains a classic example of successful storytelling in advertising.

So what’s your story?

Will Trevor is NYCRAMA's VP of Social Media. He has a background in sales and marketing, where his experience spans both agency and client-side positions. Will also worked in a range of industries, from the public sector, to manufacturing and recruitment. Most recently, he has applied his practical experience to the field of education and training, where he teaches in higher education, both in the UK and the USA. Find out more about Will on LinkedIn.

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