“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell” ― Seth Godin
Nowadays, online marketing is based on narratives. The customer needs more than just a product to pay for, he needs an idea conveyed in an interesting form. The ability to tell stories has become something like a superpower in the field because it makes all the difference to the reader.
We might think that storytelling is just the new unicorn in town, but it’s more than just a trend. Do you want proof? Ask yourself what you would prefer to read: dull facts or a content that can “read your mind” and that addresses your problems?
We tried to figure out what makes a good story and how does its magic work in the content writing world. How does the element of storytelling help one promote a website?
Here you have some great tips and examples of how to use storytelling on your website.
Storytelling stands at the very core of marketing
Before we start, there is something you should consider.
We believe storytelling stands at the core of marketing, and it’s the best tool one can use to promote an idea. But there is a long journey until you gain the audience you want, and storytelling is just one tool you can use to do so.
In the first place, an SEO optimized website is a must have: search for an optimization guide, hire an SEO expert or learn SEO and become an expert yourself. Don’t forget about the technicalities, but focus on the idea and on the content because that’s what makes the difference.
What is the reason for telling a story in a world so full of them?
To educate, to provoke, to inspire, to entertain – there are a lot of reasons for telling a story. A good story is something authentic to talk about and it’s critical to figure out what will make YOU write a story and to find out you must get inspired.
Nowadays there are more people who tell great stories. The means they utilize to tell those stories are very different: videos, infographics, social media, photography, paintings, etc. Great content comes in all shapes and forms. In most cases, great content is about writing, and lots of websites use storytelling as a strategy.
One of the best examples of a website based on storytelling is Kickstarter. Here people get funding for projects by telling stories. Another example we have in mind is TEDx with its amazing and countless stories to tell. But there are other websites that have compelling and interesting storytelling strategies.
- Weirdlyhub (Making companies weirder in all the right ways) that aims to make recruiting an easy and pleasurable thing to do and helps in the process.
- Zendesk – a customer support software website, who has excelled at storytelling. Once they have filmed a video about an indie-rock band called Zendesk Alternative, upset about Zendesk “stealing” their name.
- Soul Cycle has a whole new approach to fitness. The coaches that work there are inspirational speakers, and it is a narrative that is very compelling to the customers.
These are only some of the online businesses that use storytelling to win over their customers and readers and each has found their unique approach.
How to do it?
Stories speak to us and make us feel connected with the writer, connected to his message and to his brand. That’s why great content implies a narrative.
But how to make your story compelling to the reader?
Know your readers. The key to good writing (as well as to a good marketing strategy) is putting your readers/audience first. Know their needs and, what’s even more important, their questions! You must find out what kind of questions they ask about the topic you’re writing on and then answer them. Simple as that.
It’s quite easy to determine the questions of your readers: use Quora, check your competitor’s website, including the comments sections where you can find original ideas, ask yourself how to make your content better, get inspired and don’t forget to ask questions yourself.
Build it. Now that you know what you need to talk about, you better start doing it. How? Basically, there are five ways you can tell a story on a website:
- Be the brand. Talk about yourself, about what you do. But focus only on one main idea. You can invent a character or just be yourself. Examples: Oprah Winfrey, Jamie Oliver, Al Gore. Show everyone that you are what you do.
- Build an intrigue. Promise your readers something they cannot refuse, but be honest and give them what you promised. Leave them wanting more. Make teasers and write great headlines that even you would click on.
- Don’t forget about structure. The structure is everything, that’s why you need an exposition, a climax and an end to every story you write. And even if your website is informative and the articles you write are not at all fairy tales, by following the storytelling structures, you will gain much sympathy from the readers. If you represent a company, write something about it on its website, something that will keep the customers wanting more.
- Show that it’s important. When writing something you must know how important your message is but to show it to everyone else, you must keep it simple and be honest about it.
- Be truthful. Don’t write a story that has no connection to reality. Remember: readers are smart, and they can sense everything. They root for honesty and won’t buy it if the content is not authentic and truthful.
Read. Reading is the key to writing so if you’re willing to write good articles you may as well start reading good articles and books. There are tons of amazing books. Check out, for example, Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoire of the Craft. But don’t limit yourself to reading only how to books and articles. Do your research, and your readers will be more than grateful.
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