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Storytelling in Marketing as a Content Strategy

Posted by Carlye Creel on March 1, 2018 at 1:49 PM

oldretrotypewriterontabl_535648.jpgThe hottest marketing trend on the strategy block is content marketing. The allure of storytelling in marketing (through text, videos, photos and graphics) hits all the sweet spots: emotions, education and empowerment.

According to Marketing Land, storytelling is engaging, relatable and often draws on empathy. When an audience member identifies with a character, their mindset may change — which can help inspire action, whether it's filling out a form, sharing content, commenting on a post or clicking the "Buy" button.

Winning Content Marketing Campaigns

With the guidance of a savvy marketing team and precision follow-up after a campaign launch, you can make lasting impressions. HubSpot's latest State of Inbound Report — its ninth annual report on the future of inbound marketing and sales — highlights that:

  • 32 percent of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy

  • 47 percent of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep

  • 53 percent of marketers say inbound marketing (via blog content creation) is a priority

With those numbers in mind, here's a sampling of top-notch content marketing campaigns.

Budweiser: The beer company's Clydesdales can be counted on to make an appearance every winter, but the brand improved on its classic commercial with a story of friendship between a golden retriever puppy and a gentle giant horse in a 2014 advertisement that aired during the national championship football game. The heartwarming spot showed that a compelling advertisement can be about more than just effective product placement.

Houzz: Everyone loves one-stop shopping, and Houzz has set itself apart by combining designers, vendors, home products, inspirational articles and so much more into one sleek website. The organization has gone beyond SEO e-commerce pages and created Houzz TV to highlight real projects (and product features!) from start to finish. The channel's home interior inspiration, feel-good stories and celebrity spotlights create inspiring episodes that encourage viewers to finally take the leap into home remodeling.

ALS Foundation: Sometimes telling good stories is as simple as giving people the right opportunity. The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Foundation doesn't quite roll off the tongue, but the organization needed a way to increase its visibility among the general public. The Ice Bucket Challenge was the perfect solution. Supporters shared their experiences with ALS, pledged a donation to the organization and dumped buckets of ice water over themselves. Since completing the challenge gave people the chance to challenge other individuals, the videos quickly went viral — just what every organization hopes for.

Takeaways For You

You don't need a million-dollar budget to replicate what worked in these successful content marketing campaigns. Instead, you need focus. Try these storytelling strategies outlined by award-winning writer and director Robert McKee:

  • Motivate people to reach their goals

  • Engage a reader's emotions by telling a story they can relate to

  • Harness the audience's imagination

  • Do something memorable

  • Create a scenario that shows the future with your product

  • Document struggles, expectations and reality — not all stories are rosy

  • Show how to overcome problems

  • Tell a truth with raw compassion

Tackling storytelling in marketing on your own can be a great learning experience, but if you need more guidance, reach out to a professional who can help you create a unique approach.

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Topics: Content Marketing

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