March 22, 2021 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
Content is essential for any brand, company, or mission, regardless of the industry. While some may think of content as simply “posts” or “blogs,” it’s so much more than that. Content, in any and all forms, tells your story. Your story impacts how you are received, how people interact with you, and the legacy you leave behind. Making sure that you’re not only telling a story worth hearing, but doing it in a way that people will remember, is what will set you apart.
It’s a common misunderstanding that content only refers to written pieces. Content is really an umbrella term for messages. Messages can be in the form of words, videos, art, or audio. Any form of content will require storytelling skills. Videos and podcasts need scripts and storyboards. Any form of art, from design and visuals to music and dance, only comes to life when a story resonates with the viewer.
In terms of marketing, storytelling is sharing a message with your target audience through a narrative that creates a connection. It is mindfully making content more engaging to lure your audience in. Using storytelling methods as a form of advertising can help to gain brand recognition, product excitement, and a greater return on investments made.
Being a storyteller may come naturally, or it may seem like the words don’t even want to be on the page when you first start, but with a plan, practice, and some patience, you’re probably a lot closer than you think. Before you panic at your computer desk and stare deeply into a blank word document, try the steps below:
There’s nothing like a good brainstorming session. Whether that means taking out a piece of paper and doodling until you have that “a-ha” moment, or doing a lot of research, there’s no incorrect way to get your creative juices flowing. Whatever method works for you, use it to determine what you want to be your mission to be so that you can focus your brainstorming around this.
A mission statement is a statement of purpose. It explains why your company or brand exists. A mission statement guides those that are on the team while also creating your reputation to the public.
Once you have determined your mission and message, start to gather more information to support your mission. This could be in the form of statistics, facts, pictures, data, or even other people’s stories. In doing this activity, one of two things will happen – you’ll either pat yourself on the back because you realized you’re on the right track, or you’ll realize you’re not quite where you want to be and give yourself the chance to redirect to where you were aiming for.
After you’re happy with your message, have facts to back it up, and feel confident moving forward, begin detailing your plan to share your content. Start by figuring out whom you want to get your content. Who will be your target audience? Then, decide what the best way to interact with that audience is. What sort of tone do you want to have when communicating with your audience? Conversational? Serious? What tone does your target audience respond best to? Next, understand the best way for your audience to receive this content. Blogs? Social media posts? What platforms are best for them?
Outlining is a great way to organize your thoughts and the plethora of information you’ve just collected. It’s not a bad idea to create an outline for both your overall marketing plan and the individual story you’re working on. It’s a good way to keep yourself in check and know that you’re following the plan without forgetting a step.
Using your outline, it’s time to write your first draft. While you’re doing this, it’s important to remember this is just a draft. This version doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to get you heading in the right direction.
It’s a good idea to step away from your first draft and maybe give yourself a day or so before re-reading to allow yourself a clear mind as you begin the revision process. Go through it for grammar, style, and flow. Have someone you trust read through it to pick up things you may not realize. Ask other trusted people their thoughts. Create as many revisions and drafts as needed until the content is exactly how you envisioned it or even better.
Determine where you want to publish your story. Maybe it will a website, blog post, or on a social media platform. Where you publish your story can sometimes determine how well the message is received. When it comes to social media, be sure the platform is aligning with your target audience.
The largest age group that uses Facebook, making up 26% of the 2.7 billion monthly users are people between the ages of 25-34 years old.
Instagram’s largest group of users are people between the age of 25-34 years old, totaling 33.1% of the 1 billion monthly active users.
Twitter has 330 million monthly users, 38% who are 18-29 years of age and 26% who are 30-49.
LinkedIn has 260 million monthly users with 21% between 18-24 years old; 60% between 25 and 34; and 17% who are 35-54 years old.
The leading users of Pinterest are between the ages of 30-49, totaling 35% of total users per month while people between the ages of 18-29 are right behind at just 34%.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps generate more traffic to your story. Having a high-quality SEO plan will bring people to your story over someone else’s. There are many different elements of SEO that make your page the most optimized. On-page SEO refers to content on your page and optimizes the site based on keywords, while off-page SEO focuses on backlinks that get people to your page. Technical SEO deals with the back end of the site and how your website is viewed by an audience. Putting research and time into these will bring more viewers to you without you having to go to them.
Once you feel you’re in a good spot with your story and the way you’re going to market your story, it’s time to publish! Confidently put your story out for the world to see and wait for people’s reactions.
See how people are reacting to your story. Whether it’s being well received or not, engage with your audience. It could be for praise, feedback, or new ideas. Your story is the conversation starter, and the follow-up is how you keep connections.
Becoming a great storyteller means very little if the content you’re writing about isn’t interesting or creating conversations with your audience. A rule of thumb is that if a story is not interesting as you’re writing it, it probably won’t translate to being interesting to read either.
People are not always willing to read long novels, sometimes they prefer chapter books; it’s the same with content. If a person sees a very long post composed of long paragraphs and minimal white space – they will probably feel overwhelmed and look for a post that’s easier on the eyes. When composing your story, stick to shorter paragraphs, incorporate bulleted lists, and make the presentation look appealing and simple to navigate.
Research is a major component of content. You want to be able to stand by everything you claim. If you’re unsure of something, no matter how big or small of a detail, do your due diligence and find the answer. If there’s no one set answer, make sure to communicate that with your readers as well. Being a good storyteller is providing entertaining content, but also providing people with accurate information to allow them to come to their own conclusions.
Missed spelling mistakes will instantly take your storytelling skills from hero to zero. With all the technology and tools available, there really is no excuse for spelling errors. Even in content that is visual or audio, if there are any written words, they should be checked and while you’re at it, utilize the other forms of technology to ensure high quality. Is the audio smooth? Are the visuals in high resolution? Use any resources you have available to enhance your reputation by supplying stand-up content.
Everyone loves a good book with pictures. It breaks up the words and creates imagery for you to follow along with. In any piece of content, if there’s a way to incorporate multiple elements such as pictures, videos, charts, or graphics you should. This not only will keep the reader entertained and focused on the piece as a whole, but can be helpful in generating more traffic to your page. This can also be translated into content that isn’t article-based. If your content is in the form of art, add a description. If it’s a podcast, incorporate a behind-the-scenes video of the recording.
Additionally, grow your content to become multiple elements. Perhaps what started as an article grows into a video. That one video could then ignite a second video, maybe a third, or even a series. The responses and comments to your original content may also create topics for the future.
Sometimes people need a prompt before they start conversing with someone new, so why not add a prompt to your piece? Finish your story by directing questions to your readers. If you’re using a social media platform to post a story, encourage people to comment or message you their responses to questions you’ve asked. This will create a greater connection among you and your audience and give you a greater following.
You need to believe in whatever you’re producing. There’s a reason you’re telling the story you’re telling. If you’re not confident in telling it, your audience may feel more confident listening to someone else.
Often times to create meaningful content, we have to dig deep within ourselves. Sometimes that means reliving moments that are emotional. Let it happen. There’s no fault in being vulnerable or emotional when it comes to storytelling. In fact, it’s encouraged. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you allow real and raw emotion to come out. Embracing raw emotion in storytelling makes you authentic to your audience and builds trust. The connection between writer and reader becomes more like the connection between close friends sharing important stories with each other.
Consistency in storytelling doesn’t just refer to the frequency of releasing content, but also in the messaging. Sharing quality content regularly entices your audience to check back and stay up to date on your stories. Keeping in touch with your audience solidifies the relationship. Make sure your messaging is consistent. If your opinion or process changes, explain why it changed to your readers or viewers. Don’t be a wishy-washy communicator, as you’ll lose reliability.
Storytelling can be extremely overwhelming. Some may not have the resources, the time, or the right people to bounce ideas off of. Others may try their best but just can’t get the results they want. CopyPress is your one-stop shop to truly help you on this journey. We are the solution for generating, promoting, and scaling your content to successfully execute your marketing initiatives. If you need help from start to finish, or assistance with one specific element, CopyPress has the team, experience, and knowledge to bring you to the next level. The simple software, dedicated team, and proven results separate CopyPress from other content marketing resources.
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