Storytelling in Content Marketing

Storytelling in Content Marketing

Apr 7, 2016

There is a new old disruptive buzzword in content marketing this year and it's storytelling.This is the new grade of how I can tell if your content is readable, catchy, entertaining, witty, educational and of actionable personal value to your readers.

In fact, I can tell in five seconds if your content makes the grade. Most of the content I read does not. It falls into the trap of thinking thought leadership should not be about storytelling. It's not engaging or is educational without being entertaining. It omits visual cues, it omits the optimization of the text to be readable, it omits the story that makes the content valuable.

Storytelling is the oldest form of narrative that's personal, identifiable, relatable and visual. Think about what I'm about to tell you for a moment; studies on Medium have indicated the most popular posts have a grade six reading level and take 7 minutes to read. People enjoy a narrative that provides a personal journey that has emotional content and experiential value. 

Content Structure for an Emotional Journey 

You know that vague theory behind content that it should have a beginning, a middle and an end? Writers and even some copywriters know this, many other writers do not maximize this, it goes a something a bit like this: 

Storytelling in Content Marketing

[see the image here]

Being authentic in content is not as difficult as they would have you think. Add a personal tone, dumb things down, but not too much. Add emotional, visual and experiential cues for the audience to find value in the content apart from topic, headline, stats and links. 

Storytelling is what happens to make the best visual marketing as well, think of your favorite Instagram, YouTube skits or Pinterest profiles. They all incorporate visual branding that's unique, fresh and feels like quality. Storytelling in content is the same, the words have a distinctive vibeto them, they are not over-edited.I recently wrote a piece, that was edited by three people and then rewritten by someone else and presented as his own work. Needless to say, the storytelling of this piece was completely absent, I do not have to wonder why. 

Storytelling is in this author's native voice, it's content marketing with a distinctive voice, that's the call-sign to writing you want to read, it has a personal brand lens of the mother brand. It's not copy able, it's not just writing in a formula, because it utilizes and encapsulates the experience of the author. Ironically, good orators and persuasiveness speakers often have zero ability to translate this into text. It's usually that quiet copywriter who has a vivid imagination or may have been a late bloomer. 

In 2016, storytelling should be incorporated in your branding, in any number of ways. It makes you want to 

identify with the author

, empathize with the topic, it builds an emotional connection with the audience and is not simply click-bait. A piece of content that's 500 words cannot be storytelling, it usually must take the form of long-form content. It will not sound like an advertisement, a sales-pitch, or mention the brand multiple times, those are big no-nos. 

Stories are continuously evolving and spontaneous iterations are frequent based on community memes, popular culture and events. ~