It goes back to the childhood
Yes, that far. Your parents used to read stories, which had the magical power of taking you to another world. You were slaying dragons, looking for lost treasures and escaping from a bad witch. Do you remember how captivated you used to be by the plot? You felt the same as the heroes in the story.
You were not alone
And the good news is the power of a good story still works now when you’re an adult. There is scientific proof to that.
Stories make us remember facts quicker – it’s because a part of our brain responsible for memorizing is the same part we use for imagination. A great example gives us Steve, the ecommerce expert from RPC headquarters: he tells of a history teacher in his college, who was always passionate about the subject. He used to discuss a Mexican War or Bubonic Plague so vividly the whole class sat mesmerized listening with the jaws dropped. None of the students ever before gave a flying flip about these wars, yet all were transported into the events by the power of great storytelling.
Storytelling techniques in marketing
That’s why a good story plays a major part in brand building. Let’s define brand building here. It is creating a positive image of a brand, giving it a personality your customers can relate to. Can you connect the dots?
We use emotions to make decisions
Psychology Today further explores how emotions influence the way we shop. They say our brain, and MRI neuro-imagery precisely, stimulates the way we perceive brands. We pick companies that make us feel good, and not the ones selling best products. Interesting, isn’t it?
So how does it translate to you, as a freelance content strategist?
Let’s start by referring to Antonio Damasio and his book Descartes’ Error – “Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain”. Here, the author shows that emotion is a necessary ingredient in a decision making. When faced with a choice, we refer to feelings and previous events when we had similar dilemma.
The study in the book involves people whose emotional and thinking areas of the brain became disconnected due to a previous damage. These people could process the rational information but were not capable of making any decisions, as they didn’t know how to feel about them.
Let’s see how famous brands do it.
Have you ever searched for a house? Then you know stories can be powerful. You see, you were not looking for three bedrooms and one en-suite. No – you were buying an idea of sitting in the secluded garden in the evening with a glass of wine. You wanted to hear of a tale of taking an evening shower and going straight to a fresh bed without passing through a hallway. The soft carpets in the rooms told you how fantastic it will be step on them instead of cold linoleum. That’s one of storytelling marketing examples showing how good story affects our emotions and the decision making.
But property is not the only market that uses stories to sell. Each and every brand do it too: Coca-Cola with their Christmas truck rolling in to your town or McDonalds trying to tell us their burgers were growing on the fields just yesterday. Yes, these are all stories.
But let’s get to facts
Let’s say you are after new patio furniture for the summer. You go through a home store catalogue to pick the right one. Which is more likely to catch your eye – the simple ad with a description listing number of chairs and dimensions of the table – or a full size family scene: parents relaxing on the chairs while kids are playing around a table?
Emotionally you are drawn to the other option, right?
You picture yourself in the scene, you see benefits this particular table can bring you – the other table can offer exactly the same features – but emotionally you have already made a decision. That’s how strongly emotions affect our choices. It’s much greater force than a reason alone. That’s why brands refer to storytelling techniques in marketing.
Johnnie Walker is a great storyteller
Another example is Johnnie Walker whiskey. They portrait their brand as a traditional, Scottish artisan company that treasures recipes and keeps them in the family. They are also amazing storytellers. Just check The Man Who Walked around the World video above, where Robert Carlyle takes us on a journey to the Scottish Highlands. The bag pumps fill the air, the mist sits in the mountain ridges and a spellbinding Scottish accent tells us a story. Aren’t you captivated and transported to that scene?
See, they don’t mention any offer – no - this would break the spell. They create an emotional connection with the viewer. They entertain while strengthening traditionally Scottish brand image. They bond with us by the power of words.
Now’ it’s your turn.
Be confident. Believe in your story – tell others to follow you. If you don’t believe in your tale, no one else will. We already know storytelling is more powerful than advertising – after all, we do filter most of the ads we see online. They just tune out of our radar. But stories have a special ability to connect with us.
Human factor is important too – no it’s not like you want to be friends with customers, but show a human face behind a brand – look how Co-op and Asda feature their staff in the TV commercials. That’s also part of the story. Find what fits with your brand message – and consistently use it with the right tone of voice, images and colors. Branding also spreads to social media and newsletters.
If you are not sure how to craft a story to capture your viewer’s imagination, hire freelance content writers to do it for you for a fraction of time it would take you to achieve similar results.
Story can trigger good or bad emotions and it’s hard to strike the right chord. Remember that people don’t buy products – they buy how you make them feel. Do you know how your customers want to feel?
Google loves fresh content.
Ecommerce experts agree, that Google ranks pages with new content higher than others. That is why updating your blog is so vital for your SEO success. You give Google a nudge there’s something new on your site and they should index it for their users. The more often you post, the more often Google will be coming back.
Additionally, 60% businesses who blog, attract more customers.
But, that’s not all. Search engines prefer longer pages – ideally containing 2000 words or more. That is another reason why posting articles is so important. They contain a lot of text, a valuable data and it’s a golden opportunity to enhance your website with target keywords. You build your authority by sharing facts only you may know in your niche.
That’s also fantastic opportunity to get more shares. The more valuable your article is, the more likely your readers will share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other sites. And we know Google loves pages people interact with. They see them as valuable to the public – & rank them higher. Google wants to show most beneficial pages in their results – and websites bringing value will rank higher.
Create evergreen articles.
One article with evergreen content is able to bring tons of traffic to your website for years to come.
Once you get people on your site, an informed article will convert them into leads. What are leads? These are people who take specified action: subscribe to your newsletter, download an e-book or buy your product. The article will help you achieve it by including a specific call to action.
Let’s say you want to buy a weed killer for your garden. You find many products online, but don’t know which one to choose. What do you do? You research to educate yourself on that subject. You find a long article comparing most popular weed killers, listing the specifics, how well they work, how to use them and if they are toxic to the dogs. Only then you feel reassured with your choice. You click on the link in the article to buy a product online. But before leaving the site, you share the article on Facebook to tell friends who have a similar issue.
Of course, that’s how we shop - we want quick answers to make informed decisions before buying a product. That’s the job of articles. The magic happens only when you add a right call to action. Give people incentive to buy from you – offer 10% off in your article.
By posting regular articles you build your authority.
Readers are going to recommend you as an expert in the niche, and be back next time they are shopping for garden supplies. They now consider you as a reliable source of information and are connected to your brand, feeling grateful for solving their problem. The blog gives your brand a personality – that’s a great way to differentiate yourself from a competition. Remember - people buy from people - give your company a right tone of voice through articles.
Moreover, great content will be seen, liked and shared by others for months to come, bringing more and more traffic to your site. A person searching for a weed killer next year is likely to buy from you as well. Quality article will be steadily building your authority while you are busy running your business. That’s the power of a great content.
Blog will also help you build your subscribers’ list. People will want more of the content you publish as soon as it appears. Articles help you reach more people, who will regularly receive newsletters with offers from you.
Consistency is key.
You have to post on a regular basis to get on Google’s good side. Keeping your website fresh is one – but sticking to a certain schedule is another important issue. According to Neil Patel, his blog had little traffic when he was posting irregularly. Only after he established a pattern, and decided to upload new content on certain days of the week, his traffic started growing steadily. Hence getting a copywriter to post on a regular basis is crucial to your site’s rank.
Freelance Content Strategist. Helping brands find a right voice, one story at a time. Passionate about animal onesies, meaningful conversations and well-spoken people
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