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Storytelling hacks for content marketers

Storytelling hacks

If you have a compelling story to tell, you have power. At least the power to grab people’s attention. What matters then is how you convert that initial interest into long term engagement with your audience. People have been known to forget their immediate woes and even hunger pangs if they are distracted by a good story.

In a time constrained, digitally focused world where people’s attention span diminishes by the minute, it makes sense to create stories that are short in terms of time but not in terms of quality of content. If you want your audience to come back to you again and again, you need to hook them with the right information that makes a difference to them.

More and more enterprises are realizing the importance of storytelling to make their content marketing efforts more impactful and pervasive. Readers and audiences worldwide are responding better to concise content be it is in the form of short blogs with uses cases and examples woven in or as visual content such as crisp, meaningful infographics, or short, sharable videos.

So, how do you ensure you tell your story the right way to have the right impact? Here are a few tips:

  1. Know what you want to say and who your target audience is: Have a definite storyline, make a sketch with the end audience in mind. While what you say could be important to you, if it doesn’t translate to the audience in the same manner, it doesn’t matter. Having a plan will help you zero in on the right online and offline platforms where you want it to be pitched to reach the right audience with the most optimum spend from your side.
  2. Gather all your content first, trim it to suit your sketch: You might have thousands of gigabytes of video data collected as your raw material. However, you will need to use only the bits that will have the maximum impact on your audience. Add the narrative that will bridge your storyline to give the complete picture. Write freely as you follow your thoughts, then revisit the content to edit and give it the shape and structure you want.
  3. Make it short and sweet: Most of the videos that go viral these days are short – lasting 2 to 3 minutes at max. They do not demand too much of your time. So are most advertisements and promotional videos. If your videos are long, they better be so damn good that the viewers don’t feel cheated of those few precious minutes of their life. When it comes to blogs, remember to keep it simple and direct. No one has time to dwell on heavy, convoluted text that demands them to keep a dictionary handy.
  4. Have solid takeaways for the audience: If your story rambles without a point, chances are you will lose your audience mid-way. And in a highly competitive, dynamic business world, customers rule. They are hard-pressed for time, have choices galore and are not averse to checking out the competitor’s offerings. Sincerity is key when talking to your audience, as is value for their money and time.
  5. Involve your audience: Add real-life examples and use cases that the audience can relate to. Use data points and reference outside pages correctly to corroborate your story and make the customer’s time worth it. Talk to them, keep the tone of your content light and easy, and encourage them to interact with you through your content. Connect with your audience at every touch point, understand them, take their feedback and let them know you value them. Respond to comments and keep your responses respectful. These days even good stories – videos, blogs, image posts, memes – tend to get trolled by unsavory characters for myriad reasons. Ignore, where you can. Respond where you should.

Storytelling is an art. But it is an art that can be mastered with practice and continuous learning. In a world where the rules change even as you start to understand the game, it is important to communicate correctly and concisely to connect with one’s audience and make a lasting impact.

How have you incorporated storytelling into your content marketing strategies? Do share your thoughts…

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This entry was posted on May 4, 2015 by in Marketing, Point of view and tagged , , , , , .
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