Storytelling in content marketing helps companies to inspire readers with their website content, to captivate them and to bind them to the company. Good storytelling increases the time spent on company websites and reduces the bounce rate.
And the best thing about it: Developing a good story is very easy.
In this post, you will learn what you need to consider when storytelling. From the basics to tips and tricks – from practice for practice – everything is included.
What is storytelling in content marketing?
Stories are one of the most original forms of communication known to man. They are not only used for entertainment, but also to pass on knowledge . In contrast to other forms of representation, they have one major advantage:
Stories link information with the everyday life of the target group (s) . Good storytelling is also entertaining and creates tension. It binds the reader to the text.
If you want to use storytelling in content marketing, you should familiarize yourself with the basic elements of a good story.
In storytelling, the message is what counts
When it comes to storytelling in content marketing, the first step is basically to define an emotional message. Stories are so successful because recipients want to take something away from them .
Write down your message and make it as brief as possible. If you need a subordinate clause and commas to formulate the message, it is probably too long. It is also important to limit yourself to one message per story. Otherwise, you may lose the thread in the conception phase.
After you’ve found your message, it’s time to draft the story.
Central elements in storytelling: the hero and the goal he is pursuing
Most successful stories are based on a simple principle. There is a “hero” who has to achieve a certain goal. In doing so, he encounters resistance that has to be overcome.
If you want to use storytelling in content marketing, you have to define these three elements. So ask yourself:
- Who is the hero
- What is the goal?
- What is the obstacle?
When defining a hero for your target group, you should definitely pay attention to one thing: Make sure that your target group can identify with the hero. This makes it easier for readers to understand the challenge emotionally and build trust. With a well-defined hero, you immediately prove that you understand your target audience.
In fairy tales, the hero is often a prince who wants to marry a princess and in doing so comes into conflict with the father, the wicked mother-in-law or other lousy relatives. But this principle is also often used in the business world – especially in so-called success stories.
Companies describe successfully completed projects in a success story text. For example, IT consultancies often publish pieces of content in the references section of their website, in which they describe the goal of their client and then gradually enumerate all the obstacles they have overcome during the project to achieve the goal.
Typical application scenarios for storytelling in content marketing
In addition to the success stories already mentioned, there are three other areas in which storytelling is often used.
The founding adventure
Virtually everyone knows the story of Steve Jobs. Together with his colleague Ronald Wayne, he founded what is now the technology company Apple. And do you know where? In his garage. The prototype of his first computer was in a wooden case.
As you can see, the story of two entrepreneurs who founded a small company in the 1970s that is one of the largest and most innovative technology groups today is extremely exciting.
Even smaller companies can tell stories of successes and failures and thus cast a spell over their recipients. Such texts are particularly exciting for the “About us” page, which is often one of the most read pages on a website.
The product description
Many item descriptions only consist of a few technical details. This is a shame because product texts in particular offer the unique opportunity to convince website visitors to buy the product or service. Storytelling is also an effective tool for this.
Avoid sober descriptions in your product texts and try to arouse enthusiasm. You can do this, for example, if you write something about the history of the product :
- How did you come across the product?
- Where did you miss it in everyday life?
- Are there any special features that make it unique?
- If so: formulate these particularities in a story.
Can you see it? Storytelling in content marketing can also have a positive effect on supposed “standard texts” – people spend longer time with the product, interacting with all the content that you provide about the product. Intensive user behavior on the website can be measured.
The company history
Writing about your own business is one of the easier things to do. Most important numbers and facts are already available. As with the product description, a good story goes beyond the sheer facts .
So don’t just tell when your company was founded – also why. Let your values and personal visions flow in and focus only on the most important data.
The company’s history differs from the start-up adventure in that products and services play a more important role. Because the focus here is not on founding the company as such – but on the company’s offering, which you associate with visions as part of your company’s history.
Be sure to derive your vision and values from the product. If you are selling medical devices, a good value that may be derived from them is “care”. The value “reliability”, on the other hand, can hardly be derived from a medical product.
Let the type of product underpin your value – that seems more authentic than if you write incoherently that “reliability” is important to you.
The right story for storytelling – both in B2C and B2B content marketing
If you have already wondered how all these rules should be used in storytelling in content marketing, I can reassure you. Because, especially with technical products in the B2B area, it can be difficult to find the right story. It seldom happens that corresponding information texts, which are aimed at a specialist audience, consist of a story.
But storytelling can also be used well in such cases – but on a smaller scale. Not every story has to consist of over a thousand words. Not every website text is based on storytelling. Technically demanding information texts, for example, do not fall into this category. But even here you can illustrate certain statements with little stories. To do this, tell your target group about a “fluctuation from the reality of life”.
For example, I know a company that develops software solutions for industrial maintenance processes. In every customer conversation the owner tells a story:
“When I was working in maintenance myself in my younger years, I climbed into an elevator system to carry out maintenance work. I wrote my name on a board so that nobody would operate the elevator. The person in charge knew that there was a maintenance technician at the Elevator shaft is located and he was not allowed to put the elevator back into operation – actually ! Because unfortunately a cleaning lady came and wiped the board clean, nobody knew that I was in the elevator shaft. And the person responsible could have put the elevator back into operation. Fortunately that didn’t happen. “
Even this little story that I just told you created images in your head. Both the maintenance technician and the person responsible have a stature in your mind – the elevator had a specific design. You have “seen” how the cleaning lady wipes the sign clean with a cloth or sponge 🙂
So you notice that storytelling is a powerful tool in the minds of customers. Use corresponding stories for more technical product descriptions. You can use them to credibly back up your arguments .
Video: How to Use Storytelling in Content Marketing by HubSpot
Create authenticity in storytelling with dialogues
Dialogues are not actually a story – but a stylistic device that experienced authors often use in storytelling. The reason for this lies in the authenticity.
Underpinning a story from everyday life with dialogues feels more real and closer to the recipient. Dialogs ensure that users can better relate to emotions that are linked to a story.
Especially in the B2C sector as a stylistic device is popular. Companies try to arouse more emotions with end users than in the B2B area. However, that does not mean that dialogues cannot be used there as well.
By the way: It is a general fallacy that emotions do not work as a marketing tool in the B2B environment. Since in the end “only people” work in companies who are driven by their emotions, they are never free from these emotions in their professional decisions!
In particular, the first few sentences that users read on a B2B website should not be peppered with technical details. On the contrary: Above all, they should focus on the challenges and needs of the readers. And what better way to empathize with a challenge than with a dialogue that readers may have already engaged in?
Let your creativity run free in storytelling in content marketing! You can be sure of loyal readers.
By the way: small stories through dialogues are particularly popular on social media platforms. They are short , entertain users and often get a lot of attention. Companies often work with short videos.
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Conclusion: storytelling in content marketing
Storytelling makes the content of brand marketing more engaging. Stories bind readers closer to the operator of the website and increase the time they spend on the website. Website operators benefit in the long term from these positive user signals and are rewarded with better search engine rankings. Good stories often achieve a wide reach on social media networks too.
It is important to link the story with a message. Because this is imprinted in the minds of readers and is more likely to lead to the desired action (contact, newsletter subscription, purchase).
Typically, a compelling story consists of a “hero” trying to achieve a goal while overcoming obstacles. For companies, storytelling is particularly useful for product descriptions, company presentations and success stories. There are also other types of text that you can also load with little stories.
With short stories from everyday situations, they loosen up technical texts and convey abstract information as simply as possible. Put yourself in the real world of your target group : This way you can be sure that readers can understand the story emotionally .
Finally, you also have the option of introducing small dialogues into your stories. This makes you appear credible because you show readers your situation directly and do not have to describe it in a lengthy manner.
In conclusion, it can be said that storytelling is anything but a nice gimmick. It contributes to the user-oriented design of your website and makes it more successful in achieving its goals .