Why Good Research Can Help Your Story Stand Out
Content marketing and blogging remains a key element of most digital marketing strategies; for all the occasional tweaks of search engine algorithms by Google and others.
Good content is vital to generate the level of awareness of your firm or client’s firm that will help them grow.
Among the ways you can do this is through good storytelling. This can create an engaging narrative that not just gain the interest of readers, but sustain it so that they will read more content. This is vital if you are to achieve the ‘rule of seven’ that states people need to see a marketing message seven times before they make a buying decision.
Telling a story can come in many forms and offer many benefits:
- It can explain how a company came to be formed and developed into what it is today.
- It can outline a unique selling proposition.
- It can help with selling by giving examples of how you managed to resolve someone’s problem in the past.
How do you know you have a great story to tell?
So far, so good. But you can’t just pluck a story out of thin air and make it into a compelling narrative that will capture somebody’s interest. You need to consider four issues, all of which need good research to ensure your story is effective.
- You need to know what your potential customer is looking for.
- You need to know what sort of stories might resonate with them.
- You need to avoid a story that is dull, ordinary and won’t generate extra interest.
- You need to know if your story, or aspects of your story, match up with what your customer wants.
These are factors we need to consider in turn.
Buyer personas matter
The first thing to consider is the buyer persona of your customer base. Several factors will make up your target market:
- Demographics such as age, sex, income, and marital status,
- Their values and culture,
- Situations: What are their problems or needs that you might be able to meet?
These kinds of elements apply to any buyer persona. But it is particularly important when devising your buyer persona that you understand clearly what kind of stories are going to appeal most strongly to them.
Align your story with what interests people
In some cases, the basis of the story might be quite evident; for instance, if you are selling environmentally-friendly products, the story will need to have a clear green element. This is an area where authenticity matters; consumers are very quick to be suspicious of ‘greenwashing’, where companies pay lip service to such issues without genuinely making a difference. What you need is a cause you genuinely believe in.
That is where a compelling story can be very powerful. For example, if the founder discusses how they had an epiphany moment when confronted with a negative environmental situation and made a personal commitment to doing things differently.
Furthermore, the story can have extra instalments through the involvement of the firm with green causes, such as backing charities or installing renewable energy facilities at its premises. All this can be particularly useful when updating the story on social media.
What is notable with some products is that elements that often resonate with consumers, such as price, are less important than the values they represent. This is particularly true for anything that comes under the umbrella of ‘ethical’.
Avoid dull stories
A key factor to remember is that your story should not simply be informative or detailed. It must also capture the imagination and get your reader thinking.
It can be very easy to neglect this. So often a firm can become so wrapped up in its perceived self-importance that it imagines everything it does is intensely interesting. In reality, it may be anything but.
For a story to be genuinely interesting, it either needs to be an epic tale with universal appeal – and real life does not generate those every day – or at least to be of specific interest to your target market.
The crucial factor to remember is that anyone visiting your page will need to have their attention captured swiftly, or they will click away and look at something else.
A good way of researching whether your story really is as compelling, interesting and inspirational as you think it is would be to give a copy to a friend outside your firm first. This will ensure you get an honest and neutral assessment.
At the same time, it is important the story is written by someone with the style and skills to make it sound as compelling as possible – so outsourcing this blog could prove an extremely worthwhile step.
Focus on problem-solving
To make a story really compelling, the narrative can focus on the benefits you have brought to someone in the past. This kind of storytelling has a very simple formula:
- You have a central character, the hero of the story.
- The hero wants to achieve something.
- However, there is a problem stopping them from doing this.
- Other attempted solutions fail to resolve the problem.
- Then they try what you offer, which is significantly different.
- Your solution produces the desired result where others have failed.
This kind of narrative can be extremely effective when it is aimed specifically at a target market of people who have a similar problem, need or desire.
This is the kind of story you should end up with after carrying out a good research on how to do it and who to target it at.
Add in a video
Finally, take advantage of one well-researched fact: embedding video in content is usually a good idea: there is plenty of data to show readers are more likely to stay on the page when there is a video on it.
This can complement your written story by providing a brief summary of it, or by providing a visual addition that adds value to the story.