The Seven Components for Designing Stories for Content Marketing

B2B stories are designed using your positioning and a collection of related story components.

Story components have a similar purpose to a content brief but add the benefit of designing the story flow and relationships in the story.

Each component provides a standard way for marketing teams to develop story narrative, media, and publishing flow based on an idea and scenario. Think about it, every blog, webinar, e-book, press release, and customer experience has many possible stories that can be shared on social networks to increase awareness and positioning.

Using Story Components provides the marketing team a simple approach to divide up stories into related building blocks and make it easier to develop ideas and content. Components make it easy to collaborate during story development rather than getting bogged down with the question “How do we work together on creating this story?”

Story components can help the B2B marketing team think through key design questions such as:

  • Who and What are the targets for the story?
  • What narrative and messages are most helpful and relevant to our business communities?
  • Where can additional context be added to increase understanding and positioning?
  • How can the story logic and timing be organized into beginning, middle, and ending scenes to support the journey of our target buyer journey and business lifecycle?

The Seven Story Components are:

  1. The FOR WHO
     Describe the profile of the people or community that will relate and/or be the main character(s) in the story
  2. The NEED
     Describe the most negative, real world problem/pain/conflict for the main people in the story.
     Identify the most positive, real world desired emotion/perception/outcome for the people in the story.
     Describe a distinctive, meaningful, real-world business value that will be communicated in this story related to your positioning.
     Describe the competing real world images/emotions/values that influence the people in the story.
  6. The WHEN
     Provide the time period for when the story is most relevant to the people and situation in the story.
  7. The MESSAGE
     Provide the external business phrases/words that resonate with your target person and the situation in the story.

A key element of story design is the ability to relate and organize the narrative, digital media, and your target positioning. It is simply easier for the marketing team to align creative thinking and content production.

When story components are combined, a logical structure is created and it becomes much easier to understand your content, how and when to publish the story, and the best way to measure the story.

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