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Marketeer? Hire a storyteller!

Photo by Nik MacMillan

I am astoryteller and writer. And I am part of a marketing team.

I fully believe that marketeers are too heavily dictated by sales and can therefor never be good storytellers, as they always have something they want to push. However, storytellers make great content marketeers. What you’ll end up with is honest and well-researched content full of integrity. And your customers will feel the difference.

Recently someone told me: “I used to work in a call-centre and I never stuck to the script. My manager used to hate it when I did that. But if I did stick to the script, it just sounded fake and people would hang up immediately.” It’s true, as soon as (potential) customers sense a script, they’re out.

So marketing had to evolve, grow smarter, and become more human. And while marketing has changed a lot for the better over the years, it seems it’s still too focused on selling. Especially corporate marketing. No surprise when you take a closer look and see that marketing is dictated by sales. Their goals are to sell products through marketing. It’s a belief that is especially strong there. And though I can see where it’s coming from, what worked in the past is not going to work going forward.

In the corporate world every one is focused on numbers. If we do x what will our results be? How can we measure our efforts? Don’t get me wrong, I love a data-driven approach. And in some lines of business, this really does come from a data-driven approach. However, in others it’s a means to justify paying a content writer’s monthly paycheck.

The sad truth is that marketing efforts rarely have a clear measurable outcome when it comes to making a sale. It’s part of the whole sales funnel for sure. Actually, it’s an essential part of the sales funnel. But it’s not the piece that will make the actual sale. So why do certain marketeers keep trying to force pieces of content down our throats that insist you have to buy right now? Simple: that’s how it was done for years and years.

So what can you do to change this in your own content?

1. Be helpful

Try to be helpful in your content. Focus on the reader and on their problem and issue. Help them solve their problem. Show them you have the experience to help them solve issues within your field of expertise. And that you put them front and centre.

Do not tell them your product solves their issue. In fact, don’t mention your product at all. I’m serious. Just don’t. Focus on them and don’t talk about yourself at all.

2. Show not tell

Content marketing is all about raising awareness. You show people the knowledge you have and that you are willing to share. It gives them the confidence that you can actually help.

Not just that, it also creates great content. You show your skills and expertise in a problem solving kinda way. That way you make it customer focused and not about sharing your services. It’s a bit like the old writing saying: ‘Show, not tell’.

3. Hire a storyteller or a journalist

I’m only half kidding here. Storytellers and journalists tell it how it is. They live for truth and facts. They would like nothing more than to share this with the world. Make a difference, help people and provide information. Some people find journalists annoying, and though that may be true, there is no denying the power in this for your (future) customers.

The truth, facts and well-researched content are a powerful force that the corporate marketing world can use more of. So hire yourself a storyteller and let them tell it like it is, facts and all.

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