Why Storytelling Is Your Best Content Marketing Strategy
One of the best books I’ve read is ‘How to stop worrying and start living” by Dale Carnegie.
I first read it when I was back in College, wondering what direction to take with my life.
I was torn between multiple options and therefore quite anxious about which direction to take in life.
It therefore came as a relief when I saw the book in the University library. I borrowed it for two weeks. I opened the first page and found myself reading it non-stop for three hours.
Mr Carnegie weaved so many real life scenarios in the book that I found myself exclaiming, “That’s me!” as I flipped through the pages.
I found myself reliving moments of random individuals as they fought their way through debt, depression, fear, anxiety and personal loss to finally overcome their challenges.
At every stop, I found myself imagining what it was like for these people as they struggled with the same emotions I was now facing.
Fear, confusion, bewilderment, and fire in my spirit.
At times I would put the book down, glance into space, drift deep into my imagination, pick up the book and continue reading.
I connected with their pain and their search for life’s meaning.
The best part of it was seeing Dale describe his own experience, how he was fired from his job as a salesman, out of work, out of money, living in a cold, unheated YMCA apartment crawling with bugs and cockroaches and wondering how to make his next dollar.
Here Was A Master Storyteller In His Element
Dale Carnegie had this enthralling writing style that kept you reading from first line to last.
How did he do it?
By incorporating real life examples of people he met who accentuated the point he was expressing.
Through various life examples — searching for a job, understanding your true purpose, how to conquer fear and depression, he borrowed a leaf from people who had overcome those same obstacles.
Their examples were weaved into the story line to accentuate and establish a series of points.
In no time, you were hooked for hours.
You Are A Storyteller
Another masterful author wrote a book that has literally transformed my life from the day I laid my hands on the book.
The book is a collection of examples of people who struggled with ordinary life problems and eventually found God as a result of giving God praise through their circumstances.
These are ordinary people who went through painful situations from abortion to rape, job loss, health disorders, that cause most of us to blame God rather than praise Him.
To have a fellow tell you to praise God for these circumstances instead of blaming him or asking him to take it all way is quite the twist in the tale.
All these ordinary blokes from all walks of life encountered Merlin Carothers at some point and after hearing their problems would suggest a unusual, albeit ridiculous way to face their problem.
Their incredulity at his softly spoken suggestion emphasized the notion of attempting such suggestions.
But they would eventually say, “I have nothing to lose..” and go about attempting Carother’s suggestion.
The very thing they were afraid to try turned out to be the answer to their problem.
The whole book is actually a long series of case studies, if I am call it that, to problems we face — from disaster, divorce, sickness, foreclosure to unemployment, fear, breakup, debt and more.
As you can probably tell, I read the book from cover to cover. All 96 pages.
And then I picked it up again, and reread it again. And I continued dong so year after year. Every time, it seemed fresh, relevant and new.
And no, there’s nothing wrong with my memory. The book was just that good.
All Masterful Storytellers Have A Masterful Touch
All masterful storytelling have this magical touch. I’m sure you know someone who has read John Grisham’s books twice.
It’s down to the author’s special skill.
By incorporating examples, significant characters, and personal experience, they turn their narrative from a boring, bland script into a free-flowing, energetic script.
It forms for true connection. Because at the end of the day, we all want to connect with what we are reading.
Top storytellers from Tyler Perry, Shonda Rhymes, John Grisham to CS Lewis all have his smart intuitive manner of knowing what to do to capture your attention, making you ‘live’ every word on every page
In my childhood, this is the glue that kept me transfixed to the writings of Anthony Buckeridge, James Herriott, Enid Blyton and Erle Stanley Gardner. (He’s the brains behind Perry Mason…) Boy! That man could write!
In the case of all these masterful authors I’ve described above, one thing that is similar in their writing is their use of emotion, context and real life examples.
Breaking the thought pattern to introduce a character, or an example to illustrate your conviction keeps you racing to the next thought on the paper.
Before you know, you find yourself agreeing with the author.
Where am I going on with all this?
For the most part, bloggers have lost that magical touch that we need to keep people transfixed on our writing.
However, if you think about it, there is no difference between an author and you.
You are a storyteller.
The Blog List post has been so overused that now we need something else to keep and grow our audiences.
That magic trick is the art of storytelling.
Storytelling is magic!
It’s powerful, enthralling, captivating and with enough hooks, spins and twists to keep people enthralled until the end.
According to statistics, content creators struggle creating content.
Up to 64% of B2B see content creation as their most important need and one they are unable to adequately perform.
I think there is a reason to this.
You can only create so many list posts.
You can only create so many ‘How-To’ articles about your product or service or industry.
The solution to creating a seemingly unending list of top quality content is storytelling.
I mean, you are all fascinated by the stories of top entrepreneurs who started their business with less than $150 and turned it into the market leader.
Most business owners have a tale like this. Maybe not with 150, but their equally fascinating account of winning a funding first round of 33 million still makes for great reading.
On the other side of the scale, any client you have makes for a great story.
For most of us, it’s easy to get started on this level because you already have customers and people who engage with your product.
Turning their experience into a blog post ensures that you already get the attention of anyone else who’s considering becoming your client.
We want to know who they are, where they come from, what need they have for your product and how you won their heart.
This is the part where you ask yourself, “But I don’t have that many customers who want to talk about that..”
You don’t need that many.
Brian Dean occasionally remarks that he has published just 53 posts over the last five years, less than one a month.
After more than six years of fulltime blogging…
And when he does sit down to write again, he simply updates or refreshes an existing piece of content.
In other words, you don’t need to force yourself to write a new piece of content every week unless you can and unless it’s top quality.
Remember how I said I found myself f returning to the same book I read last year?
You just need top quality content that draws people back again and again.
That’s because there are so many gems of insight and wisdom in that piece that it doesn’t matter how many times you read it, you still find something fresh.
You could try this if you’re wondering how to create content.
You can repurpose that content into infographics, videos and facebook posts.
Maybe you can write a new piece of content every week. Great!
Maybe this storytelling technique will push you out of the rut you’ve been experiencing and get you back on the road again.
Practicing What I Preach
I struggled with the same problem of content creation, until I browsed through some of my earlier material and asked myself why I wasn’t doing what I preach?
A couple of days later, I came across the fascinating story of one of the most secluded people in the world, a tribe that will not hesitate to kill visitors. They are considered so dangerous that India has banned anyone from visiting them. Fishing along the shores of islands is illegal.
After all, chances are very high you will be killed. Now that’s fascinating!
Despite its unique and disruptive content nature, such pieces of content are rare and far between. It’s captivating!
What’s more captivating are stories of ordinary folk who developed a major market disruptor from a simple idea, like Elon Musk.
The information is new, well researched and gives a personal view into the business and the founder.
I’m sure one of your clients has such a story. The best thing about it is it’s the simple old triggers of emotion, new insight and identification that make for great storytelling.
I’m sure you know one person like that in your circles who’s either a family member, business colleague or a client.
What’s My Point?
Point is in these cases I mentioned above, I was gripped by the story from start to finish.
I thought to myself, “Wait a minute! Why on earth do these stories hold my attention?’
Well, because it is new, out of the ordinary, or offers a point of relevancy that draws me in.
I picked up my pen again and began writing, using these insights to see if there would now be a difference in my writing.
For the most part, words began flowing out of me like a river, where else before I would struggle to get to 400 words.
Now, I find myself writing two thousand word blog posts faster and easier.
Kinda reminds of me of Neil Patel, another master of storytelling in content marketing. Glancing at his blog posts, they easily reach three thousand-plus words.
But they are chocker-full of examples, relevant insights and images that make it a breeze.
Every once in awhile he throws in a case study or example to emphasize the point he’s explaining and that angle make a fifteen minute read seem like three minutes.
To churn out that much content every three days means he’s mastered the art of storytelling.
It’s the same with your blog posts.
Master the art of storytelling.
Tell us more about yourself. Your background, your business insight. Tell us about your favorite client, you worst client, your most recent ‘Eureka’ moment, the worst business experience you had.
I know many of us will be able to relate with that.
Tell us about that day, yeah that awful day, when Murphy’s Law came to get you.
For me, that was three weeks ago!
Weave in emotion, color, emotion, a spark of relevance or raw human vulnerability into your narrative and shape a well told story and you will have your audiences coming back without fail.