Have you ever heard of someone actively seeking out an ad on the Internet? Probably not.
But did you know that AirBnB has a magazine? Or that MailChimp has a podcast around pivotal moments in a person’s career? Or that Creative Mornings has a newsletter that shares inspiring links for creatives?
Increasingly, businesses are becoming publishers of their own stories — and of other stories that connect with their target audience.
It speaks to a larger trend: Traditional publishers are no longer the gatekeepers between the public and a business. And now, consumers expect that they can engage with a brand on social media. This has necessitated that all businesses be storytellers and we’re seeing the effects:
Marketers spent a reported 56% more on content creation over the last year, making it the top growing area for content marketing.
Quoting their chief financial correspondent, the article went on to say: “(it’s) Much better to create something that people do want to read directly, and give them that.
“You know how every company is a technology company? Well maybe on some level every company is a media company, too. There’s no point felling trees in forests if nobody hears them.”
That last point is key — a content strategy outlines what story you’ll tell but how it will reach and engage your target audience. Just blogging isn’t enough — you have to think about the whole customer journey.
That means if your strategic goal is to up your blog game this year, you can’t just get an intern to create some posts about the cool stuff you’re doing and hope that works. You can’t pick clip art memes or try to hashtag every #NationalWhateverDay.
With more than a decade of experience in content production and more than 8 years in social and digital strategy for content, Minerva Media Co. can help you create a sustainable plan for content that performs.
If you’re like me, your passion didn’t come from pursuing a degree in business. It started with a passion for something else — design, a cause, a craft.
That’s why I’m often in the library, poring through the business book section. It’s where I found my latest inspiring read, “Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets.”
In a chapter on strategy, it discusses the importance of having a story. It’s important for businesses pursuing investors and businesses hoping to connect with customers.
The authors, Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead and Kevin Maney nail it here:
“Stories alter perspectives and exert influence. … Raw information reaches us on an intellectual level, but stories reach into our hearts and our pants.”
The research supports it:
The book cites two studies. One is a Stanford study, “Narrative Stories as Mediators for Serial Learning” showed a link between stories and memory.
A more recent study by a Claremont Graduate University found a connection between strong storytelling and an increase in oxytocin.
“Oxytocin is an empathy chemical, and it motivates cooperation and understanding–quite important when trying to convince someone to, as Apple used to say, think different,” the book says.
So what does that mean for your business?
Content strategy should be a central part of your marketing and advertising efforts. You can hope that your work speaks for itself, but there’s an economy to making your passion sustainable.
And content strategy is another opportunity to authentically talk about why you do what you do, build empathy and loyalty with existing and potential customers.
How to start with content marketing strategy?
Here are a few easy prompts to start thinking about your story:
Is there a project that you can show the behind-the-scenes process on? What might make it more human? A note from the project lead, artist or director?
What was the genesis of your business or organization? Is there a retelling of that story that expresses vulnerability and authenticity? What emotion does it express? Is there something that you can tie in that’s an action point to leverage that emotion?
Was there a time you learned something or felt connection to the community you’re trying to serve? What happened? Write out what that story might look like, with words and visuals.
Without a distribution strategy, your content will live on its own little lonely island.
Think through these questions on what’s right for you: How will you get it in front of your ideal audience? Think about platform-specific storytelling, not “pushing” out the same version connecting Instagram and Facebook. How can you be consistent?
This is just the beginning of a content strategy that leverages storytelling for connection with the people you hope to reach.
Looking for more? Sign up for the Minerva Media Co. newsletter or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help on creating your own modern storytelling strategies.