7 Ways Content Can Transform Your Brand Storytelling
Studies show that emotions impact almost every decision people make. Sorry, Mr. Spock… We’re an emotional lot. And that essential human characteristic shows no sign of changing. Given that fact, brand storytelling – and content that evokes emotion from its audience – is a must for companies that want to make a major dent in consumers’ buying decisions.
But it’s not only consumers who let their emotions guide their purchases. B2B buyers, too, are 71% more likely to purchase a product when they see a personal value in it. And, 68% of them will even pay a higher price for it.
Image Source: Inc.
Storytelling reaches the heartstrings like no other medium. That’s not only anecdotal evidence. Studies show that “character-driven stories” cause the human brain to synthesize oxytocin, a compound that enhances empathy and, consequently, builds trust.
The more trust prospects place in your brand, the more likely they will give you their business. That goes for business leaders as well as consumers.
So, let’s learn how to transform your brand storytelling with content that evokes your audience’s emotions.
Include the Essential Elements of Storytelling
As The Drum’s Jenni Baker points out, four essential elements appear in every story that resonates with its audience:
- Appeal to universal emotions and concerns: Everyone wants to protect their children, make more money, or save their corner of the universe. Bring these concerns into the picture, and your audience will identify with your main character.
- Reveal a problem (one related to those universal concerns) that brings on the stress: In the case of parents wanting to protect their children, for instance, you could pose the problem of “My kid has a fever – and it’s the weekend. What do I do?”
- Create a resolution to the source of the tension: Let’s continue with our fever example. In your blog post or video content, you could share several tips for reducing fever at home, such as cold compresses, keeping your child hydrated, and, of course, using your flagship product – a fever-reducing OTC medication every 4-6 hours.
- Share the lesson the characters learned: In this case, the lesson would be, “If you have children, keep fever remedies at the ready to prepare for whatever “bug” comes down the pike.”
This formula contains the whole hero’s journey storyline in a nutshell. It forms the basis of all those movies you find yourself watching again and again. When you use this formula in your brand storytelling, you’ll be likely to connect with your audience on a deeper emotional level.
Satisfy the Skeptics in Your Audience
While it’s essential to reach your audience’s hearts, you also need to bring the receipts. Today’s audiences, with their 24/7 access to the information highway, won’t buy what you’re selling without the data to back it up.
Of course, you don’t need to detract from your storyline with footnoted references as you might in an academic paper. Just use anchor text to link to the proof of your claims so your audience can look up the information for themselves.
Or, use an eye-catching visual representation of your data, such as an infographic, to demonstrate your point.
Make Your Characters Relatable
Since you want to convince your audience to do business with you, you need to put them at the center of the action as the main character in the story. Resist the temptation to make your corporation or your product the hero. Unless your prospects can see themselves as the hero, you’ll have an uphill battle engaging them in your brand stories.
Now, you need a villain. Whether it comes in human form, such as your prospect’s top competitor, or simply a tough challenge they face in life or business, you need to emphasize the stress this “villain” brings to the story. Again, the villain needs to be so relatable that it almost makes your audience shiver.
The best way to dig down to your audience’s pain points – the villain – is to research your audience analytics. Generally, the data will reveal not only their demographics, likes, and interests but also some of the most troubling problems they face.
Use those pain points and the other data to construct a buyer persona. Putting a human face on your target audience can help your creative teams come up with content that addresses your prospects’ needs.
Use Emotional Language to Hook Your Audience
A friend of mine once had a client who insisted that she never use the words “you” and “yours” in the blog posts she created for him. Poor advice from his amateur SEO “advisor,” combined with a desire to sound “objective,” made for a yawnfest – and his content analytics showed it. How-to and problem-solving posts don’t exactly lend themselves to a detached third-person point of view.
Finally, my friend had enough. She quit, only to have him return after a few months of even poorer content performance, begging her to start working for him again. She agreed, but only if he ditched the poor advice and let her hook readers in with emotional language that they could relate to. Needless to say, his audience engagement numbers soared.
Ditch the Detachment
Even in more formal content where you need to use a third-person point of view, such as white papers and press releases, you can add an emotional tone with clever use of vivid, active voice verbs.
For example, break the habit of using the tired old “The public is invited to attend” in your press release promoting the grand opening for your latest acquisition, an automotive dealership. Instead, create a warmer tone by saying, “Atlas Automotive welcomes local residents to discover all the benefits they bring to the community.”
In less-formal content, empathy is a must. Using language that shows that you understand their needs and intend to help them overcome their challenges builds bonds between you and your prospects.
Even better, demonstrating empathy has a bonus benefit. Since nailing your audience’s search intent is on Google’s radar, creating content that shows empathy also helps you rank higher in searches.
Finally, Keep It Simple
As Baker’s Drum piece wisely advises, “keep it simple.” Remember that your audience is busy – especially if you’re marketing to a B2B audience.
Give your brand stories a single message. With incoming distractions pulling your audience’s attention away from your content, sticking to a simple story that captivates your audience from beginning to end makes it less likely that they’ll navigate away from your content to tackle another task.
Speaking of keeping it simple, having a central hub where you can plan, collaborate on, create, and publish your content allows you and your teams to concentrate on great storytelling instead of repetitive tasks. DivvyHQ’s content marketing platform gives you that freedom. Try it free for 14 days today!