Drafting content for your marketing materials isn’t always simple. Between your website, blog, social media platforms, e-mails / newsletters, press releases, sales collateral, direct-mailers, etc., it seems that you need content for everything! And truth be told, you really do….
Along with the high volume of content required in today’s multi-marketing-channeled- world, there are two key challenges many businesses face when it comes to content marketing:
Challenge #1: Writing Unique and Engaging Content
With limited time and resources available, content creation can be daunting. You can be efficient with your time and reuse content across numerous channels. In fact, this can help amplify your message and strengthen your brand. Software allows you to streamline your content to different platforms.
However, copying and pasting your content across all channels isn’t always effective. The audience reading your company’s blog may be different than your Twitter followers. Different online and offline marketing platforms and pieces are used to accomplish different objectives. Consequently, your content has to be tweaked and/or rewritten for different channels, even when conveying a centralized theme.
To complicate the matter, we don’t all work for “glamour industries.” We have to find ways to give even the most unexciting industries a little bit of flare.
Challenge 2: Keeping it Simple
My favorite acronym for content creation is KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid! Did you ever read a website or blog entry where it seems like that author took out a Thesaurus and used every big word he/she could find? How obnoxious. Stop talking down to me!
Or, have you ever been handed a sales piece only to find that the document is like 5,000 pages long filled with an insane amount of information? Throwing that in the garbage… I don’t have the time, I’m on the go!
Every industry is different….but for the average business, your target audience member doesn’t have the time or patience. We need to find a way to more simply explain our products and services through content marketing.
Storytelling for Businesses
Storytelling is an excellent way to help businesses overcome both of these challenges. By conveying relatable stories to your target audience, you’re able to humanize your offerings and build a relationship.
Storytelling demonstrates how you’ve helped a customer but extends beyond a testimonial. I mean, testimonials are very powerful. A third-party endorsement is stronger than your own claims. However, story telling builds upon the common testimonial. Instead of just using a quote from a happy client, give someone a more complete picture. Here’s a template for business story telling:
- Introduction to the Client – This section should discuss the client – NOT you. Your readers should be able to relate to the client by the end of this portion.
- Problem – What’s the situation? What did the client need? This will help the reader connect with the common “point of pain” in your field.
- Solution – Here’s where you come in. How did you help the client overcome the problem?
- Impact – Don’t just say you solved the problem – show it. What were the measurable results of your assistance?
The president of my company sent me an e-mail this morning relaying Vonnegut’s Rules for the Short Story. I thought it was pretty relevant to this:
- Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
- Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
- Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
- Every sentence must do one of two things–reveal character or advance the action.
- Start as close to the end as possible.
- Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them–in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
- Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
Storytelling is an effective way to overcome the common challenges of content creation. Stories are unique and connect with the audience while staying simple. Happy writing everyone!
Content Marketing: The Power of Storytelling