A common misconception in content marketing has to do with the idea of storytelling.
“Story” is a concept that has been part of societies for thousands of years. It probably trades on the idea that stories are generally more memorable than didactic instruction, so ancient oral cultures had an easy time passing down traditions through this medium.
However, we should not confuse the use of Story in marketing with storytelling. The former builds upon the latter, but they are not the same thing.
“Story” in Marketing
All customers are on a journey.
Your job as a marketer is to invite prospects into a story by opening a story loop, and offering to be their guide.
For the most part, all stories follow this path: “A CHARACTER who wants something encounters a PROBLEM before they can get it. At the peak of their despair, a GUIDE steps into their lives, gives them a PLAN, and CALLS THEM TO ACTION. That action helps them avoid FAILURE and ends in a SUCCESS.” (Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand, p. 20)
Though our heroes will have to navigate the occasional plot twist, this framework is a universal enough starting point for any business.
No matter where they land in our sales funnel, they have landed inside of the story, and it is our job to make it obvious where they fit.
This is where content marketing comes in.
Since content marketing never ends, our prospects (heroes) can always find their place. The key is this: They are the hero, and they must be made to feel confident that you can guide them into the success they are seeking.
Why Story Works
Generally speaking, Story works so well because of how deeply it is ingrained into our psychology. I believe God created us this way. In fact, I believe we are living inside of a story (see here).
So it’s not surprising to me that we are looking to find our place inside of one.
Further, as I’ve already mentioned, business is very much a journey, and stories are usually told about those on some kind of journey—whether spiritual, marital, relational, entrepreneurial, etc.
It’s easy to connect with people through this medium because it is our shared human experience.
Finally, nothing invites curiosity like a good story. Have you ever been sucked in by the first 5-10 minutes of a movie or TV show? (In my opinion, almost nothing does this better than Fox’s current hit, 9-1-1.)
This is not accidental.
The job of those first few minutes is to open a “story loop”—to make you so interested that you just have to keep watching. This is precisely how to use Story in our content marketing. Our goal is to draw people in immediately and to open a story loop in hopes that they will follow through with us to their successful ending.
We’ve helped numerous businesses and non-profit organizations enhance their effectiveness and grow their business through a StoryBrand branding session.
We’ll walk you through the process of creating your “BrandScript,” and help you invite your prospects into their own story.
To your success!