While browsing through your social feed, have you ever felt a strong urge to stop and notice a particular piece of content? As you go through it, You realise getting pulled into an awesome world of information that you never knew existed! Next thing you know – you are a regular visitor to that blog/site and subsequently, you become a raving fan. A fan who can’t stop talking about this amazing blog that really connected with you and you want others to have the same experience.
Let’s rewind back to the moment when you were checking your social feed – What attracted you in the first place? Was it the image? The colours or the tagline? Did you feel rewarded or found value or better yet, resonated with the core idea? The real question is - What made you convert from a one-time visitor into a follower?
To understand this user behaviour and architect him/her through their journey over multiple platforms and help them reach a destination where they get real value and can connect and engage with the brand is “True Content Marketing”...
Humans are social animals, but they are also story animals. A good story not only connects but is absorbed by the audience and stays with them.
People connect more with stories
People consume content using their heads, but they connect with it using their hearts. The gateway to true content consumption that finally leads to engagement is only and only ‘Good Storytelling’.
Stories are a natural form of communication and they go back as long as humans have walked the planet. Cavemen used to tell stories either orally or through sign languages and even rock drawings. While the greeks were poets, in Asia, ‘shadow play’ was used the preferred medium. Then somewhere down came the printing press and it dominated the masses as “The Medium” to story-tell.
We all grew up listening to bedtime stories. If you are like me, then you might have binged on cartoons and comics as a child, movies, tv series, tv ads as a teen; and are right now consuming stories through documentaries, emails, blogs, vlogs, tech reviews, online ads, videos on Facebook, snaps, insta-stories and more as we go further. But for all of us, the starting point was bedtime stories. The keyword here is “STORIES”.
The platforms and distribution channels have changed but the rules of Good Storytelling have not. It’s always been this way – right from the oral traditions to written content to blogs and persists even though the latest form of Micro-content (Instagram Stories).
Stories are Universal - Everyone loves a good story
Imagine a client presentation, where you start going through the technicalities of your work through a number of slides using industry jargons and stats. The cold facts have been shared, but you don’t feel the connection with the audience that you had anticipated. Worst is they didn’t feel connected to You - the presenter. Wonder what went wrong?
Complex concepts can be simplified by narrating in a story format. This really enables us to slice through differences like age, religion, community, gender and rally the audience around the core message.
I love the way how Maya Angelou says “At the end of the day, people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
Storytelling is a great way to humanise your brand and make it more approachable. Remember. everyone loves a good story!
Story is all about answering the 'why ' for your audience
The questions that any brand/business needs to answer for their audience on a day-to-day basis can be really tall.
Some of the obvious suspects being -
- What (are the products?)
- Where (can I buy these?)
- When (do I place the order?) and
- How (do I get the best price?)
These are fairly basic and can be answered easily.
However, it is the “Why?” - that’s the real game changer. Why is not based on a specific measure - it is grounded deep in emotion. Stories become the ideal device to connect with the audience and establish emotional connect. Nike does this beautifully in this particular ad by using the underdog Archetype to inspire the audience to “Find your Greatness”.
Stories can help you make sense and put things in context
Stories are devices to engage, inform and entertain the audience but the true value of storytelling is the sharing of an idea and providing the necessary background, thereby establishing a connection with the audience.
The content consumption habits of the audience have changed drastically over the past few years. Today, we have become a complete on-demand culture that proudly tweets about binge-watching an entire series over the weekend. We are a part of the culture where “Netflix and Chill” is not just a caption, but a reality.
We don’t just need to grab attention but really need to maintain that attention over a period of time and the onus for that is solely on any Digital Marketer or Content Creator out there. Stories provide the ideal framework for this. They help you in setting the foundation for the audience and provide relevant context, based on where they are on their journey.
Stories get more Word of Mouth as compared to dry statistics
Any Marketer worth his weight in salt would tell you that Word of Mouth Marketing is pure gold. Brand advocacy or loyalty of this level presumes that the brand is doing great work by anyone on the receiving side.
By making themselves accessible on social platforms today, Brands have opened up huge opportunities in involving users in their stories and also the reverse where the users start sharing their stories with the brands. Authentic original Stories around customers let brands engage with them in conversations that are more relevant in their friend circles and thus generate Word of Mouth for the digital age aka., User Generated Content.
Stories help you grab eyeballs
Numerous platforms mean numerous opportunities to stand out. But this also means there are others vying for audience attention in the same space as you. The best way to break through all the noise and get your word out is Pure Storytelling.
If you can generate riveting and engaging stories that really moves the audience, makes them feel strongly about something and thus inspire action - you can surely get there.
Good Stories can survive the test of time
In 2016, The Jungle Book (feature film) was released by Walt Disney Pictures - it went on to become a massive hit worldwide. It was based on an Animated Musical by the same name produced by Walt Disney Animation in 1967. The original source for the same is “The Jungle Book” (1894) - a collection of stories by the English author, Rudyard Kipling.
(trivia - a lesser known live-action feature film - The Jungle Book was released by Walt Disney around 1994)
Stories are a shared cultural experience that we all as a human race is experiencing and over time, it’s become the most integral part of our lives. We learn, live, breathe, consume and communicate in the form of stories. The best of these not only survive the test of time but evolve and upgrade - much akin to “The Jungle Book”.
The diverse landscape of social media platforms has resulted in a variety of content types like ads, snaps, tweets, vlogs, memes and more. Across all these varied forms of content - What one requires is a genuine way to connect with their audience.
This requires revisiting the most basic forms of connection with the user - “The Art of Storytelling”.