When was the last time you really enjoyed a blog? More importantly, when was the last time you enjoyed one of your own company’s blogs?
If you can’t think of the last time, the odds are pretty good that you’re publishing for the sake of publishing. You’re writing blogs, but you’re not telling any stories.
The focus has been on writing for search engines for so long that most of us have forgotten how to write for human beings or actual readers.
Most blogsare written to rank with Google, or they’re written to convert leads. It can be very difficult to do both. However, leading companies like 360 Leads are firm believersin the notion that you can actually do both by focusing on storytelling.
Here is how to do it.
Find Your Business’ Story
Nearly every business has a compelling story. Something compelled the founder(s) to start it. Something inspired them to leave their job or take on personal debt to chase this dream
Maybe the founder started the company from their garage, using an old door as a desk (Amazon). Or, maybe they were frustrated by their own sweaty clothing and created something better (Under Armor). Or maybe they sold politics-themed cereal to raise funds for their company (Airbnb).
These are all stories that resonate with buyers, which is why they build better brands. They put a human face on the company and make an emotional connection.They also make for more interesting reading than, “We were founded in 2001 and went public in 2007 to meet the needs of an ever-changing marketplace.”
Too many companies ignore their roots and their origins, resulting in manufactured brands that don’t connect.
Find Your Customers’ Stories
There is a reason that case studies are one of the most desired and effective assets that a sales team can use to nurture leads. Case studies are, at their core, simply stories. The human brain responds differently to information presented in a story format.
You may assume that your number-driven decision-makers are only skimming your case studies for the numbers. You theorize that they’re looking for call-out stats like, “70% increase in efficiency” or “60-day time-to-value.” And you’re right. But you also need to know that these numbers are a part of the story.
- The Hero/Protagonist: Your client…
- The Problem: Was struggling with ____, which was causing ____
- The Quest: They hired your company to ______
- The Happy Ending: Your company was able to ___ and your client increased/decreased ____ by XX%.
Your leads will have a similar problem and need finite proof that your company can resolve their pain points. The story proves it and creates urgency for them to resolve their issue ASAP.
Storytelling in Your Blogs
This is the most obvious opportunity to leverage storytelling. It’s also where you can earn both leads and SEO clout.
First of all, you can turn the case studies we mentioned above into great blogs. However, don’t just copy and paste them into WordPress. Google will flag it as duplicate content, if that case study already exists somewhere else online.
Take the case study and repurpose the story, the key points and the statistics into a blog format. In most cases, the blog should be more text-heavy. It also needs to be optimized with keywords for SEO.
You can also combine your storytelling with your long-tail keyword research to create better blogs. Take your long-tail question (i.e. How do I file for divorce) and answer it using a story whenever possible. Don’t tell a story, and then finally answer the actual question at the bottom of the blog. That’s called “burying the lede” and readers absolutely hate it. Answer the question early on and weave real-life experiences (from you or your customers) into the text. This helps establish you as a reliable source, while making for a more interesting read.
Storytelling in Your Web Copy
In recent years, Google has told marketers to stop writing for search-bots and start writing for human users.
Don’t simply fill your product/ service pages with keywords and filler-copy. Make sure your brand’s story is presentin your web copy. Yes, the detailed product/service information and specs need to be there. However, when you list the feature and the benefit, you’re starting to build the story.
Client testimonials are a great way to quickly convey a client’s real-life story in a few quick words, which is why users respond to them. When asking for testimonials, focus on asking the customer what their lives were like before and after your offering.
These stories don’t need to be limited to text. Video testimonials have been proven to be the most effective type of video content.
Storytelling in Your Pitch Decks and Presentations
Storytelling can be a powerful tool when used in your pitch deck or presentation. It does more than hold your audience’s attention. It can create an emotional connection with your would-be buyers or would-be investors.
Use storytelling to bookend your presentation. Tell them how you got here today in the early stages of your presentation. Then close things by telling another story and painting a clear picture of what their future could look like if they say “Yes” to you.
We’re not saying you need to start your sales copy with “once upon a time.” But telling stories in your content canresult in more sales, more leads and more closed deals.
At the same time, turning your attention away from traditional “SEO writing” can ironically lead to better SEO results.
Storytelling shouldbe present in everything from your blogs to your pitch decks, as you build a stronger brand and make more emotional connections with your audience. The good news is that you already have most of the tools and resources that you will need. You just have to know where to look for them.
So, stop publishing content. Start telling stories.