Use storytelling skills to craft compelling content.
As a content writer, you might not think of yourself as a storyteller. Storytellers usually present a main character in a sympathetic light and demonstrate him or her overcoming obstacles and eventually triumphing over adversity (despite some close calls). As a content marketer, you might think your job is totally different: you use your language skills to help sell products or services.
Content marketing, however, is not as far from traditional storytelling as you may think -- you're just writing from a slightly different perspective. With content writing, the "main character" is your target audience, while the "story" you're telling is how your business plays a role in helping the audience overcome a significant obstacle that they've encountered. In particular, marketers can learn a lot from memoir writers -- people who tell a story about significant incidents in their own lives.
Memoirs work when readers identify with the subject of the memoir and become invested in his or her struggles, wanting to see those obstacles overcome. Similarly, content writers need to engage their readers in the story they're telling.
One of the best ways to do this is to talk about people akin to your target audience, people who have a similar problem that they can't stand and need to solve right away. Whether you are selling odor-free kitty litter, high-end electronics, or personal services, the principle is the same: you must introduce your audience to people they can relate to whose lives have significantly improved as a result of working with your business.
Several ways you can do this are:
Use case studies about people similar to those in your audience who overcame a problem by using your product or services.
Create video ads or written content featuring people that your audience can visually and emotionally identify with.
When creating how-to blogs, write your introduction so that it includes a story and "protagonist" who has faced the same problem your audience has.
Most memoirs are long because they cover several significant incidents that occurred as the main character was attempting to solve a particular problem. Similarly, your written content must show your "main character" trying several things and finally coming to the right solution -- that is, the product or service you're writing about.
If the written content makes it too easy for your protagonist to solve his or her problems, audience members will not be as interested. They'll think your story sounds too good to be true and might be turned off (think about how products that claim to "work miracles" or "solve every problem" seem disingenuous). Instead, show your character experiencing the inadequacies of other possible solutions, and leave the best solution -- your product or service -- for the end of the story.
If you tell a compelling story with your content, you'll be much likelier to attract new customers. By making sure readers can identify with the emotions and problems you present, not only will you keep them more engaged throughout the content, but they -- like your protagonist -- will come to the conclusion that your business is the best solution for their problems.
What can you learn from memoirists? Share your thoughts with us below.
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