Content Marketing: Crafting a Story for Your Business
Just be Yourself, Really

Scott Prewitt for EAG, July 19, 2016

tell stories word abstract - text in vintage letterpress wood type with a cup of coffee - storytelling concept
“People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.”
Terry Pratchett

Mr. Pratchett was right; stories resonate with people. We see bits of ourselves in narratives and gravitate toward the ones that reaffirm—or make us reassess—our values. Reflecting on stories helps us understand parts of ourselves we sometimes glance over or misunderstand. In short, stories affect people.

Content marketing is about telling stories that affect people.

If you strip away the jargon, content marketing is just storytelling for your brand. Published pieces serve as plot points for your audience to put together. Tell a story that reflects your audience’s values, and they’ll see a bit of themselves in your brand identity. They’ll buy in.

So, how do I tell the story of my small business?

Use your own voice.
Great stories are born from unique voices. Think Mark Twain or Lewis Carroll.

When businesses are competing for attention in an increasingly crowded digital space, a unique voice will differentiate your story. If businesses are repeating each other, say something different. Make it so that your audience will recognize your voice among the crowd.

Your business’s content will define its voice. Take interesting angles in blogs. Develop a brand aesthetic for photos and infographics. Use personable language in social media posts.

Keep it cohesive. If you use a professional tone for blog posts, don’t use a snarky one for social media. Your pieces should reflect and play off each other.

Keep it authentic. The voice of your business should reflect its mission and speak to the values of your target audience. Real people with real voices comprise your business. Let your content reflect those voices.

Engage in conversation.
Audiences like to be a part of the story. Let them be! Marketing content (particularly social media) provides many opportunities for engaging your audience:

  • Reactions
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Retweets
  • Hashtags

When audience members engage with your content, they become a part of your story. Likewise, they internalize your story as part of their own.

Simply put, conversing with members of your target audience strengthens their ties to your brand. It shows your business values its supporters.

Be an authority in your field.
You’ve found your voice and brought your audience into your story; now you’ve got to prove your story is legitimate. Show your audience that your business is to your industry what Stephen Colbert is to Tolkien lore.

Informative content is trusted content. Engaging in industry dialogue builds credibility and strengthens your voice.

Sprinkle facts and figures into your social media posts. Incorporate quotes and advice into your blog. Publish case studies and detailed infographics. Produce video interviews with experts.

If people share your content, you’re doing it right and Google will reward you with better search engine performance.

Let the world know what you know.

Pay attention to analytics.
Want to know what your target audience thinks of your story? Check the analytics. It’s pretty easy nowadays to keep track of what people are doing with content. You can break down numbers and literally read what your audience neglects and what they gravitate toward. You can quantify your brand’s public image and adjust your content accordingly.

How do I create the content?
Content marketing can be intimidating—the possibilities are plentiful and challenging. The good thing is, your story already exists. We have people who can turn it into professional content.

So, let us help you tell your story. People are listening. Start the conversation.

 

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