30 Apr Creating Content that Connects
Imagine being a reporter and having nothing to write about. As we all face this global pandemic, I’ve been impressed by local sports reporters. As league after league cancelled competitions, my first thought was they’re not just staring at a blank page every day. Their whole source of content development is gone.
Talk about having to think differently.
From “Where are they now?” segments with former athletes to stories about how current players are filling their time, sports reporters are having to dig deep to create content. The real pros are showing what true storytelling is all about. Take English rugby announcer Nick Heath and his series of live play-by-play Twitter posts tagged #lifecommentary in which he narrates the every-day with the same enthusiasm he brings to the pitch. Or Minneapolis sport director Mike Max, sharing the stories of how local athletes are spending their time off the ice, court or field. Both are great examples of how a well-oiled story can create a connection.
When it comes to creating great digital content for your clients, you’ll hear phrases like keywords, conversions, share-ability and increasing traffic. Those features are all very important. Getting results from your content is just good business. But, it is just as important to be a good storyteller. If the way you craft your words doesn’t resonate with your audience and compel them to stay engaged, all the keywords in the world won’t generate sales.
Storytelling is a different type of brand content. Research shows that good stories create an emotional response from readers, allowing them to connect and transfer what they’re reading into their own experiences. Experts say stories create reactions in the brain, releasing chemicals that trigger our attention, allowing us to connect to what we’re hearing and producing a feeling of reward. Stories are also more memorable.
Ask anyone what it takes to create a good story and you’ll get a breadth of responses. Here are Axiom’s top three tips for brand storytelling.
Don’t Bury the Lead (Lede)
You have three seconds to grab your reader’s attention. Three seconds. Be engaging, be witty, be emotive, be factual. Spend time on that first sentence to get it exactly right. But, above all, don’t make the reader wait until the second paragraph to learn what is new and important. If you do that, chances are you’ve already lost them.
Personalize Features & Benefits
It’s not only a red, ceramic coffee mug. It’s a dishwasher-safe way to deliver coffee at just the right temperature that comes in your favorite color. You need this product because it does X, Y and Z. Make sure X, Y and Z are features and benefits that are truly relatable. How does this product or service fit into your life? Why do you need it? What problem or pain point does it solve for you? How does it make life better? One of the best ways to do this is to include a testimonial. Have satisfied customers serve as storytellers. Not as a paid infomercial shill, but human to human. Highlight how they connect with your brand and how the product or service makes a difference for them.
A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s much more than a pithy saying. There is science to back it up. Experts say visuals can make your story 55 percent more memorable. Showing your product or service in action is the best way to be visual. Including video, in-use still photography, lifestyle images (with people!) and even infographics can help the viewer or reader envision interacting with your product and your brand.
At a time when we’re all looking at things differently, take a second look at your brand content. Are you caught up in marketing speak or are you a true storyteller?