Content marketing has been dominating the world of B2B marketing over the last few years, and this looks to continue with Content Marketing 3.0 now on the horizon.
You don’t have to look far to see that more and more businesses are attracting their target market by writing blogs, downloadable guides and white papers – on increasingly similar topics.
As a result, client audiences are in a state of information overload.
When investing your limited time and resource in creating content, it’s essential that your content is ‘heard above the noise’ – your brand needs to be the one remembered.
89% of B2B marketers use content marketing – 2017 B2B Content Marketing Trends
One way to create winning, memorable content is through the art of storytelling.
Think of the last time you sat through a business presentation; can you remember what the presentation was about, the key facts and the message?
Now think of the last time your friend told you about an event in their day; can you remember what they said more clearly?
The reason people usually find it easier to remember a conversation with a friend is because it involves emotion. Emotion is a powerful tool in communication and an essential part of storytelling.
While you may not think that storytelling and business go hand-in-hand, it’s simpler than you think.
Content in story format is not only more memorable, but it also has great power to influence how people think or feel, and ultimately how they act. This is key in content marketing, as it gets your audience to respond to your call to action.
“Research shows our brains are wired to understand and retain stories. A story is a journey that moves the listener [to] feel different and the result is persuasion and sometimes action.”
There are many story formats you can use when creating content marketing, but most follow a similar basic structure. The simplest of which is the ‘3 Act’ structure:
Act 1: The Set-Up
In this act, you introduce your character (usually your target audience) in their natural setting (usually the target market).
Act 2: The Challenge/Conflict
In this act, you present a challenge or conflict for your character, usually a market need/issue your business can help them address. Challenge or conflict can come in many forms, some internal (limitations within their own business) and some external (competition or market conditions).
This act will make up the bulk of your content, and should build empathy for the character by detailing the struggles and failed attempts to find solutions to the challenge.
Act 3: The Resolution/Shining Knight
In this last act, the challenge or conflict is overcome with the help of a shining knight (you). This is where you introduce your business or services as the solution for your character to overcome their challenge or conflict.
Content marketers are usually most confident with this act – speaking about what they do. However, it is important to always keep the focus on the character (your target client); what benefit you bring them and what outcomes you will help them achieve. Taking a hard-sell approach detracts from the story and should be carefully avoided.
“The challenge is in figuring out how to share that story in a way that aligns with the needs and priorities of prospects.” – Ardath Albee, B2B Marketing Strategist
Whether using the ‘3 Act’ approach, or any other storytelling format when creating content, the key is to evoke emotion and demonstrate that you understand and empathise with the character – your target audience.
Doing so will enable you to create memorable content that readers will more readily value and recall, along with your brand, above the noise of information overload.
If you want to ensure your content cuts through the noise in the digital-age and gets your firm noticed by clients, check out our content packages, or get in touch to speak to a member of team JTN. We’re helping firms just like yours build a B2B brand and generate the kind of trust and loyalty that entices their audience to share their content and engage with their brand simply because of who they are.