Once upon a time, sales content was formal, corporate and more sober than a group of Nuns at a Jonas Brothers concert. This was, of course, perceived as being a very businesslike way to reach out to audiences, displaying the company as one that is professional to the very end. It was also boring.
So unutterably boring
Thankfully, the advent of content marketing prompted a large-scale rethink in the way businesses spoke to their consumers, with the result being a less formal, more engaging approach. Brands soon realised that these staid messages didn’t, in fact, paint them as being knowledgeable professionals but instead vacuous personality-voids.
Now, with content taking a stronger hold on the marketing world with each day that passes, attention has turned to the next phase; storytelling.
What is storytelling?
In this guise, storytelling isn’t quite recounting Jackanory-style tales of cowardly lions or boy wizards, but instead offers readers something worth a little more than just tired old platitudes about brand new products or services.
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That fawning, jargon-riddled guff about a new project? Bin it. Instead, think what consumers actually want to read, not what you want to show them.
This version of storytelling works because of the (horribly clichéd but always true) notion that people don’t buy products, they buy lifestyles. Do the majority of camera buyers want to purchase something with “specialist face-priority auto-focusing” or do they want a product that will help them easily snap crystal-clear shots of their families?
For further proof, look no further than Apple’s TV adverts every time a new iPhone is released. Technical jargon and in-depth statistics are totally discarded in favour of snazzy new features like panoramic photos or voice-activated commands. Is this aiming for the low-hanging fruit, or simply giving people what they want? Either way it doesn’t really matter, as their success is undeniable; simply because they focus attention away from the brand’s offering and instead onto the consumer’s needs.
Also, don’t forget about news stories
News can be just as tied into the selling of an idea – not a brand – as any other marketing copy, with a bit of added human interest thrown in for good measure. It uses engaging content and up-to-the-minute topicality to show in real-world, easy-to-digest pieces just what a product or service could offer consumers.
Whilst this storytelling may not quite be the kind you’d want to snuggle up with on the sofa, it’s also a good measure more entertaining and engaging than the horrifically boring sales glitter of old. This has then allowed brands and their consumers to forge lasting, professional relationships built on a mutual likeness and understanding.
And guess what, they all lived happily ever after.