There’s so much to write about in the digital marketing sphere that some days it’s difficult to choose a topic. Today was one of those days. I was tossing up between an article about story-telling ads or a rundown of RankBrain.
Then I went to Linkedin and by chance found an article titled “Six reasons storytelling is an essential skill for entrepreneurs to master.” It was posted by some guy called Richard Branson at Virgin.
I thought: well, he’s got the same forename as me, so this must be fate. And I’m a virgin. So that was it, my mind was made up!
Story-telling has become a staple in content marketing. The reason for that is because it works. The six reasons given in the aforementioned article are:
- Storytelling ads give people context which helps it easier to remember facts and figures
- Stories help to simplify complex explanations
- Story-telling creates a bigger picture and communicates your company values better than simply making a statement
- Telling stories makes it easier for people to learn
- Stories can offer a glimpse of the future
- When stories resonate with the reader, they trigger emotional responses
So there’s your benefits. But how do you tell a story in content that has an underlying purpose to sell your products and services? That’s where story-telling ads get tricky.
If you’ve previously tried developing story-telling content, you will understand the difficulties you encounter. So I’ve put this article together to help guide you through.
Let’s start with the basics: it goes a little something like this:
Beginning: Capture the attention of your audience by using an emotional trigger. This can be something they will find interesting or entertaining.
Typically, the beginning should be something that resonates with your audience. The opening paragraph should follow on from the heading and set up the rest of the article.
Focus on the message you want to deliver and turn the introduction on its head so that you are in the mind of the reader. What do they want to know that compelled them to click-through to your article after reading the headline?
Middle: Describe the offer and benefits of your product or service. This will be how your product or service helped the character in your story, or how it will help the reader.
Create the entire picture. If you are giving an explanation, tell the reader how not to do something as well as how to do something. Feed on their pain points and provide them with information and inspiration.
End: The conclusion of your story should not be long-winded. Once you have made your point, don’t try to sell your products or services. All you need is a call to action. So just tell the reader what they have to do next.
Triggering an emotional response in story-telling ads
So let’s go back to the beginning. How do you get readers emotionally involved in your article so they feel compelled enough to keep reading? (You need them to read to the end so they follow the call-to-action).
Consumers buy stuff for a reason. So identify with your customers’ ‘pain points’ and focus the opening paragraphs of your content around that. Essentially, you need to connect with them on an emotional level.
If you have conducted your branding research well, you will already know what type of profile your customers have. You can then use this information to determine what their pain points are most likely to be.
So, identify your customers ‘pain points’ and focus the opening statement of your story-telling ad around that.
Yes, I did just repeat myself there. And for good reason. What are pain points?
Well, these are essentially any emotional values they may have for wanting your product or services. Consumers buy things to satisfy a need. Can you solve their needs and if so, how?
A pain point may be a desire, a passion or a problem. Remember, we are emotional creatures and we need satisfying.
Describe the benefits of your product
This section requires an entire article of its own because there are multiple functions you can use. But for now, let’s keep it simple.
So, you’ve started your ad by resonating with readers on an emotional level. The follow-up is how can you cure their pain point? What does your product or service offer that can satisfy the emotional needs of consumers?
Choose a benefit your product or service has that cures the pain point. This is the middle of your ad – which incidentally is the most important part of story-telling. So take your time over it.
When describing the benefits of your product, be genuine. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. People don’t believe things that are too good to be true – not without evidence.
The most powerful wording is simple, clear English that tells the tale how it is. Consumers do not trust traditional forms of digital advertising. They just want to be told straight facts – and preferably by other customers.
Therefore, the easiest stories to tell are true-life cases. So why not ask your clients if you can use there as an example. If they are a business, you give them free exposure. Otherwise, change the names and some details and use a real-life case as inspiration.
Just to make a point: story-telling articles do not have to be long-winded. Providing they meet the Google brief of at least 300-words a page, you can rattle off a sweet and charming story and still captivate your audience.
How much detail you offer in the middle of your story-telling ad depends on the platform you are using. Remember, that digital platforms do not always offer much space – especially now Google are shifting to a mobile-first index. So sometimes, shorter stories work better.
How to write a Call-To-Action
Every digital marketing ad requires a call-to-action. Story-telling ads are no different. All you require here is to tell the customer what they have to do next.
The call-to-action (CTA) will depend on the platform you are using. For example, if you want to drive customers to your website through an SMS marketing message or social network, a link to the relevant webpage is your CTA.
On your website, a CTA could be something as simple as the contact button. Or it could be the corresponding page to the product or service you are focusing on.
One final word on story-telling ads
Any form of marketing ad requires some degree of creativity. Story-telling ads in digital marketing are premium content because they are so effective, but also more time-consuming to compile.
They do need the right ingredients. Above I described the structure a story-telling ad requires. That should be enough guidance for you to decide which key elements of your product to promote and which customers to target.
However, I appreciate it only gets you one step closer to actually writing your content. And at this point you may still have no idea where to start. But give a go. Once you get started, you will find a story begins to unfold.
And if you still need help, contact Master Mind Content. We are published fiction writers and have plenty of experience at telling believable stories in digital marketing ads.