As a content marketer, your role is to create content that engages audiences. You’re not writing whitepapers or academic journals. You’re simplifying the message for your audience so they understand and, ideally, like it. Your content, in whatever form it takes, must be well-written and interesting enough for readers to share it.
The content challenge for websites is twofold: first, how to know what types of content grab attention and work with their target audience, and second, create it en masse or regularly enough to prove you’re an authority and a trustworthy source to Google and other search engines.
Though content marketing creation might sound straightforward, it’s not nearly as easy as you imagine, especially when your topic is well covered already.
However, what’s encouraging for content marketers is the knowledge that digital storytelling can turn even the most prosaic and over-subscribed topics into an evergreen piece worth sharing. What is digital storytelling, and can anyone use it?
Engage In Digital Storytelling
Digital storytelling has become a bit of a buzzword of late. But what does it actually mean?
Essentially, digital storytelling is using digital tools web-based stories, interactive texts, narrative computer games, and so on – to create an experience that people remember.
Digital storytelling was originally used by bloggers with interesting life stories to better engage their audiences. But digital storytelling tools have since been picked up by marketing experts in innovative firms. They see it as the next frontier in business: a way by which they can thrill and entertain their audience base and get them more interested in their brand.
The primary way in which businesses have used digital storytelling is through user-generated content.
For example, the Enterprise Center decided to engage students at Salem State University by organizing a competition. The students submitted a 60-second pitch for a unique business or charitable cause. The students then got to vote on which idea they thought was best.
Ideas can come from everywhere, and you can reach out to your customers and the wider community to get inspiration for content.
Brexit By Numbers
Another example of digital storytelling is the timeline of Brexit by Sky News. Ordinarily, most of us are not politically minded enough to dedicate time to read through thousands of words of a political event. At best, we’d skim-read, scrolling as fast as we could while still getting the gist of the content. With a digital story, however, the Brexit timeline is much more interesting. But don’t take our word for it – here it is for your enjoyment.
Digital Storytelling Content Tips
Businesses keen to promote their offering using digital storytelling will use subtlety over the overt sales pitch.
Use Customer Feedback
Companies also use digital storytelling to promote products to customers based on customer feedback. It is an effective way of marketing because it shifts focus away from the company and onto an audience’s peers.
Given that research shows that people are as likely to trust what other customers say as much as they are word-of-mouth recommendations, digital storytelling should be a core approach to your digital marketing efforts.
Educate and Entertain, First and Foremost
You might think that to create great content, you need to somehow sneak in a pitch for your product. In fact, many so-called marketing gurus recommend this approach, reminding business bloggers to always include some call to action or selling technique in the post itself.
This kind of strategy simply doesn’t work anymore. People searching for your content want to be educated and entertained. They don’t want a bunch of marketing propaganda that doesn’t help them solve their immediate problem.
When Digital Storytelling Is Part of the Buying Process
Companies need to shift their thinking to writing articles. Rather than seeing them as a way to sell directly, they need to be viewed as just another stage in the buying process – a way to pique someone’s interest.
This is what professional copywriting services do all the time. Copywriters are trained to produce content that provides valuable information to customers, not sell a product. This is because they know that, given the current content marketing landscape, this is the most effective way to entice customers to your website and ultimately get them to convert.
Don’t Be Afraid To Inject A Bit Of Personality
If you’re a business, especially a B2B business, you might be tempted to choose a bland, corporate writing style. But this kind of approach can get boring very quickly.
Just because you’re a professional services business or only deal with other companies directly doesn’t mean that you’re not still trying to communicate with individual people. That’s why it’s essential to add a bit of personality and flavour to your writing: you want to be able to draw people in.
What do top professionals do? In short, a couple of things. First, they spice up their content by telling stories that put their brand into a narrative. Every business has a story to tell – a struggle its customers can relate to. Tell these stories whenever possible.
Add interactive content
Secondly, professional copywriters add media to their blogs: personalized videos, testimonials, images and podcasts. Look at any top professional services website today, and you’ll find various media formats designed to complement traditional articles.
Research Should Be At The Center Of Your Content Strategy
One of the biggest challenges of content writing is finding new and exciting topics your audience is interested in. For example, how to write an article on digital marketing is not a topic that most copywriters will leap at and get stuck in because it is a topic that is well covered by digital marketing copywriters.
Furthermore, you’ll know how much has been written on writing digital marketing articles should a simple Google search yields an answer or many results with relevant answers to the question. As such, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to provide any additional value. That’s why top content creators and professionals are always in research mode. As soon as they get an idea for an article, they write it down and immediately start the research process, ensuring they’re bringing their customers something original.
Your Title Is As Important As The Content Itself
You might imagine that what you actually say in the bowels of your article is more important than the title. But, as many professional copywriting services know, that’s not the case.
The first thing people see is the title, and if it’s boring or doesn’t accurately reflect the content, they’ll quickly move on.
Article titles that perform particularly well are those concerning “breaking news,” top lists of [X], how-to articles, best-of posts, and so on. For business writers, helping customers solve a problem should always be at the back of their minds when creating a title.
Craft A Great Opener
Research shows that most people don’t read articles from start to finish. Instead, their interest quickly wanes after the first few sentences, especially if a post doesn’t have a strong lead.
Grabbing attention in those first few lines is essential. Try opening an article with things like little-known facts, interesting stories, breaking news, or the promise that they won’t be able to find the information in your article anywhere else.