Part Two: How to Use Storytelling in Your Content Marketing

I recently attended a Content Marketing Institute webinar on the 2014 upcoming content marketing trends. One of the key approaches to content marketing is understand who you are creating content for. It’s not about what you want to write about, it is about what your audience cares about. I thought the webinar was timely and highlighted the importance of knowing your audience.

In the second installment of how to use storytelling in your content marketing I evaluate the importance of defining your audience and keeping organized.

Step Three: Define Your Audience

Now that you have everyone on board to be storytellers, it’s time to define your audience. If you have developed personas for your marketing use those to help develop your stories. If you do not have personas, here is why you need them: Personas help define who will consume the new content you are about to create.

Personas are profiles of your customer. They are a snapshot into what motivates that customer to buy your products or services. Questions to consider when developing personas: what makes the audience engage? Why should they care? What’s in it for them? What do you want the audience to do after reading your story?

Creating personas will take time. You will need to do some interviewing of current clients as well as stakeholders who work directly with them. A great example of how to research your audience is look at job postings in your field. I am currently working in the energy space and was having trouble understanding who works in the energy space. I started looking at job postings to find out who the utilities were trying to employ and use this as the foundation for me to build my personas. It wasn’t perfect, but with the requirements I understood what was needed in their roles which in turn helped me figure out pain points and motivators. I used this as the foundation to build the personas and peppered subject matter interviews to refine the personas.

Contribution from atlanta.iabc.com

Contribution from atlanta.iabc.com

Step Four: Get Organized

Managing multiple themes and getting your story out in the market will take planning and organization. Editorial calendars will be your new favorite tool in 2014.

Editorial calendars helps organizations organize multiple themes, platforms, team members, and manage the process of creation. Pam Dyer, a Social Media Today contributor wrote that editorial calendars should be viewed as a roadmap to ensure your content is optimized to meet your business goals and targets the right audience. It will also provide assurance that your contributors, stakeholders, and distribution channels are working in concert. I love that because as marketers we sometimes neglect the planning and organizing internal resources to create content.

As the Director of Content Marketing, as see my role as the CEO of content. I help plan, but also I make sure all folks contributing understand they are accountable to delivering the content. The editorial calendar is a great tool to work with multiple stakeholders to understand where their content will be distributed and manage deadlines. I would also stress that the editorial calendar is not static, but ever evolving. I am constantly changing themes and distribution of content based on changes of my contributors or marketplace. A great example was my firm’s recent whitepaper on the polar vortex affect the U.S. energy market ability to respond to extreme weather. Based on small changes to timing we were able to capitalize on great earned media opportunities in the national press and trade publications.

Editorial calendars also help me manage the contributors and foresee holes in the plan. It can also be a great source to help you generate ideas for future contributions and repurpose opportunities. Don’t think you can use only one story at a time, you can repurpose several content pieces for different platforms such as social and off line.

Storytelling is not a new concept, but is more challenging to use in today’s noisy marketplace. Marketers who will effectively use realize this technique will take time, planning, and executive buy in. it’s not only about the planning, but also the stories themselves. Do you have a corporate story that will resonate and cut through the noise?

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One response to “Part Two: How to Use Storytelling in Your Content Marketing

  1. Thank you for this post! Talking about using storytelling is often much easier said than done. As a content creator I often run into the problem of clients wanting to push information and not craft a story to engage the audience.

    The steps outlined in part two are super helpful, especially getting organized. I now plan on embracing the editorial calendar in 2014 to help gain support for using storytelling and how it can be used to reach client goals.

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