Content is exploding. The Content Wars are raging on.
277,000 tweets every minute for 398,880,000 tweets every single day. (Source: JeffBullas.com)
4.75 billion pieces of content shared daily on Facebook. (Source: Zephoria.com)
204,000,000 emails sent every minute of the day. (Source: JeffBullas.com)
88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, yet only 32% have a documented content marketing strategy. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
It is time to arm yourself with one of the most powerful tools in the war to create the best, most effective content -> story. In this 3-part series, we will help you master tips and strategy to use the art of storytelling and writing to win the battle of engagement in the Content Wars.
This isn’t about the strategy of brand storytelling.
This isn’t about general content marketing tips.
We are talking about content storytelling and the discipline of crafting an engaging story in every piece of content you create.
Tangible, detailed writing and content creation designed and implemented to net the most engaging, exciting content to plug into your promotion mix. Strategize to succeed on the battlefield.
Engage the oversaturated, unsatisfied consumers and clients to create real leads and have a significant leg up on turning those leads into revenue with explosive engaging content.
Refine your weapons and modify your tools to inflict maximum engagement and interaction.
The road to victory starts with writing and telling a story.
PART ONE: Pre-Writing and Strategy
On the various battlefields and channels, victory in the content wars starts with cold, calculated strategy.
Read x 100,000,000,000
The first advice I received as a child and many times over in college getting an English & Writing degree was to become a more avid reader. Consistent and targeted reading has served me well as it has others in marketing.
What do Tom Brady, Steph Curry, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, your boss, and the CEO of your #1 competitor all have in common? They study the competition consistently. They use that knowledge to apply a strategy to win. Brady and Curry watch film. President Obama studied debates, opponents. Your boss and competing CEO’s read up on each other’s strategy, plans, products etc...
We have an infinitely more powerful tool in our arsenal than watching game film of your competition or studying their politics or reviewing their online presentations. We have all the content in the Content Wars to fuel our strategy and help our ideation process.
All this content. If you aren’t using it to your advantage to learn, process then you are starting a marathon 30 minutes late. Let’s get a headstart instead!
STARTER TIP: Spend 30 minutes every day reading content from influencers, professionals, and experts in your field and on your targeted passions. Getting started with RSS Feeds via Yaro Starak Entrepreneur’s-Journey
ADVANCED TIP: Curate content a few times a week on social media. Join the fray as an influencer and learn from the pantheon of those navigating the same sea of knowledge. You will be shocked by how much you learn and how many ideas take root and branch out from your personal experience. Best Practices for Better Content Curation via Hubspot
Know Your Persona: Buyer & Audience
One of our clients started a production company centered around a documentary film and needed some help with their strategy -> specifically their social media strategy.
They were fortunate enough to sit down with a Hollywood producer.
First question the producer asked, who is your audience? Know your buyer persona.
Create targeted content and a story that not only appeals to them in a practical way, meeting a needs state, but also in an emotional way, fulfilling an emotional desire.
This information should guide the ideation process when creating your story in content. Knowing who you want to impact is crucial in creating content stories that resonate and by result have the potential for increased engagement.
For the client previously mentioned, the practical appeal was pretty straight forward. The documentary had two specific audience communities. First, it was an archeological discovery piece. Second, it was about 10th BC archeology in Israel so heavily tied to a faith based, religious community. These were two demographics we were able to map.
Using the same example, we derived the emotional appeal from our two practical demographics. Emotionally, one community was heavily academic and the other religious. Mapping these emotions gave us actionable insights about content and strategy going forward.
STARTER TIP: Map front line, surface level demographics.
Create a Character Profile: Just like an author explores a fictional character, create a profile for your buyer persona. Explore multiple persona's and learn valuable insights that will inform your story. Good characterization drives good plot, just like a good story will force exploration of a character. (via The Lazy Scholar on Writers Write)
Understand your Subject: Value Proposition & Theme
Good storytelling and good content marketing go hand in hand.
The sweet spot is the combination of the two disciplines to really form a powerful tool in the Content Wars.
Know your value proposition in telling the story. It’s your thesis statement. You should have a thesis for every piece of content that activates your value proposition.
As a story focused writer, this our narrative theme. Ask ‘what is this story about, from a practical then an emotional perspective?’ Think about telling human stories, not product stories.
Following on the example above, we identified creating content stories promoted in social media as a means to engage our buyer persona (audience). Our narrative was about the practical value of biblical archaeology to the academic and the religious community. On an emotional level, it was a story about something very personal tied to a 'faith based community'. This practical and emotional impact helped influence the types of stories we wanted to tell in the final product, as well as through social media and other engagement channels.
STARTER TIP: Start with what you offer in a value proposition.
How to Develop a Compelling Value Proposition via Rebecca O. Bagley, Forbes Entrepreneurs
ADVANCED TIP: Take your content further by planning out separate theme and main idea.
BONUS: Keywords Unlock the Door to Your Persona
Delivering great content and telling a story your audience will respond to starts with ‘speaking their language’. To excel, you have to play in the intersection between what you offer in your content and what your customers want in both a practical and emotional level. Keywords play a major role not only in the writing of your content but also in the promotion delivery channels such as social media and in a more advanced way in SEO.
Next Up "Part Two: Writing"
Join us for the next episode in this trilogy series aimed at giving you the actionable tips and strategies to win the Content Wars with story. We will be diving into the story creation process wth some highly actionable tips for both starters and advanced experts.