Consumers are smart to marketing, and they want brands to acknowledge that. Desensitized by the millions of ads, gimmicks and sales pitches each day, consumers are inherently equipped with blinders to block out shallow attempts at attracting attention. In order to truly connect with today’s tech-savvy consumer, you have to deliver meaningful, relevant content.
Marketing specialist Drew McLellan defines content marketing as “a broad term for any marketing technique that creates and distributes valuable, helpful and relevant information that demonstrates that you know your stuff.”
So how should you, a small business owner, approach content marketing?
Think of it like storytelling.
Everyone Loves a Good Story
Picture the Geico caveman who makes car insurance look easy; the Chick-Fil-A cows and their never-ending plight to stop us from eating beef; the genius babies that use eTrade; and the infamous Taco Bell Chihuahua on his quest to find crunchy, cheesy goodness (“Yo Quiero Taco Bell?”).
What resonates most with consumers? A story line.
As Christopher Butler of Newfangled Web Developers puts it, “Relating to characters and their stories is essential in order for people to make an initial connection with brands.” And even after this, Butler notes, “People need to connect with a story in order to believe that a product or service matters to them.”
Content Marketing for Small Businesses
Small businesses have a huge advantage when it comes to storytelling through digital media. Unlike large business, smaller brands do not have to come up with an elaborate, corporate-wide campaign complete with fictional characters and episodic plots that build equity. Nor do they need the large budget that is required to do this.
As McLellan says, “The ultimate goal of content marketing is to create a sense of trust and comfort that will lead to someone making an initial purchase, making an additional purchase or referring you to someone who’s ready to make a purchase.”
A small business can inexpensively and effectively tell the story of their business and how it is (or may be) valuable to consumers through digital media platforms such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
Storytelling Through Digital Media
As Butler notes, “Every product or service’s value can be expressed as a story. The difficulty is in framing that story for the people that you know need to hear it.”
By thinking of content marketing like storytelling, small businesses can not only connect with the right consumers, but they can gain the trust and credibility needed to produce actual leads.
- Stories give meaning to facts.
- Stories allow consumers to come to their own conclusions.
- Stories recognize who the consumers are and what matters to them.
- Stories convey a consistent voice consumers can rely on.
- Stories are inherently authentic; they reveal the truth about a brand through action.
Take Google‘s lead; stop selling and start telling stories.
“What Can Content Marketing do for Your Business,” Drew McLellan, Drew’s Marketing Minutes, May 2012.
“Storytelling is the Future of the Web,” Christopher Butler, Newfangled Web Developers, June 2010.
“5 Things Marketers Can Learn From Stories,” Jim Signorelli, Marketing Daily, June 2012.
Infographic by the Hoffman Agency via Ishmael’s Corner
In his discussion about the future of the web, Butler asserts that, “storytelling requires good writing.” Learn how a content marketing program at Digital Sherpa can propel your business into the future of digital media by requesting a complimentary consultation online.