This is part eight of the long-standing “Content is King” hit series on Boston Web Marketing, which focuses on the importance of content marketing for SEO, conversions, and brand building.
Creating killer content and clever copy requires significant time and resources to ensure that your website, social, and web content resonates with your primary consumer audience. Without the proper investment in content teams or content creation, your strategy may fall short of meeting critical marketing goals such as website conversions and audience engagement.
Dedicated content marketers with an effective, actionable, and achievable strategy are likely to see positive ROI by implementing a few basic pieces of content in their overall marketing strategy. Once marketers have a consistent and effective content strategy, then it may be time to ramp up the detail and storytelling potential of their main content pieces.
Everyone loves a good story, but why does it make sense for marketers to invest in a stronger story-telling process with their content?
Longer-form, engaging, and high-production content can lead to a variety of SEO benefits including more inbound links, higher search visibility, brand recognition, and greater conversion totals. Long-form content is also more likely to rank higher since the average word count for first page results is 1,890 words.
The reason for this is that capturing the attention of your most passionate, educated, and curious consumer base will increase engagement with your brand and business. In a nutshell, higher-quality content that creates a relatable story to its target audience can garner a lot more interest than shorter one-off blogs or articles.
So how can marketing professionals and companies improve their storytelling? A great place to start is by looking through these five optimized storytelling components to attract and retain your ideal audience:
1. Support research pieces and long-form content with data
Data is an incredibly powerful tool to demonstrate the scope or scale of a unique problem, challenge, or solution related to a consumer’s needs. Numbers tend to stand out, are easy to follow, and limit potential clarity issues in a longer-form research piece.
Whenever possible, use publicly available information and sources to strengthen research pieces. Double check any sources that require special accreditation in your piece. A simple Google search can help find authoritative sources that are easily accessible to readers.
For example, read each sentence and determine which one stands out more: “The majority of websites that blog frequently are ranked higher than competitors” vs. “Blogs that create at least 10 blog posts a month have 25% more first page results than competitors.”
2. “The Ultimate Guide” and similar resource pieces
A lot of internet users use search engines to find resources and learn more about a particular topic. In fact, Google search experiences 1.2 trillion users in a year, 3.5 billion searches a day, and nearly 75,000 searches every second.
Providing how-tos, “must-knows,” and other informative resource content is an effective way to capture your readership’s attention. To create a more fleshed out story though, try creating an “ultimate guide” style resource that takes into account every aspect of a buyer’s journey.
Build out guides by addressing where users may experience a problem, case studies, statistics, and how to use multiple solutions to address a problem. Basically, you want to make these guides as comprehensive as possible with on-page navigation to help users find specific sections. Most individuals may not read an entire 50-page guide, but they’ll want it as a resource to find definitions, examples, and ways to fix certain problems.
An “ultimate guide” needs to be, well, ultimate. Use as much data and anecdotes as possible to organize it into a rich and detailed resource.
3. Write a series on a topic that spans over a long-period of time
A content series is a great way to tell a longer story on a blog, video platform, social media, and just about any type of content medium. When writing any series, figure out how long you’ll want it to go, the topic and consistency of it, and the takeaway on the concluding piece/article.
However, you’ll want a series to last a little above 3-4 pieces at a minimum. A series that feels too short may not have the similar gravity or following that could be generated from a longer string of pieces. For example, the series you are reading right now is going up to 15 blogs(!)
4. Gather testimonials and anecdotes for case studies
As with any good story there are characters to support the main themes or ideas. The same is the case with content marketing, with the characters in this instance being your customers, co-workers, and other stakeholders.
With permission from customers or stakeholders, try and create a case study or point-of-view piece that shows how someone outside of your business was able to make a profound change in their life with your service/product. The more testimonials or anecdotes you can collect, the stronger your story will be.
Additionally, the use of testimonials will allow your other long-form pieces of content to shine because they have authentic and relatable experiences from normal, everyday people.
5. Create thought leadership with guest posts or expert commentary
Sometimes, the storyteller can be the deciding factor in how much a piece of content gets shared, viewed, and engaged with. To boost your content’s engagement potential try consulting with an industry expert or guest blogger to brand your content.
Influencers, thought leaders, and other expert commentators can add value onto your longer content pieces and even provide their own unique ideas. Depending on your marketing resources, try and find guest commentators to meet your needs. A great place to start is to consult niche and industry influencers to see if they are willing to participate in your brand’s story.
These are just a handful of ways to improve the storytelling gusto of your content marketing efforts, which is likely to improve awareness and engagement with your business/brand. As always, try experimenting with multiple storytelling strategies to see how you can apply it to your marketing efforts.
Content is king when a thoughtful, high-quality, and effective strategy is in place. Test these storytelling skills to one day take the content throne!