You’ll often hear about the importance of storytelling in marketing. Why? Because we’re wired to respond to stories, from Homer’s Odyssey to today’s Hollywood blockbusters. Used strategically, storytelling can be a powerful tool of persuasion, and creating customer loyalty.

But what kinds of stories can you tell, and where are they most effective? Here are a few ways to consider using storytelling in your content marketing.

Make it Useful and Personal

Consumers have mountains of content available to consume, in many different forms. According to research by Google and Omnicom Media Group, people are increasingly looking for content that will educate, help them feel connected, or give them new perspectives on their lives.

Think of ways you can educate customers in areas related to your product or service. If your audience includes a particular community or subculture, find opportunities to showcase its members and their unique stories. In short, create content that shows customers you understand their personal, social or aspirational needs. Video in particular is a powerful medium for these kinds of narratives.

Help Them Research Your Product or Service

Consumers typically use content to research a product or service in three ways. First they’ll search for basic information on available solutions. Next they’ll want to dig deeper to learn about your product or service, like technical details, how it works, or your value proposition. Finally they’ll research more to compare your value with other options in the market.

Another recent study by Google shows how customers begin with search, move to video to learn more, and head back to search again as they near the end of the journey.

To tell a compelling story that holds their attention across these different channels, answer a few basic questions they’ll have. Why is this the best solution to their problem? Why you and not your competitors? Why do they need it now?

Tell Them About Your Brand

What sets one brand apart from another? The answer could be your mission, culture, methods, values — or simply pure entertainment value (see: Old Spice). All fuel for great storytelling. Why does your business believe what it believes, or work the way it does? What’s your brand’s personality? Find compelling ways to show them.

For example, you might write a sponsored content article about a social issue that’s important to you. Tell readers your point of view, and what you’re doing to support those values. Give it depth by including a short video on the CEO leading the charge, or a personal story on someone positively affected by your efforts.

This could mean the difference between their doing business with you, or any number of ‘me too’ competitors.

Tip: Match the Medium

Stories will take different forms depending on the channels where you’re engaging your audience. A YouTube video will look different than pre-roll ad, which will look different from a sponsored article. Once you’ve determined the right places to reach your audience, make sure the way you tell your story is matched to the medium. If you’re unsure where to start, look at content they’re already consuming for inspiration.

Content marketing effectively attracts audiences across different media, at different points in their journey. At its most effective, it taps into our desire for stories we can relate to. Choose stories that suit your goals and also resonate with customers to cultivate an audience that’s deeply engaged in what you have to say.

We can help you tell impactful stories through sponsored content, branded content, video and more. Not sure where to start? We can help. Ask us about bundled content packages that make it easy to get started.