The Question Every B2B Marketer Needs to Ask: What’s Our Story?


Everything—irrespective of how innocuous or dated—had its use. It was a mantra he lived by. Born in 1946 to an Irish immigrant father and an American mom of French-Canadian descent, his dad and mom’ coming of age was marked by the Great Depression plus many years of conflict.

Unsurprisingly, this meant that his dad and mom, Pat and Stella, have been extra than sensible when it got here to purchases and investments. They have been intentional. They have been frugal. It was “waste not, want not.” And they by no means threw something away—a lifestyle that he held on to lengthy into maturity.

But someday, Pat and Stella’s hoarding and his ensuing perception that every little thing was helpful, modified my life.

After one among his routine check-ins with Pat and Stella, Dad arrived residence with what appeared like a small, hardcover suitcase. It was a shiny metal blue. He swung the case onto the kitchen desk and referred to as me over. He unlatched the duvet and pushed it again to reveal the contents.

My eyes widened. He smiled. We hugged. And I ran my fingers over the black keys of the previous typewriter as I contemplated which story I’d write first …

This is a bit of my story. And everybody has a narrative to inform; a glimpse to present—together with your B2B model.

The Intersection of Storytelling & B2B Content Marketing

Storytelling is civilization’s oldest type of communication, serving to us educate, entertain, protect our histories and cultures, and instill our values. We’re programmed for tales. Our brains gentle up once we hear and see tales unfolding.

This starvation for narrative mixed with our want and talent to information our personal quest for solutions, storytelling has naturally turn out to be a elementary staple of B2B content material advertising. As Ursula Ringham, Global Head of Influencer Marketing for SAP, says: “In advertising, story is every little thing.”

But the problem for a lot of B2B entrepreneurs is to weave a narrative internet that’s every little thing to their clients and prospects. It wants to present that significant glimpse. It wants to be acquainted. It wants to be genuine. And it wants to resonate.

“Every content creator should consider themselves a storyteller,” Nick Nelson, Senior Content Strategist at TopRank Marketing, declares in his piece on constructing belief via storytelling. “When we write, we are invariably sharing a story: about our solution, about our customers, about the pains we can help solve.”

He provides: “Tying a number of items of data collectively in a coherent, chronological, and—above all—relatable approach makes the message way more affecting. The content material abruptly turns into experiential as an alternative of merely instructional.”

In #advertising, story is every little thing. @ursularingham #B2BContenMarketing #Storytelling Click To Tweet

The backside line? It’s now not sufficient to inform patrons. Instead, you have to present story-driven content material that connects on each mental and emotional ranges.

Read: Creating Content Connections: 10 Lessons in Resonance from Content Marketing Pros

How to Create B2B Content Connections Through Storytelling

Whether you’re constructing a large-scale model narrative or pulling at story threads, right here are some things to remember as you commit to storytelling in your B2B content material advertising initiatives.

#1 – Commit to storytelling by doubling-down on what’s already acquainted.

Contently co-founder and acknowledged journalist Shane Snow is broadly recognized in advertising circles for his knack for storytelling and his dedication to serving to different entrepreneurs harness their storytelling skillset.

A few years in the past, I had the privilege of seeing Shane communicate on this very subject at MarketingProfs B2B Forum. At that point, he laid out a three-step framework for telling higher tales and it resonated with me.

  1. Create well timed, seasonal, and evergreen content material that tells a narrative at each stage of the funnel.
  2. Connect your viewers together with your tales by figuring out the correct distribution channels and content material varieties—based mostly in your viewers’s preferences and your goals.
  3. Optimize and refine your tales to guarantee your creating content material that undoubtedly connects.

The ideas outlined in his framework ought to really feel actually acquainted—they’re meant to, from my perspective. (Familiarity is a trademark of fine storytelling.) The swap is defining the way you present and inform tales your patrons will care about, reasonably than merely creating extra content material.

For a extra in-depth look, take a look at Shane’s storytelling course that outlines the science of nice tales, the weather of efficient storytelling, and far more.

#2 – Introduce your viewers to new characters.

Content is totally in all places. And belief in advertising—amongst customers and your C-suite—is low. As a consequence, patrons are trying to these they know or these they think they know for insights, solutions, and proposals. And this implies there’s by no means been an even bigger alternative to companion with different “storytellers” to add new dynamics to your content material.

“In order to tell a compelling story, you have to be immersed,” Ursula Ringham states. “Bring empathy and understanding, convey objective, and produce perception—the latter of which influencers can definitely assist with.

When you co-create content material with influencers, you not solely present influential consultants with a medium to share beneficial insights, however you can even present your viewers with a mixture of views—considerably upping your storytelling capabilities and credibility.

“Partnering with an influencer allows you to highlight your brand’s own existing narrative in a new way, so that you can reinforce the proof points you really want your customers to know,” Whitney Magnuson, Global Head of Social Media and Influencer Programs for IBM, informed us not way back.

Partnering with an #influencer permits you to spotlight your model’s personal present narrative in a brand new approach, to be able to reinforce the proof factors you actually need your clients to know. @whitneymagnuson @IBMSystems Click To Tweet

#three – Steer away from fantasy or fiction.

With belief in advertising low, authenticity and transparency are more and more important. As my colleague Nick Nelson so eloquently mentioned:

“Storytelling backfires when it strikes people as false or disingenuous. Share real anecdotes and back them with third-party evidence or quotes. Telling hard truths, even if it means acknowledging a shortcoming in your business, can be tremendously beneficial in the long run. Even more than being true to the facts, you must be true to yourself, and your brand.”

Boom.

Storytelling backfires when it strikes individuals as false or disingenuous. Even greater than being true to the info, you should be true to your self, and your model. @NickNelson #B2BContentMarketing #Storytelling Click To Tweet

Read: Be Honest Like Abe: How Content Marketers Can Build Trust Through Storytelling

It’s Storytime

The nostalgic story I opened with is greater than a fond reminiscence. It’s a glimpse into who I’m, the place I got here from, and the way I bought right here. It’s my reality. It’s my context. It’s a bit of my story.

Every model has the chance to discover, present, and inform their very own tales. Stories about who they’re, what they stand for, and the way they resolve issues. Stories that convey reality and add context. Stories that resonate and encourage.

So, mud off your model’s previous hand-me-down typewriter and get to work. It’s storytime.

Senior Director of Digital Strategy Ashley Zeckman and Content Strategist Annie Leuman are on the bottom at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego from March 20-22, 2019. And as at all times, you’ll be able to depend on us to ship you first-hand learnings and tales from the convention flooring. Follow @azeckman, @annieleuman, and @toprank on Twitter to get reside updates.



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