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Tell Me a Story: How to Build Content for Engagement

A long time ago in a land far away, there was a young nobleman who… well you get the point. I’ve recently been struggling with trying to think of ways to get more and more interaction and “buy in” for our respective client base. To be honest with you, it’s been both an enlightening and frustrating experience. As a marketer, I care deeply about the quality of the suggestions I provide to clients and furthermore the success of those suggestions. With this in mind, I recognized that it’s possible to make me happy with results but never complacent…there’s always more opportunity out there but how do I get that opportunity to the clients’ digital doorstep (website)? I decided to do some consideration about how I interact with brands and businesses online to try and figure out how I can help my current and future clients.

I started my journey by considering where I spend most of my digital time. This tends to lean towards Gmail, a few respective blogs (I’ll cover a few below), as well as two main social media platforms (Facebook and Pinterest). Once I nailed down these three areas of consideration I tried to figure out why I devote my time to these categories. Let’s look at the breakdown below.

Gmail/Blogs

I use this to deal with personal email but I also greatly enjoy getting updates from the various blogs/newsletters that I subscribe; some of these are Think with Google, theSkimm and Huckberry.

Why? Looking at these examples I noticed that they all provide me with valuable information, which I appreciate, but they also do a good job of entertaining while informing, which they do through telling a story.

Social Media

Oddly, I use two social media platforms frequently that may surprise some folks: Facebook and Pinterest.

Why? I mainly use Facebook as a way to kill time, wish the occasional birthday and get a sense of what’s going on in my social circles. For Pinterest, it’s slightly different. I definitely use this platform to kill time, but with a purpose. I’m looking for things that captivate me whether that be a new woodworking project idea, images of 60’s era Mustangs or camping/outdoor destinations.

What Do They Have in Common?

Much of their value is based on telling me a story (some with or without words), and the value is increased if I can insert myself into the story. I realized that in my mind there is a desire to be something more or completely different than the way I view myself in the real world. This could range from being a better husband to being more financially responsible (or less depending on your value of an old rusty car purchase) or even simply being more “outdoorsy.” Whatever the case may be, the easier it is for me to build myself into a story that you’re telling me, the more likely I am to become intrigued by your business or brand and ultimately become a potential customer.

So how does this work with marketing? Simple consider the website content, the copy content, any images or text and ask yourself…is this engaging? Can your readers put themselves in the shoes (or the shirt or the car) of the story? And does that trigger some sort of emotional response and/or desire?

So where do you start? Start by considering what interests your reader base. Let’s say you sell one of the lines of “hardcore” built coolers. There’s nothing wrong with having the stats of those coolers but what about the purpose of those coolers? Are you going tailgating for an extended period of time, camping in the wilderness for a week straight or do you live in an area where electricity isn’t yet a thing (or at least know of someone using your product where this is the case)? Fantastic! Write about it and how your product helps the participants and as a reminder, visuals never hurt anyone!

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