Two golden rules of content marketing

Make this the year you really get to grips with the content you produce to support your brand. In all the discussion of channels, audiences, personalisation and influencers, there are two key techniques that apply across all content marketing.

Rule one: tell stories

If there’s one thing to pick up from the 2017 Content Marketing Awards, it’s the power of storytelling.

The big winners on the night were Geelmuyden Kiese. They created a film called The Truck Driver’s Mother for the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority.

This film managed to achieve the holy grail of content marketing. It presented a complex, potentially dull, and yet important message to a disengaged and diverse audience. All too often brands mistake content marketing for corporate communication. This results in the talking head films that are used to explain complex corporate messages.

In reality, the human brain engages and better understands a message when a story is involved. Think about how films work: there’s a solid framework of beginning, middle and end, alongside rounded characters and dialogue. This way the message and theme of the film is communicated and the audience enjoys and understands it.

Storytelling is just as vital for effective communication in content marketing.

Geelmuyden Kiese showcased it perfectly in the above film, focusing on a Polish truck driver and his mother on an epic journey through Norway. However, this method can be effective across platforms.

In print, whether it’s an internal magazine, a customer newsletter or a glossy member’s magazine, make sure stories take centre stage. Have you introduced a new policy in the workplace? Great, but tell the readers why it was introduced and how it will impact them. Are you launching a new product? Great, but how does it make the customer feel, and why was it launched? Who was involved in its design?

Whether you use words, still images, film or even sound, make sure you put storytelling at the centre of all of your brand communications.

Rule two: create a community

All brands have customers. But this year, why not take a fresh approach to how you consider your end users?

In many instances, there is a community around the brand that can be tapped into. Our recent research revealed that 50% of 24-34-year-olds would remain loyal to a brand if they were part of a community.

According to Dr Charles Seger from the University of East Anglia School of Psychology, this desire to belong to a community is a basic psychological need: “People will stay loyal to brand communities that provide a unique experience, allow us to express our self-concept and engage us with a meaningful community of like-minded individuals.”

Content marketing has a vital role to play in this sense of belonging. This applies whether it’s an email newsletter to a targeted selection of like-minded customers, a magazine for a member’s group, or a bespoke online TV channel providing live streamed events. They all help to foster a feeling of belonging and encourage brand engagement and sales. After all, our research showed that 40% of those surveyed would spend more solely because they were part of a community.

 

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We also have a report about brand communities and content, you can download our free report The Benefits of Brand Communities from our website.