This American Life host Ira Glass
How to Find Your Brand’s Content Marketing Narrative
Using email marketing and social media allows you to not only provide valuable information to prospective customers, but to showcase who you are and what your business is all about.
Sharing a compelling story through those platforms is a memorable and extremely powerful content marketing strategy, especially for prospective customers.
“Narratives are meaningful, remarkable storylines that enable people to easily understand who you are and share why you matter. A good narrative conveys your business purpose, perspective and personality, which needs to be very specific to you,” says Chris Berger of Berger Brands, which provides brand marketing, PR and business development strategy and services to organizations such as This American Life and Public Radio International. “The secret lies in finding your spark and then fanning it into a fire across everything you do.”
Your business’ narrative may be rooted in a founder’s vision. The trick is in distilling what may be a very complex business to its core element. By stripping down a complicated business model or strategy to its very essence, you can find a concept that people can easily relate to or understand.
“You have to find that thread that can be extended across communications and across your business strategy,” Berger says, which allows your vision and purpose to be easily accessible to your clients and prospective clients. Further, it also allows for a consistent and streamlined experience for your readers and prospects.
While that essence — the purpose or vision for your company — is merely a starting point that can be built upon, or evolve with the market, “there’s always a creation story that customers and the market like to hear that helps you understand who you are and why you matter,” he adds. If your target audience resonates with this narrative and message, your brand becomes more memorable.
One example of relating content to the story can be found in the Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Justin Vernon and his band/moniker Bon Iver. “Whenever somebody shares his first album with friends, they say, ‘He wrote it in a cabin in Northern Wisconsin after a breakup,’ and it’s just this beautiful, simple creation story that I think we can all relate to,” Berger says. The story is also tied to the content itself — both the feel of the music and the lyrical content.
Tom’s Shoes, the company that donates a pair of shoes to an impoverished child with every purchase, is a great example of how sharing its story of how it started can make the organization form a stronger bond with its customers. Blake Mycoskie started the company after he did some volunteer work in Buenos Aires and saw children running through the streets barefoot. After he learned of the widespread problem in developing countries, he decided to create shoes similar to those worn by Argentinian polo players and the ones he started wearing after time spent in Argentina.
Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS. Photo courtesy of Tom’s Shoes
Narratives can be particularly effective if you create a tool specifically to solve a persistent problem. That is how Nathan Kontny came up with Draft, a web-based collaboration tool that allows his wife to edit his work without overwriting his master copy.
Branching out from an industry in which you have some expertise can also create a compelling brand story. VerticalResponse was founded by Janine Popick, an industry veteran looking to revolutionize email marketing with products that were more affordable and easier to use than other options on the market.
If you’re struggling to find your business’ narrative, buried somewhere in your companies’ vision, spend some time mulling over some of the questions below.
- If you peel back what your business hopes to accomplish, what is it about what you do that makes you excited to get up in the morning or put in extra time to make your company successful? What is it beyond the goal of making a profit that compels you to do what you do?
- How does this tie into the purpose of your customers? “The trick is getting at the heart of your business purpose and where your customer motivation intersects, because it can’t be all about you,” Berger warns.
- Which aspect of your business is one that people should pay attention to or care about? How would you explain this in a way that’s stripped of jargon or buzzwords?
- How do you differentiate yourself from similar brands? In which ways is your purpose or vision unique?
- How can you weave other people into your narrative? How can you engage customers, partners or even industry experts in the story about your brand?
Once you’ve spent some time contemplating your deepest motivation behind your business and have established a narrative, make sure to use it to streamline all of your communications and tie it into your social media marketing efforts. Having an overarching purpose provides a sense of focus for your content strategy.
This post contributed by guest author, Yael Grauer. Grauer is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and editor. Find her online at Yaelwrites.com.