Telling great stories is the age-old way of building trust. Stories have been around since the beginning, and we know that even the earliest human beings figured out that effective storytelling was the best way to pass on information that was crucial for them to survive. Storytelling originated with visual stories (such as cave drawings or hieroglyphics) and then shifted to oral storytelling - stories that were passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation. These stories created an emotional connection between people, but they were also crucial to the survival of our ancestors.
10,000 years later, and we still have great stories to tell - this time through the internet, which has become the easiest publishing pipe that we could have imagined. Technology created a way for us to utilize all forms of storytelling through the years: visual stories in photographs, spoken stories in videos and audio recordings, and written words on blogs and profiles. It’s easier than ever to share your story with the world - especially since the birth of mobile accessibility, social media and digital tools.
The time of unilateral, single-threaded, non-personalized mass messaging is over. Why? Here is the hard truth: your customers don’t care about you - they care about themselves. and here is another truth: this is a super natural way to think. Even though we, as the company, think we have the next revolutionary idea, something that we believe could really change the world - people really don’t care about it. But we don’t seem to get it. As marketing tactics have become less effective, businesses have responded by creating more and more promotional content - which will never help us reach our desired results.
And even when we want to create valuable content for them - we create content about us, for us. And is it working?? Hell no.
Content creation is all over your business: it’s not just marketing - it’s also sales, customer support, communication, product development and even R&D. Today anyone can be a content creator, a writer, a storyteller. It’s not even about the length or the medium anymore - you can be a great storyteller with a 10 sec video or a 280 character status update. And this is exactly what businesses do today - as you can see clearly in the table attached. Organizations of all shapes and sizes are using content marketing to attract and retain customers as much as they can.
Source: Content marketing Institute/MarketingProfs
But to make it work, to survive, and to thrive, we have to market differently. The only way to make content marketing really work is to build a real emotional connection that provides a real value to your audience. And it’s hard. Because it is so much more challenging (but necessary)to prioritize our customer’s desirable content over our desirable content. To understand deeply what content will help them with their big challenges and pains, without talking or thinking about ourselves (as a company) at all.
So here is our next challenge - to understand what is the right way to build an emotional connection that includes that deep value we want to give to our customers. Any ideas?