The Problem with Storytelling in Content Marketing
It’s a word that can be heard in all corners of the business, sales, and marketing spectrum these days.
And I get it. I really do.
Since the beginning of time, it has been the power of story that has tied the minds of the human race and connected each of us in incredibly unique ways. It has been passed down from generation to generation. It is what takes simple words and gives them a soul—allowing them to take on a life of their own.
But when it comes to sales and marketing, we all have to remember something very, very important:
Story that entertains, but does not teach, generally, does not sell.
And when all is said and done, businesses must sell.
For example, if you’re doing everything you can to inject the power of story into your content marketing process, but you are not doing it in such a way the reader says, “Ahhh, now I understand what I needed to know” – then we haven’t really achieved anything at all.
Hopefully you see where I’m coming from here.
Over the past year, I’ve seen many businesses, and their marketing departments, obsess over “telling their story” but miss the mark when it comes to truly being of value to their current and potential customers.
Why It’s OK to Sometimes Omit Story
Fact is, sometimes, there really isn’t a story to tell.
For example, everyone knows I used to be a pool guy. And when I embraced content marketing in 2009 and started writing articles and producing videos answering our customers’ questions—I rarely ever used story.
Sure, there were times when I did, but on many occasions, I just spent my efforts on producing an answer that made sense to the reader.
Case in point, when I talked about, “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” I didn’t inject story into the conversation. Why? It wasn’t at all necessary, especially because producing a good (teacher-oriented) answer meant I was going to need at least 800 words to do so. But despite the fact that it’s a story-free piece of content, it has been read over 500k times and generated our company millions in revenue.
The success of River Pools is an incredible story, but what we did to have that success was built on the fundamental keys of obsessive listening to our potential customers and then honestly and transparently answering their questions (teaching).
Each has their place.
My simple point to this little post is this:
The power of story is real. But so is the power of teaching. If you can combine the two, then wonderful. But don’t allow the lack of one hinder the other.
Always be teaching.
Tell stories when you can.
And earn their trust.