Content marketing: the art of corporate storytelling
I have never regretted my choice to study communication. I studied what I love and today I can do what I love. I was influenced by the film All the President’s Men, a 1976 production with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, which dramatises Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's investigation of the Watergate scandal.
The movie is probably one of the most highly mythologized episodes in the history of journalism and its powerful and heroic story changed my life.
Storytelling is persuasive and moves people. The desire to share as much as to consume stories appears to be just as instinctive. We tell stories during our whole life and there is not a day on the entire planet that is not touched by a story.
Storytelling existed long before written history
The most ancient form of storytelling has been discovered in 1940 in the Lascaux Caves in the Pyrenees Mountains in the south of France. It is a number of cave paintings that date back to sometime between 15000 and 13000 B.C. and it is about rituals and hunting practices.
The telling of stories has changed forms drastically through the ages going from cave paintings, to narrative and films. Stories explain who we are, where we are coming from, what is important to us and where we are going to.
Content marketing is not new
Content marketing exists more than hundred years. The very first example of corporate storytelling we have is John Deere’s The Furrow magazine. For farmers, it is something like the agricultural version of Rolling Stone. It was published for the first time in 1895. The magazine was produced not just only to sell products, but also to educate farmers on new technology. and how they could be more successful in business.
The Michelin guide - now with the red iconic cover - can be considered as the first European corporate storytelling example. For the first edition in 1900 nearly 35,000 copies were printed. It contained useful information including maps, instructions for repairing and changing tires, and lists of hotels and petrol stations.
The content marketing revolution
During the last few years, the words content marketing have become buzzwords in the corporate business and the media. Content marketing is the art of producing and disseminating relevant and useful content to attract, entertain and engage a clearly defined target audience in order to promote products or services.
Organisations that realise the influence clients have in shaping brands will succeed. And those who actively engage in conversations with them will consolidate their reputation and earn trust.
However, content marketing is about more than just writing articles for the corporate web site. It is about being relevant, informative and useful, and providing added value to your stakeholders.
The purpose of content is to tell a story that attracts and engages your audience.
By following the next steps you will discover how effective storytelling can be in building your brand and boosting sales:
1. Create a content strategy
It’s not enough to create just some content. You need a strategy in order to weave it together and promote it across different channels. Strategic content serves your business goals. If you don’t have the human resources to create a strong strategy, working with an external consultant or agency can help.
Successful conversations are more about listening than about talking. There are different ways to listen to your stakeholders. One of the most interesting methods to consider is via social media, because social listening allows us to understand audiences at scale
3. Make your content memorable and engage with your stakeholders
Produce content that is interesting or entertaining and is worth your audience’s time. This is hard for some companies to do in-house. To really take your content marketing to the next level you need to frequently stand out by providing useful content that your stakeholders respond to.
4. Provide added value
The easiest way to earn someone’s attention is to offer real value. The art of creating added value starts with the ability to see your business through the eyes of your customers. Find out what is important to your stakeholders and how your product or service can benefit them. How it can solve everyday problems.
5. Be yourself
Authenticity is something that more organisations are starting to incorporate into their marketing strategies. In Greek “authentikos” means original, genuine, or authentic.
Authenticity gives your brand personality, which is vital. Whether your brand image is official or amusing make sure it is authentic.