We’re facing challenges as marketers and business owners.
The game is changing.
Real-time marketing, instant content. Live video updates with Facebook. You’re just about getting the hang of Snapchat and then another Instagram feature gets introduced that’s exactly the same. Crap. You’ve set up chat bots on your website and are figuring them out on the go. Your voice is getting lost in all the noise. You’re trying anything, everything by throwing the net out wide and hoping.
Hands up if you’ve been there.
*puts a hand up*
So, you know it doesn’t have to be that way.
How do you create a content and communications strategy that’s on point?
We’ve been pretty much stuck on go since we got the internet. This blog doesn’t give you a template or tell you how and what to communicate to your consumer. You’re the expert and I’ll leave that to you.
What this blog will do is give you the tools to find out how to reach your target consumer. At the right place, at the right time and in the right tone.
They are steps I’ve practised and repeated for the past 10+ years of my career. While they can be carried out remotely, I’d advise completing these with your team as a workshop.
#1. Know your consumers.
Every business has diverse consumers, and each one has a personal relationship with your company.
The deeper your insights into your consumers are, the richer your storytelling can be.
Here are a few questions that may help you get started:
- Who are my business consumers?
- What are their similarities and differences?
- How could I segment my consumers?
- Is there anything else consumers would be interested in, if not my business?
Try to create diverse segments. How much you understand them is vital. It will help you understand the stories you can curate and create to inspire.
#2. Understand your consumer journey.
Now that you have clear consumer segments, how can you really step into their shoes throughout their journey?
The usual journey map doesn’t work for my purpose so I’ve designed a separate journey map for a content strategy perspective. Start with a blank canvas, post-its and a few pens.
Your content journey map may take into consideration:
- Need (from a content perspective).
And a few other extra areas such as business need, and behind-the-scene content capabilities. Feel free to tweak the journey map to fit your business and goals. It’s key to remember you don’t just have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ consumer. They are diverse so, create different journeys for various segments. And again, try not to work from personas — connect with your consumer.
By the end of this workshop, you will begin to understand the stages that your consumers travel through. And, it’s within these intricate stages that your business can truly create memorable stories. Sequenced together, these stories can form a complete narrative over their journey.
#3. Choose the right story to tell.
Over the past years of storytelling, the biggest mistake I have seen businesses make is telling a story that they think will be exciting. These have been a combination of:
- Let it be known that ‘Company X’ has received a profit of X% and other updates.
- Companies try to follow a trend that isn’t relevant for their consumers.
- Limiting the stories they tell in trying to become ‘known’ for those things.
Even though there are so many stories to tell, it’s crucial to choose the ones that will create the right impact. It’s not so much a story that will impact your business sales but the story that will provide the greatest value and support to your consumer within that journey.
Why? Because this will lead to a more engaged consumer.
Who might just want to share your story.
Call it the storytelling ripple effect.
#4. Find the people that talk to the people.
Each person within your company has their own connection with your consumer. They experience a different facet of their journey, and they know the right language, tone and need within that facet.
That’s why in storytelling, I ask my clients to bring the people together that make a part of the overall journey. And, I ask their opinion on how to best interact at these stages. Once you have the story you’d like to create, why not invite these team members to co-create it with you.
Through storytelling, you can help them in providing better support. Another thing to remember, the storyteller doesn’t have to be you or your business. Empower your customers to be part of the storytelling. People trust other people they know.
#5. Connect the dots.
“When you see a good friend, you pick up from where you left off.”
It’s a little similar for storytelling.
It’s not a one-off message, it’s small batches of carefully crafted ‘hellos’, ‘how’s it going’ and ‘here, let me help’ packaged and delivered over selected platforms.
This is the stage where you connect the dots between the touchpoint, tone, need, business need, and platform. Then find out where it leads to at the next stage.
In short, this is where you can get really creative — and kick ass with your storytelling.
I hope this article helped you understand the basics of what is needed to plan a storytelling narrative.
If you’d like help in business communications and storytelling drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.