Marketing Content Guide: How to tell a story that will engage your audience

by Tijana S.
Vreme čitanja: 7 minuta

Content is one of the most important marketing weapons of today. If you take a closer look around, you will notice marketing content almost everywhere. Some content tells through the story is better, some worse.

Why is some story more successful than the other?

Author James Patterson earned $ 95 million in 2016. He received $ 95 million a year to produce content. People pay to read its contents. On the cover of the book, he notes: “This is fiction.”

We know that hardly anyone has ever thought about it, but after learning the fact stated above, you are now thinking about it: That people will pay a lot of money for great storytelling. The best-selling authors know something. This is something you also need to know if you want your content to become popular.

You probably know that well-written stories stay in the memory for a long time. Namely, storytelling is “ancient art”; and “brand stories” are what connect the audience with a brand. Some people are gifted at passing on stories to others. Whether because of their style or charm, the audience remembers them. However, not everyone is such a talented storyteller, and they need to learn the details of how to become a good storyteller.

That’s why we think every content seller needs to learn how authors structure their stories. People pay money to read some books for hours. Let’s find out why.

3-part structure

Stories have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. These are the basics of a story. It’s no secret. However, it is not any introduction, body and conclusion that will hold someone’s attention or make an unconscious influence.

Introduction

Did you know that many content sellers are successful primarily because of a good introduction? To be honest, most content sellers have a hard time writing an introduction.

Of course, I don’t think their stories have no introduction. It’s about the stories not starting with the introduction that is the basis of the story.

At the beginning of a story, readers expect from the author:

  • To know how things stand
  • To know what the character wants
  • To know what a character needs to realize his dream

If you don’t know how things stand, you can’t see how things change.

If the characters don’t want anything, nothing will pull them to the end of the story. The character will leave if things don’t go well. Desire is what drives the action. Need is what the character requires in order to come to an end. Need is what makes stories.

The story of a content seller is bad from the beginning, if the writer does not understand that what the buyer wants is not what he needs. Customers do not want your product. They need your product to get what they want.

Don’t waste time trying to get readers to want your product.

Show them their beginning. Show them how things stand for them now. Show them that you understand what they want and give them hope that you will give him what they want.

The body

It seems that the marketing story in this part “breaks down” more often than with a bad introduction.

Although most storytellers do not use a strong introduction, they do have it, whatever it is. As for the body, many sellers fail to involve it in the process of gaining customers.

In the body of the content of a story, readers expect the character to:

  • Have a reasonable plan to achieve what he wants
  • Elaborate the above plan (one of the most difficult parts and mostly fails from the first)
  • Go to the goal regardless of all obstacles on the way to the goal

This process must happen at least once for someone to listen to the story at all. Thematically, the body of the story has a clear essential purpose. They talk about what happens when characters try to get what they want without having what they need.

Without a strong body, readers do not believe in the theme of the story. They don’t believe that the product or service from the story is what the character needs. They have no reason to believe that a character cannot get what he wants without it.

The body is where readers learn the true extent of the problem. At first it seemed like a minor problem. However, as readers learn more about it, they learn that it is not that simple. It’s getting more complicated.

A weak body revolves around a weak problem. Develop your problem and you will have a strong body and a strong story.

Finally, it is important that the character here really does his best. The best plan is the one that the character could reasonably have made. It should act resistant. Otherwise, many writers have the so-called easy action, where the problem could be solved by a smarter character, which makes it difficult to identify the audience with the character.

If you don’t know what I mean, consider product ads “as seen on TV” that contain solutions to problems that are mostly easy. These stories identify the wrong or weak problem and therefore have weak protagonists.

End of story or conclusion

Because the most important things happen in the end, many sellers skip other parts of the structure in their stories and only go to the end or conclusion. But a strong end is not strong without a good introduction and body.

At the end of a piece, readers expect to:

  • The problem grew to the point where another wrong step would be complete failure
  • The characters overcome obstacles due to which they did not understand what they needed
  • The characters now understand their needs, which allows them to solve the problem and get what they want
  • A new world was created because there was a change

Guidelines for good content marketers

A story in which the character knows what he needs, and then he doesn’t succeed in that, so he can’t solve the problem and doesn’t get what he wants – this story is a genre of tragedy.

Also, there are good stories in which the characters learn that what they wanted prevents them from getting what they need, and it turns out that the desire was not so important after all. These alternative story structures can have a strong emotional impact, but you should avoid them in content marketing.

Now I will not elaborate on how the characters overcome the problems on the way to the goal. Sellers understand these things well. Instead, I focus on two things.

First, the finality of the problem is – the ticking of the clock, the point of no return, the inevitable sense of urgency. I’m not talking about imposing a limited time offer on a customer. I’m talking about the point where the problem got out of hand. I am talking about establishing the fear of real and complete failure.

Secondly, it is crucial to investigate how things have changed now that the problem has been solved. The writer should compare the parts where things ended with the part where things started. If the writer does not have a strong contrast between the beginning and the end, there is no story.

That’s all you need to know about good storytelling, isn’t it? No.

I still haven’t discovered the secret, because of which readers can’t drop a book, the secret because of which people pay for some content.

The secret is in…

The secret is above all in uncertainty.

Predictability is the enemy of uncertainty. But unpredictability alone is not nearly enough. For uncertainty to succeed, you need both uncertainty and anticipation.

The first way to build uncertainty is to do it directly. You should say that you know what the solution to the problem is, but don’t say right away what it is, but keep the listener in suspense.

How best to apply uncertainty in contact marketing content?

Well, first of all, uncertainty should not be the only thing someone uses to get someone to listen to him.

Second, change your format. You are used to thinking that you should state the problem and the solution in the introduction, and then give additional arguments. It is not always the path to success, yes, only rare stories go through with this structure.

People mostly read various contents because they learn the problem quickly, but they don’t know what the solution will be until the end.

An alternative structure is to present problems, present supporting arguments as answers to smaller related questions, and then finally put them all together and it all makes sense.

Is this always the best way to do it? No. But that obviously keeps people engaged on another level. And this is basically why the audience loves your story.

There is another form of uncertainty. Here is how the famous director Alfred Hitchcock described it:

There is a clear difference between uncertainty and surprise, but still many constantly confuse the two. I’ll explain what I mean.

We are now having a very innocent little conversation. Suppose there is a bomb between us under this table. Nothing happens, and then suddenly, “Boom!” An explosion is heard. The public was surprised, but before this surprise they saw a completely normal scene, with no special consequences.

Now, let’s take a situation of uncertainty. The bomb is under the table and the public knows about it, probably because they saw that an anarchist had placed it there. The public is aware that the bomb will explode in an hour and that there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that there are 15 minutes left until the explosion. In these conditions, the same harmless conversation becomes fascinating because the public participates on the stage. The audience longs to warn the characters on the screen: “You shouldn’t talk about such common things. Below you is a bomb that will explode! ‘”

This form of uncertainty is based on a “superior position.” The audience knows something the characters don’t know.

At first it seems that this is contrary to the above definition of uncertainty. Why would the audience wonder what would happen next if they were told something the characters didn’t know, like the fact that a bomb would explode?

If you think about it a little, it will become clear to you. The audience may know that the bomb will explode, shouting, hoping that the characters will get up and leave, but they do not know if the characters will escape.

With that understanding of uncertainty, we will ask you one last question.

How would you feel if you could tell a story that would make the audience yell at your character, hoping that he or she will use your product before it’s too late?

The least but not last

If you have written a story according to the above rules, it is time to start the adventure of native advertising. By clicking the HERE button you can register on the Native Media platform for advertisers. In case you have another question, or something is not clear to you, there is chat support in the lower right corner of the site.

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