If you're a B2B business, don't discount storytelling in your marketing efforts.
Regardless of the industry, all companies have a good story to tell. Compelling stories humanize brands and allow them to connect with their audience on a more emotional level.
When marketing to other businesses, companies often forget that their target buyers are human beings who typically base their decisions on their emotions. Furthermore, 50% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase from a brand if they can connect emotionally with it.
Storytelling is a powerful strategy that can help businesses create content that appeals to buyers' emotions. Here are five tips content marketers can use to tell their brand's story.
1. Show, don't tell.
The concept of "show, don't tell" uses visuals, actions and emotions to convey a story. A vivid picture or video is far more compelling than a basic description and allows audiences to experience the content more fully. Companies can say their solution will help a business, but potential customers need to see it before they believe it.
You can bring your product or service to life with specific client stories and examples and show audiences why they need your solution. Google's AdWords Stories, for example, is a video series that highlights small businesses ito convey the significant impact of using AdWords. In a short video, Google tells the inspiring story of how a small deli scaled to a $14 million national mail-order business with the help of its web advertising service. Using a compelling narrative from the co-founder, behind-the-scenes employee shots and customer testimonials, Google illustrates the restaurant's rise to success and makes its customer the hero of the story.
Providing a revenue number further supports your company's service. Every business cares about how a product or service can impact their bottom line. Providing factual information such as revenue numbers, statistics and data gives audiences something to hold on to after they've interacted with your content.
2. Look for stories within the company.
Employees telling a brand's story humanizes the company. Employee-curated stories also allow your business to showcase its company culture while increasing employee engagement.
Microsoft, for example, established the importance of brand storytelling by hiring a chief storyteller and developing Microsoft's Story Labs in 2010. This role is responsible for extracting and curating stories from all areas of the company. From audio creative directors to video game developers, Microsoft's Story Labs highlights employees across all departments.
People like to do business with other people. In-depth profiles feature the unique individuals behind a massive corporation such as Microsoft. Allowing employees to tell a brand's story creates transparency and authenticity while bringing team members together.
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3. Let customers tell the story.
Rather than recruit storytellers from within the company, businesses can allow customers to tell their story for them. Similar to a case study, you can ask your top customers to discuss their success with your company's product or service. Success stories are compelling – so much so that 90% of buyers who read positive customer success content claim it influenced their purchasing decisions.
Salesforce, for instance, features customer success stories with its Trailblazer Spotlight. The technology company not only features businesses that have had success with its product, but it spotlights individual customers through interviews and fun facts. This type of brand storytelling allows audiences to see a company's impact on a business level as well as a more personal, individual level.
Kickstarter is another example of a company that makes its users' stories their own. Behind every project, there's an inspiring customer success story that the crowdfunding platform has helped to create.
4. Add interest with visuals.
Businesses, especially more technically focused ones, can use visuals to keep their audience interested. You could share a screenshot of a product interface when discussing a solution, or add in a chart when citing a study. These types of visuals give audiences more detail and context, helping them better understand your company's story.
For instance, General Electric posts stunning photos and videos on its Instagram profile that show how complex projects have an impact on everyday life. Combining fascinating imagery with detailed captions, GE balances showing and telling to make even the most technical topics more relatable.
5. Provide opportunities for engagement.
Customers should be the focal point of every story. It's essential to consider how you can align your content with your customers' goals and objectives. Great B2B storytelling does not lead with a sales pitch. You should give your audience a reason to engage and connect with your company.
For example, Intel partnered with Toshiba to create a series of short videos called "The Beauty Inside." The interactive film made technology more relatable and gave the audience a chance to play a leading role in the story. The video was a hit, receiving more than 70 million views and winning an Emmy award. You should look for ways to involve the audience in your storytelling when possible to increase engagement.
B2B content marketing done right
There are many ways businesses can use storytelling in their B2B content marketing efforts. When done right, storytelling differentiates a company's content, positions the brand as an industry leader and appeals to emotions. Well-done storytelling can help your business differentiate itself as the content landscape becomes increasingly competitive.