Conformity is the drug with which many people self-medicate.
Nobody wants to be subjected to boring content. If you want to fail at content marketing, approach it with conventionality.
Sadly, with the barriers to publishing across multiple channels and platforms at their all-time lowest, there’s a glut of awful content out there swimming like a school of piranha gobbling up your customer’s concentration.
The war for attention is in full force.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds (in 2000) to 8 seconds (in 2015). This is one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.
Mr. McKee comments on the incessant nature of modern society, remarking that “It’s not so much a shrinking attention span as it is an abbreviated tolerance span—we simply don’t put up with things as much as we used to.”
It’s clear that marketers need to raise their game.
There’s so much competition for recognition that, to cut through the noise, we must devote time and thoughtful creativity to craft strategic and coordinated content.
It’s never been more important to understand your audience’s needs, concerns and desires. But today, the stakes are even higher (and it’s not going to get easier down the road).
The key to growing a legion of fans (and customers) with your content is…
Become a good storyteller.
Ultimately, it’s about how much trust we create through content marketing and good storytelling is crucial.
Stories evoke emotions. They cultivate connections and build trust.
Emotions are a by-product of change. To make an audience feel something, there must be change within the story.
It’s human nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain. People are scared of the negatives in life, but those negatives build an effective and emotional story.
It’s a common mistake made by executives to assume that widespread audiences identify solely with success. Frankly, audiences enjoy hearing about a success story but they connect deeper when they identify with the struggle.
The fundamental essence of good storytelling lies in taking your audience through the journey of a relatable character’s transformation. Customers and employees go through transformations before your eyes.
How can you collect these stories and tell them in such a way that your prospects recognize themselves in them?
Your brand story.
People relate to stories of everyday heroes, particularly the ups, downs, and obstacles that challenge and test our protagonists along the way.
Robert McKee noted the poignant effects of storytelling on business:
“The key is not to brag, not to promise, but to portray the corporation as a company that is struggling against powerful forces, trying to make the world a better place.”
A content driven experience through storytelling
Whether or not you think you’re telling a story, or you’re actively trying to tell a story, a story is happening in the mind of your customers and prospects.
Companies must actively participate in that narrative in a meaningful way. If you can position yourself within the prospect’s story, of which they are always the protagonist, then you have better shot at creating a customer for life.
No one understands good storytelling better than Kevin Spacey. As a non-conformist, he chose roles in films like “American Beauty”, “The Usual Suspects” and “L.A. Confidential” very deliberately. “House of Cards” solidified the “Netflix Model” in the content viewing landscape and Kevin is an integral player in that transformation.
We binge on House of Cards because it’s a fantastic story that pulls us in. Every time a new season is released, it’s like pizza. I sit down to consume it with the intention of taking it slowly and savoring every episode. Then, the next thing I know, it’s 2 am and I’ve devoured the whole thing!
Kevin shared his insights and advice for content creators, whether they be big studios or small businesses, in his Keynote from Content Marketing World 2014.
3 Key Elements of Good Storytelling
1. The key to good storytelling is conflict. Conflict creates tension and tension keeps people engaged with your story.
2. The second key is authenticity. Don’t fall into the trap of looking for keywords or quick hits to boost your rank on Google. Stay true to your brand and true to your voice and audiences will respond to that authenticity with enthusiasm and passion.
3. The third key in good storytelling is the audience itself. The device and the length are irrelevant to the story. It’s no longer about who you know or how much you can afford but what YOU can do and audiences have spoken. They want stories! They’re dying for them, they’re rooting for us to give them the right things. They’ll talk about, binge on it, carry it with them to the bus and to the hairdresser. Force it on their friends…tweet, blog, Facebook, make fan pages, silly GIFs, and God knows what else about it. Engage with it with a passion and intimacy that a blockbuster movie could even dream of and all we have to do is give it to them.
What story do you want to tell? You’re only as good as the material you have.
It’s the risk takers that are rewarded.