Once upon a time... The Inbound Marketing Tale

Storytelling is extremely valuable. Don’t believe me? Try telling that to the box office after the top 3 movies of 2014 grossed over $687,159,612. Stories have been embedded in our culture for centuries for one simple reason – because they resonate with an audience.


Now, how do we use this powerful tool in our marketing? Well, I’m not suggesting you go full fairytale with your B2B content marketing blog and start discussing princesses in tall towers and knights fighting dragons, but rather, invite your blog readers into your business’ world with storytelling.

Anecdotes and flashes to the past where you explain how you struggled with a particular marketing problem are a good way to do this (as long as you mention how your business solved this problem). Additionally, ‘tales from the office’ are interesting, interactive ways of illustrating your user’s journey, and will also go down a treat.

Brooke Hazelgrove, in her article, How to Build an Empire with Inbound Storytelling, explains:

 “We naturally process stories. They’re how we relate the happenings of the day to our friends and family; they’re also often how we impart critical thinking to others. Storytelling is an excellent way to engage an audience on an emotional level, because when done well, stories allow us to sympathise and empathise with characters we might never have otherwise. They involve us as parts of a greater narrative, with the invitation to carry on in this manner. So, if we incorporate storytelling into our inbound marketing, we stand to gain all of these things, as well as the invested interest of our followers as they become part of the story we tell.”

She goes on to highlight that it is important to understand who you are writing for and suggests using your buyer personas as fictional constructs of your ideal customer and blog reader. If possible, you should be illustrating these buyer personas as the heroes of your stories, framing the narrative around them and their problems. To further understand your buyer personas, grab a copy of our Buyer’s Journey eBook and pinch some ideas for content marketing stories:


 The Buyer's Journey


So what to do now? Before you start drafting the first chapter of your epic inbound novel, it’s time to stop and have a brainstorm to define the foundations for your storytelling. Luckily for you, in her article, Brooke has helpfully created a little to-do-list to kick-start your storytelling: 

  1. Decide on your audience. Determine their needs, their interests, their likes, and their dislikes based on customers you already serve.
  2. Investigate the kind of stories your audience takes part in during their day-to-day life. What are their passions? Their problems?
  3. Create stories where your protagonist (the customer) achieves their goals with the assistance of your business.
  4. Embed these stories throughout your marketing - in the copy of your website, your emails - even your social media. Storytelling, to be fully effective, should permeate your brand and your voice to involve the buyer in a greater adventure.
  5. Tell your stories in the way that your buyers will best respond. Text is great; visuals are better. The goal is to invite the buyer to take part.

If you stick to these guidelines then you can easily be on your way to becoming the J. R. R. Tolkien of inbound marketing!

To read Brooke’s full article, How to Build an Empire with Inbound Storytelling, click here.

Topics: inbound marketing content marketing