The Heart of Content Marketing: Storytelling


How about to start with a commercial?

We will turn back to this video after a while but first, let’s clarify a couple of subjects about Content Marketing for falling some concepts in place. Content Marketing practices need to have three well-defined fundamental steps for achieving their goals:

1- Specifying the Target Audience
2- Creating the Appropriate Content for Target Audience
3- Circulating the Content in Appropriate Platforms

Now let’s materialize our example: We want to increase the sales of two different face creams. Let Product A be a cream that can be used after shave, and Product B be an emollient cream for which we think that it beautifies the skin.

Let’s say that we are doing a simple planning such as;
For the Product A:
1- Target Audience:
Men, 16-65 Age range, Turkey
2- Content: An article about “In Daily Shaving Harmful for a Healthy Skin?”
3- Platform: Health magazines, Facebook, Instagram, Web Site Blog

For the Product B:
1- Target Audience:
Women, 25-55 Age range, Big Cities
2- Content: An article about “Do You Want to Have a Smooth Skin even at the Age of 70?”
3- Platform: Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Web Site Blog

The crucial point in this plan is our content. No matter how our target audience is well-selected and our plan has released to digital platforms with a high budget; if our content does not arouse attention towards sales or the brand, the commercial would be unsuccessful.

From Traditional Sense of Commercial to Content Marketing: We Must Create Valuable Content
First of all, we have to understand that being successful with the traditional sense of commercial in digital platforms is out of date. The rules of the game have changed not only in terms of the commercial platform but also in the meaning of the content. It does not make sense hereafter to say “Anyhow 30 second of the person in front of the television is mine, so if I want it, I repeat the name of my brand for 75 times and make memorize my brand at the risk of annoying the viewer”. Likewise, the exaggerated advertisings such as “We are such a good brand” or “We are number one in the world” are also out of date. Because most of commercials in digital media can be opened through the user preference. And the pop-up commercials have a “Close” button in their corners. The methods of forcing the viewers to watch the commercial, imposing, and making a name by irritating do not work in digital media. Hereafter, the era of commercials watched voluntarily by the viewers has begun.

There can be only one reason for the people to open your commercial: You provide a valuable content in the commercial.

The commercial you watched at the beginning of the article tells a story of friendship and it is impossible for the person who watch the first 50 seconds of this one-minute commercial to understand what it is advertising. There is neither a brand nor a product. Positive emotions created with a pleasant and attractive study is associated with the brand. When you watch the commercial, it gives such a feeling at first: There are such beautiful people in this world! Of course, then the brand appears.

The first rule that should not be forgotten during creating a content: Before you, there is an audience who were tired of watching commercials and who would close your commercial in case of your tiniest mistake. So, you should be sincere, you should not hurry, you should give priority to create a pleasant content.

The main method used for a valuable content in recent years is the Storytelling. The reason is simple: A pleasant commercial is forgotten but pleasant stories are remembered.

Everything is Forgotten but Stories are Remembered
I have watched a short film which tells the development of the company beginning from a single branch years ago in a meeting organized by a big cargo company. When the film ended, everybody was strongly applauding and some were crying. What is told was their own story.

In a customer visit, I have met a manager who told the story of the predecessor company which has been inherited from generation to generation. This person told that his father gave him a photograph by saying that “Business life is unsteady, you can lose all I gave to you but never lose this” after delivering the vault keys and cheques and showing the dossiers during handing over the company. Then he showed us the photograph on the wall. A black and white old photograph. His father was playing football with the workers in the yard of the factory; all of them are in joy.

It is been over 20 years since I listened this story but I remember everything from the couch we sat that day to the wearing of the person I met.

I don’t know why but we remember the stories even when we forget the numbers, the statistics, the mottoes or the most striking marketing tricks. While we disremember what we watched even a day after, we remember the stories which make us smile, astonish, excite and sadden us spontaneously and effortlessly. We do not forget the stories maybe because of that they stimulate our emotions or the imaginary connotations of the stories. We can watch the Red Bull commercial again and again -even though we know that it is a commercial- for that it has stories which arouse our interest. The brighter side is that there is also not any trickery here. We spare a part of our time voluntarily to the company for watching a valuable thing. Actually, the truth is obvious: The thing aroused our interest is not the Red Bull but the people jumping from high, the cyclists flying from hills and the surfers grappling with the waves. However, even though it is for advertising, we like the fact the company is appearing before us with a story which arouses our interest instead of having its own way.

Here is the Storytelling method in brief. Your story does not have to be in written. A visual or an animation film can also be used for telling a story.

It will also be helpful to add this; it can be difficult to explain this to those who do not know the Storytelling technique. As a person who witnessed many times how the managers ruin the stories by saying “Let’s do not skip that”, “Let’s shoehorn our slogan” or “Let’s shine our logo here”, I can say that if you are conducting content marketing, your focus should be the “content” in real terms. If you get off your conception of “First content, then brand”, you would lose the game. If the content is not your focus, then this situation would leave a bad impression and break its spell and the viewers lose their confidence to your story. On the other hand, it would be enough to show your brand even for three seconds at the end of a good story.

You should think of the Storytelling technique as a long-term voyage. After a while, you will have an appearing face and you will have stories mentioned among the people or circulating on digital media.