Marketing buzzwords can quickly become tiresome.
Over the years, though, in a sea of overused jargon and uninspiring phrases, one ever-popular buzzword still managed to capture our attention: storytelling.
As lovers of all things content, it’ll come as little surprise to learn that we love a good narrative here at Paragraft.
And we’re not alone.
Brand storytelling has long been a popular content marketing tool for businesses big and small.
Well, the human brain is wired to respond to a well-crafted narrative. This makes storytelling one of the most effective means of capturing an audience’s attention, staying in their memories and forging longer-lasting relationships with them (we’ve covered this in more detail in this handy blog post).
The benefits of storytelling as a powerful content marketing tool, then, quickly begin to speak for themselves.
To celebrate National Write Your Story Day this month, we’ve decided to delve deeper into how to master the art of storytelling for your brand. So, without further ado...
Example: The Paragraft brand story
The rise of digital marketing in the 21st century brought with it opportunity galore. As fads, trends and best practices continue to come and go, one reliable constant ruled the digital marketing landscape: content is king.
Fast-forward to 2020 and the world was looking unrecognisable. In the face of a global pandemic, professional landscapes across each industry were adapted and reformed to cater to a more secluded and remote world.
Amidst all the madness, businesses still needed content. More to the point, brands needed more content to ensure they continued to engage their audiences in a switched-off world.
Recognising the impact that a lack of resource, knowledge or creative flair can have on a business’s content production, Paragraft had one fundamental aim: to supply the strategic, creative content brands need at a time that suits them.
In an increasingly fast-paced and dynamic world, Paragraft created a monthly subscription model that allowed businesses to outsource content of all types and for all purposes at the click of a button.
But it didn’t end there.
Creating content on demand was only half the battle. Paragraft needed to create the highest quality content on demand.
And so they curated a team of writers. But these weren’t your everyday content creators. Paragraft searched far and wide to build a team of content specialists who’ve mastered the art of content production, from creative innovation to strategic expertise.
And so began the Paragraft story.
While the world slowly edges its way back to some sense of normality, Paragraft’s flexible, best-practice approach to content production ensures brands can keep sourcing magnetic content at a moment’s notice - now and well into the future.
See how we did it?
Creating a powerful brand narrative doesn’t mean having to get your hands on any secret recipe or magic spells. It simply means utilising the guiding principles of good storytelling - specifically, conflict and resolution.
Let’s start with the conflict.
Building an initial conflict into your narrative is of the utmost importance, as it establishes meaning and purpose. Without conflict, a story is unlikely to engage - after all, how else will your narrative resonate on an emotional level?
The trick here is to be transparent and authentic in the conflict you establish - meaning it should always be rooted in non-fiction. Sure, your once-upon-a-time fairytale might be a fun read, but it’s key to understand that this isn’t the primary purpose of your narrative.
To forge authentic customer-brand relationships through narrative, your story must always effectively portray who you are. The best way to do this? Tell a story that’s true.
With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at the conflict we established in our brand narrative above.
Ours was simple: brands needed a way of ensuring a reliable flow of content that remained consistent in quality and quantity, regardless of industry variables.
But that sounds a bit dry, doesn’t it? Time to don your creative cap...
To add a little razzle-dazzle to your conflict, turn to tried and tested narrative techniques such as setting.
For example, in the brand story above, we effectively set the scene for our conflict by describing the backdrop before which this conflict emerged.
To do so, we used adjectives such as ‘secluded’ and emotive language such as ‘madness’ - this heightens the sense of realism and emotional resonance in the reader, immediately establishing a bond.
Of course, the powerful narrative requires more than conflict - there needs to be a resolution to that conflict, too.
When it comes to crafting brand narratives, your resolution should incorporate two fundamental narrative techniques: narrative structure and the development of your protagonist.
Taking it back to basics, your resolution enables you to distinguish a clear beginning, middle and end to your story.
Of course, your resolution should be placed at the end of your narrative. It’s the happy ending that ties the story together, the moral of the story, the ultimate message.
With that being said, it’s important to consider what you want this ultimate message to be.
In the example above, our resolution is the emergence of Paragraft. Why? Because we demonstrated how we overcame the initial conflict: we “created a monthly subscription model” and selected a “team of content specialists who’ve mastered the art of content production”.
This brings us nicely onto the role of your protagonist. In any brand narrative, the protagonist will be - you guessed it - your brand!
Pay close attention to the journey your brand takes throughout the story. Pulling inspiration from everything from childhood fairytales to Greek mythology, your protagonist (brand) should be positioned as the hero of your narrative.
Champion the art of showing rather than telling. Communicate the ways your protagonist brought resolution to your conflict. Not only will this bolster the authenticity of your narrative, but it’s also a super-effective way of establishing the core identity of your brand.
Returning to the above example one final time, see how our steps to conflict resolution effectively communicated the central ethos of our brand: versatility, convenience and value.
Crafting a successful brand narrative doesn’t mean having to channel the spirit of Hemingway. It’s about channelling the building blocks of traditional storytelling to engage and inform your audience. Need a helping hand putting pen to paper? Get in touch to learn how we can help today.