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The Importance of Storytelling in Content Marketing #MPB2B

shane-snow-mpb2b-2016

Once upon a time …

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …

There once was …

These aren’t just classic fairy tale or movie beginnings. They represent memories. They evoke feelings. They get our minds churning. They signal that an exciting story is about to unfold—and those stories are powerful.

As content marketers, we need to be in the business of storytelling if we want our content to resonate and inspire. As Shane Snow, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of Contently, said during his session Create, Connect, And Optimize Through Storytelling: The New Formula For Content Success at the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum.

“When you engage in a story, your brain lights up.”

We want our audiences’ brains to light up when they experience our content. And at a time when content is absolutely everywhere, weaving a good story can set it apart from the rest. Here’s why:

#1 – We’re programmed for stories.

Stories and the way we react to them is part of our human makeup—dating back to caveman times and evolving to where we are now. As Snow said, stories make our brains light up. Research shows that when people are engaged in a story, there are a number of different parts of the brain that are connected and firing.

#2 – Stories break down barriers.

Stories help us understand each other. They connect us. They can inspire compassion. They can change our attitudes.

#3 – Stories build relationships.

Our human predisposition toward embracing stories, coupled with the connectedness stories give us, helps us build stronger relationships.

To open his session, Snow referenced a recent poll he had conducted. He asked his following to vote on who they would elect as president of the United States: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling or England’s Queen Elizabeth.

The response? Overwhelmingly in favor of J.K. Rowling. Why? Because people felt like they knew her. There was a connectedness there—a relationship had been built.

How Do You Tell Better Stories?

Snow’s framework for content marketing storytelling is simple: Create, Connect and Optimize.

Create: Create content that can tell your audience compelling stories at each stage of the buyer’s journey. At the top, address shared interests and values. In the middle, tell stories about your company and your customers. At the bottom, dive into stories about your products and services. In addition, at each stage, the style of content you create could fall into three buckets: timely, seasonal or evergreen.

Connect: Choose how you will share your content with your audience based on Utilize your owned site and your email list to share content for sure. When it comes to additional tactics such as social media or webinars, make your choice based on whether you’re hoping for brand awareness or conversions.

Optimize: Once you’ve created and connected, you need to find out whether your content is actually effective. Start by looking at engagement metrics to determine where you’re winning and losing. Then take the steps to refine your content is created and shared with people.

“Stories have the potential to unlock changes and kindness, and improve our humanity,” Snow said. “If we think about it this way, we can do a lot of good in the world.”

If you’re attending MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, we’d love to connect. Find us on Twitter at @TopRank, @leeodden, @azeckman, @amywhiggins@leiladlf and @CaitlinMBurgess.


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The post The Importance of Storytelling in Content Marketing #MPB2B appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

Check Also

10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

via GIPHY

#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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