By: Abdulhadi Hafez
And I don’t mean fairy tale stories like Cinderella and Prince Charming. I am talking about content in the form of storytelling! According to Chrisitian Haas, the executive creative director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, advertising in 2012 will be more than ever about using technology to create and share content.
But not any kind of content! And how you write the content also makes an impact as well. The content needs to be relevant to your industry and target audience, practical enough to be applied within the same day of reading it, rich enough to be recognized as being insightful, and last but not least, it needs to be in the form of exciting and vibrant stories to put people on the edge of their seat while reading it, and to inspire them so much that they will click that retweet, or +1, or like button without hesitation!
When I say content, I mean articles, posts, infographics (newest method of data visualization), and even videos and images-don’t forget that a picture is worth a thousand words! Each piece of content needs to tell an intriguing story that relates to your target audience and that provides some sort of value. However, the most popular form of content that will help your business generate leads and sales, is by far articles and blog posts. Can you give us an example you may say.
As far as articles go, once again, I don’t like to brag but this very blog is an example. We are an advertising agency and our audience are advertisers, so we decided to start a blog (using the free-based blog platform Tumblr) so we can every now and then provide useful content related to the advertising and digital media industry, in the hope of attaining leads out of it (hey, at least we’re honest about it!)
I mean, come on! Why else would we be putting so much time and effort in running a blog and other social media channels? Time is money people! And let me break it to you, social media is about making money too! Hubspot came out with a study revealing how social media is for generating leads and sales, with blogs having been cited as the biggest sale generator, stating that 46% of the participants in the study claimed to have acquired a customer from their company blog. Sweet!
Hey, nobody is holding you guilty for writing content for the sake of generating leads, the intention is irrelevant (plus it’s hidden, only God can judge you). You don’t need to write content with the pure intention of helping people, it needs to make business sense for you. It’s the kind of content you write and how you write it, that matters.
Your content therefore must:
1) Be relevant to our industry and target audience
If you’re an advertising agency then write about advertising (and anything related such as digital media, marketing, PR, etc.)
2) Provide valuable content and practical tips that can be applied today
Don’t write for the sake of writing or to say that you’re writing. Do actually provide valuable information that will help your target audience. And that valuable content must have practical tips that can be applied, not just filler words and theoretical junk. Provide tips, hints, strategies, tactics, whatever to get the engine up and running.
3) Be in the form of an intriguing story
You need to write the content as if you’re writing an intriguing story: An intro that will incite the visitors to read the whole article, suspense throughout to keep them interested, a climax to have them glued to the screen, and images to feed their inner crave for visuals.
4) Include images that strike curiosity
Images are huge in writing articles or blog posts, especially the first one that your readers see. It should be an image that strikes curiosity. For example, have a look at the Cinderella image on the top for instance. I bet you many people will scroll down just to see what the correlation between advertising, lead-generation, and Cinderella is. Even if they have no interest in the topic whatsoever!
5) Introduce some sort of new, or creative idea
Don’t just write about how businesses need to adopt social media and provide proofs for how important social it is for example. There are millions of articles that say just that. Provide a catchy headline and present creative ideas that will make your story stand out from others. Talk about a controversial topic such as how Google Plus is threatening the future of Twitter for example. The idea is to present a new idea or thought that either nobody or a few people have presented before.
6) Tell the story as if you’re telling it to your friends and family
We communicate best to those who we love the most, and who do we adore more than our family and friends? When we speak to them, we speak sincerely and with the use of humor, compassion, and we’re not afraid to voice our opinion nor hide our true personality.
We also use language that they understand and relate to very well. This is how we’re able to retain their attention and get along with them well. Why not treat your readers and potential customers like the people you adore most and show them your authentic self? Besides it will make your story even more compelling and exciting when you tell it from the heart with the language that you use with your loved ones.