Blurring the line between content marketing and storytelling


“Clarity” is the number one word in a marketer’s dictionary. In an industry that doesn’t allow any room for hesitation, especially on the consumer’s part, the marketer’s job is to instill the brand message in a buyer’s mind. So the marketer has to make it clear, straightforward, and laser-focused. However, as technology transforms the way consumers think and decide, there are instances wherein, perhaps, it’s better that readers cannot decode the real intentions behind a brand’s marketing effort.

Now, you’re probably thinking that this would confuse consumers even more than they already are, thanks to the content explosion brought by the Internet. Won’t they choose a brand who boldly takes out their marketing guns and relentlessly fires?

Storytelling for brands is a trend automatically strengthened by social media and the customers’ need to feel involved and informed.

In a rapidly changing marketplace, it seems that customers prefer brands they feel connected with. Marketers have come to realize this, prompting them to respond through content marketing, all for fostering relationships between brands and their target customers.

But even this is getting old. There are types of content that consumers quickly dismiss because of their aversion to online ads. This has led us to the era of ad blockers, which is among the biggest enemies of online marketers.

Storytelling, as a content marketing strategy, seems to address the elusiveness of a content that engages readers and drives up conversion at the same time. From the traditional marketing lens, storytelling may be viewed as a weaker variant of other online advertising techniques simply because it doesn’t directly urge consumers to buy. But in reality, the power of storytelling for brands is so pervasive. It’s a trend automatically strengthened by social media and customers’ need to feel involved and informed.


Marketing challenge 1: immerse consumers in your story.


What makes brands’ stories relevant now more than ever is the consumers’ clamor for substantial content. Today’s customers are wiser, more speculative, and more meticulous. There’s a tiny, negligible chance they’ll buy your products just because your Facebook ad says they’re good; rather, they need to see something that supports your claims without the cringe-worthy hard selling tactics they’ve grown tired of.

Stories create an emotional connection with the audience. Whether it’s an anecdote about your CEO, where your product ideas come from, or how you developed your newest innovations—these open up a relationship with your customers. They don’t have to commit to your brand or immediately buy your products to build a connection. By allowing the audience to discover who you are as a brand, you’ve opened the door for powerful possibilities. If you continue to build up on this momentum through content marketing, there’s no telling where the limits are.


Marketing challenge 2: create shareable content.


What’s a tell-tale sign that your content works? In a social media-obsessed world, the answer is simple: shares.

If your content isn’t spreading as fast as you had hoped it would, either your SEO strategy needs updating or your content didn’t satisfy the audience’s standards. If you’re sure it isn’t the former, you need to rethink your content marketing strategy. Consumers won’t share anything that’s obviously just an advertisement. The most dangerous thing you can do is forget that, aside from the element of interest, this tech-savvy audience values authenticity, honesty, and transparency—the ingredients of a shareable piece.



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