Applying Fiction Storytelling Tips to Content Marketing

Applying Fiction Storytelling Tips to Content Marketing

By Brianne Carlon RushMar 28 /2012

storytelling content marketingContent Marketing strives to intrigue readers, encourage sharing and prompt conversions. To do so, storytelling is eminent. In fact, storytelling is one of the greatest ways to provide content that builds trust. If you are about to dismiss storytelling in marketing, know that it isn’t just for works of fiction. Applying principles of fiction storytelling to nonfiction helps the writer impact his or her audience in a whole new way. Following are a few tips for implementing storytelling into your nonfiction works of content marketing, including (but not limited to) blogs, case studies and eBooks.

  • Make the reader care: A visitor will not become a reader if you do not persuade them to do so. Be alluring, charming or fascinating. Make your topic sexy, liberating or touching. But most importantly, write for the reader. Ask yourself, “Why, as a reader, should I care about this?” In fiction, readers receive a back story for the characters, which makes them care enough to cheer them on through challenges and struggles. In nonfiction, readers care about how you can solve one of their problems, so tell them up front.
  • Make a promise to the reader: In the beginning of your piece, give the reader a promise of value. Clue them in on what the takeaway will be. Or another favorite tactic of fiction writers is to begin with the end. You’ve probably seen this technique used on crime-investigation shows: A shocking crime scene is presented then we shoot to “three hours earlier.” In content marketing, share some sort of promised value with your audience then go back to the beginning and work your way up to that promise.   
  • Make your audience work for it: People are natural problem solvers. Piecing together clues or reaching conclusions on your own is half the fun, so don’t spell out every single detail. Fiction writers often do this when there is about to be an argument or a tough conversation: “Mom, I’ve been arrested…” End scene. When it comes to nonfiction, give the reader just enough information to figure out how the solution relates to them on their own. This “ah-ha” moment will make the reader feel accomplished.
  • Make the audience want to share what they have found: Your writing, whether it is fiction or nonfiction, should evoke a response from your reader, which ultimately motivates them to share your content. Fiction writers have been practicing this for decades; novels such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings provided so much share-worthy substance, the books and their following series became some of the top-selling novels of all time. In nonfiction, play to your readers’ emotions and provide content that is exciting to share.
  • Make sure to remember-these are guidelines, not rules:  When writing, the most important rule is, “Go with your gut.” Would you want to read this content in your free time? Does it entice you? Would you want to share it? If your answers are, “No,” it is likely that your readers will feel the same way.

Content marketing is all about sharing your organization’s story. Take advantage of storytelling to get visitors to your content and not only get them to read it, but to convert and ultimately become a customer. 

Photo credit: Scottish Libraries

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The Author

Brianne Carlon Rush

Brianne works with Fortune 500 clients to strategize digital marketing efforts that help sales teams close deals faster. Additionally, she focuses on Kuno’s sales and marketing alignment and employee empowerment. Prior to Kuno, Brianne helped market OverDrive, the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools, and was the youngest person to be promoted to managing editor position at MacFadden Performing Arts Media in NYC.