5 Storytelling Tips for B2B Content Marketing
October 13, 2022
We don’t mince words when we say that B2B storytelling is an art. Telling a compelling story and tempting the audience to buy the product is a very old tactic, and dates way back to the 50s and 60s.
There are a number of narrative strategies to use storytelling in your B2B content marketing to captivate readers and leave them with a lasting impression. In this article, we’ll look at five modern storytelling techniques for content marketing and discuss how you modify them to work with a B2B marketing strategy.
Show, Don’t Tell.
Novelists and other creative writers are all too familiar with this method. “Show, don’t tell” involves creating a vivid picture for the reader rather than simply stating facts. So if you are describing the weather, you would show “the protagonist looking up at the sky and savoring the sunny, lemonade-friendly warmth of a summer afternoon”.
When it comes to B2B content marketing, even though you might not discuss the warmth of the late summer sun, the intent remains the same. You will try to bring your products or services to life with detailed case studies and testimonials by using the show, don’t tell marketing strategy. Here’s a simple change that creates a stronger brand story:
TELL: Your company will benefit from our solution.
SHOW: Our client ABC’s yearly additional revenue contribution increased to $500M after using our solution. In less than two years, they got back their initial investment.
Instead of making a promise that sounds difficult to keep, the second version explains what the reader can anticipate. Additionally, social proof is included, which is very powerful. Because numbers matter, giving concrete figures can clearly demonstrate how the solution you provide can make a difference. In a similar way, the use of precise facts and data points help the reader understand what is written better and why they should be interested.
In-depth, product-focused content like a whitepaper may be beneficial for leads who are farther down the marketing funnel, but the majority of your audience is probably not ready for that. Use stories, statistics, and examples to help people comprehend the advantages you have to offer. The same “show, don’t tell” principle may be used for the blog content that you write. Explain how your product or solution may ease or solve any industry changes, pain problems, or prevalent queries.
Don’t lengthen your content unnecessarily
Not everyone wants to read an epic. Always remember, in B2B storytelling too, less is more, regardless of the purpose of your material. Eliminate the fluff and prioritize quality over quantity. There’s no need to spend hours on a subject that can be briefly discussed in a few paragraphs; a blog article just needs to be as long as the topic warrants. White papers tend to be longer, but it doesn’t mean you have to extend it to twenty or more pages.
Keep your writing succinct and well-organized instead. Simplified, complete, and condensed content is definitely more engaging. Simplifying your information will stop individuals from feeling overwhelmed because most people generally prefer easy-to-understand and easy-to-share content. So keep your wording precise.
Keep your sentences between 15 and 20 words long. Use a concise opening for blog posts or other lengthy content to ensure that viewers understand the subjects you’ll be covering. Adding a “time to read” section where there is more text, also helps improve the storytelling experience.
Keep users engaged with the right content
Everyone is familiar with the 8-second attention span. That statistic may or may not be true today, but it cannot be denied that people are busier than ever. Additionally, there is more content than ever before. What can B2B marketers do to ensure that their audience stays on their website long enough to read a few more blog pieces or perhaps even set up a free demo? Use these narrative storytelling techniques in your B2B content marketing to keep readers interested.
Include visuals: Useful images make your material more engaging and can help readers understand more complicated subjects. Add in a chart if you can make one based on the study you are referencing (or make one yourself). When discussing a product, add images that show close-up views.
Use concise paragraphs: Forget the dated “five-sentence rule” and concentrate on what is most relevant to the information you are delivering. Use of bullet points and content division with strong subheadings and brochure downloads may be appropriate for product pages. To help readers progress through blog postings, keep paragraphs brief.
Use the active voice: It helps to strengthen, direct, and make your writing simpler to read. Passive voice also gets a lower reading score in most websites, so as a person working with content in your team, you must try to write more in the active voice.
Use Powerful Language: Strong language can greatly help your B2B storytelling endeavor. Verbs like “Amplify”, and “Transform” are examples of strong verbs that you can use in your B2B storytelling. Here is a list of 250 powerful verbs you can use to elevate your content.
Despite the fact that it’s important to keep these engagement methods in mind when you develop fresh B2B marketing content, some of them will be overlooked until the editing stage. Spend some time editing and re-examining your content. Consider your audience from their perspective and seek out strategies to keep them engaged in B2B storytelling.
When a story is told, the person telling his/her story is sharing their experience with you. Since storytelling is about shared experiences, it is impossible to reach the customer if they are not empathetic to what you have to say. And to gain empathy, one must give empathy.
And this is the best way to understand customer behavior as well in B2B content marketing. When you use empathy in storytelling, you are addressing the pain points of the customer and are able to monitor customer reactions accordingly.
You can always deploy analytical tools to understand customer behavior and preferences. But this usually provides a superficial understanding. Unless you place yourself in the shoes of your customer, you will never know what makes them tick. The best way to understand and convert customers is to initiate conversations that are empathetic and consistent across all touchpoints.
Make sure these conversations tell a story and are relevant. Once you have the customer hooked on a conversation, keep adding points that beckon the customer to make a purchase. Appeal to both the cognitive and the practical natures of the customer’s empathy.
Use the ‘difficult journey’ archetype
Most of the time a story is about a journey, a long and arduous one that tests the hero and rewards him with a victory much deserved in the end. Examples of such stories are Odyssey, The Seven Voyages of Sindbad, the 12 Tasks of Hercules, and the Lord of the Rings.
But how does this difficult journey archetype translate to the storytelling that is used in B2B content marketing? In this archetype focus on the customer’s journey with you. Convince them that it is a long and difficult journey which will be greatly eased by putting faith in you. Toward this end, do all of the following in the same order:
Understand customer challenges
Make a checklist on all that needs to be done. Focus on it from the point of view of the industry and organization, ask the right questions, and identify the root cause of the problem (if there is one).
Prepare a road map
Make a roadmap on how you will accomplish the solutions to each one of them. Lay it out so the goals are achievable, they are aligned with those of your company, have the necessary impact, and still are modifiable in keeping with customer needs.
Develop tropes and images for stories around customer journeys
Look towards the classics for inspiration. Learn from them how to develop tropes and images for these customer journeys where problems are encountered and solutions are developed by you. Ensure that these journeys end on a positive note where the customer achieved a goal.
Send out storytelling mails congratulating customer for staying loyal
Monitor how the customer has performed. Send out mails that congratulate the customer for repeat purchases that led the customer to achieve those business KPIs.
Weave stories into few of the mails that make clear comparisons, and are transformative and inspiring.
Conclusion: Storytelling Techniques for B2B Content Marketing
A study from Content Marketing Institute proves that B2B content marketers prioritize producing content that educates their audience and raises brand awareness. The most prosperous businesses, however, concentrate on creating long-lasting connections and generating bottom-line outcomes like sales and money. Storytelling is that missing link which can help you get all those results. What are the storytelling methods in your writing process? We would love to know how those strategies affected the success of your content marketing. Reach out to us and tweet your outcomes!