Once Upon a Time — the legendary entrance into worlds full of magic, wonder and content marketing? Yes, my dear readers, it is true. It is said that a good tale lies in good content marketing. A strong, compelling story will attract your audience and make them more interested in your content.
According to Jonathan Gottschall via Fast Company, author Peter Guber writes that, “Humans simply aren’t moved to action by ‘data dumps,’ dense PowerPoint slides, or spreadsheets packed with figures. People are moved by emotion.” Story evokes emotion; therefore, good content marketing tells a memorable story. But there is still a formula in telling a story while creating solid, informative content that is useful to your audience.
Cinderelly Cinderelly, Night and Day It’s Cinderelly
The first thing you want in your content is a good opening line and introduction to hook in your audience. Let’s look at Demian Farnworth via Copyblogger who suggests creating images in your opening sentence. By creating images with your words, your audience is able to use their imagination and paint a picture themselves of the atmosphere you’re trying to create. Farnworth suggests using active verbs, concrete nouns, and introducing the five senses: sight, touch, smell, taste and sound.
This is exactly what happens in the opening line of, “The Work Song,” in Disney’s “Cinderella.” This first line paints the picture of an overworked woman at the mercy of her stepmother and stepsisters. She’s so overworked that she has no time to even dream about the dress she wants. What works in this iconic song is that it’s sung in the point of view of the only creatures who feel sorry for her: the mice.
This brings in another point from Farnworth: evoking emotion. “As a copywriter you don’t want emotion to be an afterthought,” he says. “You must carefully plan and manufacture emotion.” If you listen to the song it’s got a catchy beat as the mice sing about the ridiculous amount of work Cinderella has to do. To rectify it, they finish the dress that Cinderella so desperately wants. At this point, the audience is rooting for the little animals. Cinderella’s life is unfair, which is illustrated in the lyrics: “Make the fire. Fix the breakfast. Wash the dishes. Do the mopping.” But the tune is upbeat and positive because of what the mice are doing in the scene: sewing her dress. This creates dual emotions of, “I wish Cinderella could catch a break,” and, “Yay! The mice are helping her!”
The Wicked Stepmother
Lee Odden via Top Rank Blog explains that every B2B company has a story to tell. “The challenge is in figuring out how to share that story in a way that aligns with the needs and priorities of prospects and customers.” The answer to this is, of course, making your story compelling. However, you need more than a good story. “It’s about making the story so compelling that it elevates perceptions of value and urgency.”
Let’s look at Cinderella again. Cinderella is overworked, yes, but why? Cue the Wicked Stepmother, Lady Tremaine. She is the reason behind the story. When it comes to storytelling, especially in content marketing, there needs to be a reason behind what you’re talking about. If you simply told the story of a woman who works hard that wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the audience. Eventually they’re going to ask why, so they need a reason to become invested in Cinderelly. If there is no why they’re going to wonder why they’re even bothering to listen. Telling a story is good, but having a purpose behind the story is better. This comes full circle when Cinderella’s pink dress is destroyed, she’s left home alone to cry while the villains go to the ball; then the Fairy Godmother grants her a night to remember that leads Cinderella to Prince Charming — temporarily. This plays on all of the components mentioned. Now the audience is invested with Cinderella and are hoping that she gets her fairy tale ending.
And They All Lived Marketingly Ever After
Now comes the conclusion, which brings everything together to create a satisfying ending for your audience. And as said in a previous blog post, “Your conclusion is just as important as your beginning, and if it misses the mark, your entire story can — and will — suffer for it.” The conclusion is here to tie a neat — or frazzled — ribbon around your content, whether it works to summarize your point and bring it home or reveal a new discovery made along the way. A properly construction conclusion will make your audience happy or, even better, create discussion among them to keep your point going.