The human race thrives on stories. Which would you remember better: a list of facts or a story that weaves those facts into a meaningful narrative? When you write content for websites you must be a storyteller, drawing in readers with compelling marketing content and persuading them to stay awhile.
Most of you are already storytellers; you just forget how to do it when you sit down to write marketing content. You have been so inundated with advice about formatting, fonts, and color selection you lose sight of content as a narrative device.
These 5 techniques for crafting compelling marketing content for websites will guide you back to your storytelling roots.
Know Your Audience
This is at the heart and soul of any writer’s craft. You must know who you are addressing before you can develop content that will be meaningful. Marketers build a buyer persona to provide a specific target, or audience, to directly address.
By knowing your audience you will know what level to write at, where to start, and what type of details to put into the story. This information will change from one step in the buying process to the next but the basic needs of the audience won’t change.
Select Frame and Premise
The frame is the audience’s world view. A strict vegan will have a difference world view from a barbeque aficionado. A 16 year old high school boy looks at the world differently than the 45 year old mother of a 16 year old high school boy. If you know your audience you will know how to present the story so it fits within its frame of reference. Who are you writing to?
The premise is how to tell the story. This is what provides the dramatic tension by delivering the framed story to the audience in a way that draws it in and brings it along for the ride. How can you present the story so it makes logical sense to your target and fits within their worldview?
Determine a Focus
What is the kernel of your story? Boy meets girl? Bo knows baseball? Without a focus a story risks scope creep. Pretty soon you are trying to address everyone at the same time and have lost the momentum of a personalized experience.
You should be able to tell your focus in three words using a noun, a verb, and an object. These words imply what the customer wants.
Create a Character
Stories are always more interesting when they are about someone, preferably someone like your target audience. Your character is your buyer persona expanded to human form. You give it a name and use it to give your story a human perspective.
Example: Bob Businessman received a query from a potential client that would really put his business on the map. But it took him 3 days to put together a proposal and the client went with a company that completed a proposal in just a few hours. Bob wondered if there was a way to streamline his proposal process.
Follow a Dramatic Arc
Stories have a beginning, middle, and end. The dramatic arc drives the narrative forward bringing the reader with it.
- Beginning = Exposition: This is the starting point where you give the reader context and a beginning for the action.
- Middle = Conflict and climax: The middle is where the problem is presented. You are telling the reader about the change in circumstances that creates a problem that must be resolved.
- End = Conclusion: The end tells the reader about the resolution to the problem and ties the story up. It is a logical and/or emotional stopping point.
With a great hook and a dramatic arc your reader can’t help but go along for the ride. At the end give them a satisfying conclusion.
Presenting content for websites in the form of stories is the most successful way of attracting readers and converting customers. The human psyche is already wired to understand and remember stories; it’s how the world passed along knowledge before the written word was created. Putting experience into a story made it memorable and sharable.
Memorable and sharable are two of the most important characteristics of effective content for websites.