How do you build authority and find those prize customers you covet?
How do you really make it in the online jungle?
If you deliver a consistent, helpful, engaging narrative with a core message and a specific audience in mind, you’ll blow past the competition.
Because story done right makes you likable, trustworthy, and helpful. And people buy from those they like, know and trust.
Of course, but where do you start?
#1. First — Acknowledge the Power of Story.
What captures your attention, often holds you spellbound and won’t let go? What is forever etched in your memory?
A great story.
And if you’re online and want someone to buy from you, you must bond with them in some way. A consistent and engaging narrative does this.
Think about it this way: Your client is on an odyssey and you’re helping them find their way. Your useful, engaging storyline creates a bond, puts you top of mind, and earns you the right to sell.
#2. Second — Realize Their Pain is Your Foundation.
Find your ideal customer’s pain point and center your epic tale around that.
Think as a wise sage teaching your customer how to outsmart and blow past their impediment to greatness. They are the superhero (not you). You’re simply there to help them vanquish the enemy.
Your solution is geared to their long-term success. Your answer might cure their ills, but you must first build trust through story.
#3. Third — Treat Your Prospect Like an Idol.
In fact, you should work like an over-caffeinated eager beaver to tweak, refine, and deliver the best content possible to your prized audience.
Your goal is to make them the superstar, so they love you, come back to you and tell all their friends about you.
If there is anything that doesn’t help them on their way, do me a favor and chuck it in the bin.
#1 Revisited (The Power of Story).
So, let’s get back to the power of story done right.
One of the most successful blogs on the planet is Copyblogger. If you’re familiar with Brian Clark’s creation, you understand how masterfully he’s used story to build a massive audience and sell products that help.
He did this in his own agile way by realizing a few things …
A. Your customer wants to be courted.
Content marketing is about romancing the customer over time, not going for a deep tongue kiss on your first date. Trust is part of love and takes time to develop. Plus I’m guessing you want to be the romantic who is rewarded with love and affection, not the creeper who gets slapped in the face.
Love thy customer. The fine peeps at Copyblogger sure do.
B. You must work to build a firm foundation of extremely helpful content.
Copyblogger calls this cornerstone content. It drives the machine and supports the brand, because it’s something people keep coming back to. It’s the rock everything is built upon.
If you don’t have this type of in-depth content, look here and get busy (I sure am).
C. It helps to think more like a teacher and less like a marketer.
In fact, you should treat your ideal customer like a hero. Immerse yourself in their world and get to know them intimately. This positions you to best help them solve their problems and continue their journey.
Pretend your client is Danielson and you are Mr. Miyagi.
D. Story is the best way to frame the problems of your audience.
It’s an iterative process that helps you craft the best products and services over time, and find the right customers for them. (I needed to repeat this).
E. All good things take time.
Selling through storytelling is about nuance and falling in love over time. Pull, don’t Push and be calm, but focused in your approach. This will take time.
To me, the inbound marketing approach of Clark and crew is almost Zen-like in its subtlety.
#2 Revisited (So What the Heck is a Pain Point)?
Well, what is troubling your ideal customer? What do they fear most? What “thing” do they need to get past?
If you discover and solve IT … you are golden. You are Miyagi.
Defined in his own words:
“It’s a problem that a majority of people have with one specific blog or company. It’s a chink in their armor, and it’s an opportunity for you to convert them into loyal subscribers and customers.”
A thread of discontent is a problem that is not being solved effectively. And your customer’s problem is the enemy you’re helping them get past. You just need to do this better than the other guy.
But this doesn’t happen overnight. You must work your fingers to the bone to craft magnetic and helpful content. The iterative storyline you build over time helps you achieve this.
So why is Social Triggers so successful? And what practices will help your business do the same?
A. Realize the agile way is the only way.
Use analytics and feedback — through email, comments and social — to continually test, listen, and refine. Testing and feedback is fuel for your content marketing fire. It’s obvious Derek is fairly obsessive about this.
B. Be the customer.
Just about every post at Social Triggers is focused on the reader’s world and how to make it better. Again: the customer is Daniel, you are Miyagi.
C. Use story to convey that you know exactly what their pain point is.
To me, this is your sweet spot, because once they realize this, your content becomes magnetic. It’s also the spark for your client’s metamorphosis.
D. Be the expert.
Fake it ’til you make it won’t work, I know. But, please have a little confidence, K? If you know something that can help others, you are an expert. You don’t have to be perfect, just keep listening and learning and don’t be afraid to display your knowledge to the world.
By using story over time to deliver foundational blog content, Derek sure got attention, but he also paid attention.
Paying attention is very important!
He got in touch with the world of his potential customer, found the enemy and taught them how to eradicate it. This is the storyline over at Social Triggers.
The more he listened, the better his delivery became, because he didn’t have to guess any longer.
Story infused with creativity, utility and a little old fashioned chutzpah, helped build authority.
And with that kind of authority people were soon lining up to see what he had to offer.
#3 Revisited (What About This Hero Thing)?
One of my favorite bits of advice came directly from Copyblogger media.
The advice? Treat your ideal customer as the hero. If you do this time and time again it just might transform your world by rocking theirs.
You can probably guess that I like The Karate Kid, but a much better example is found in the storyline of George Lucas’s baby …
Star Wars is a fairly modern incarnation of the “Hero’s Journey.” Yes, my kids laugh at the pre-digital special effects and the general hokiness of it all, but the movie endures.
Star Wars is based on a tried and true formula: a simple (familiar) story told on an epic scale (Luke’s journey from nobody to hero).
But the meat of the story (Luke’s epic journey) is why the movie is so magical.
So what did Clark and crew deliver to me? And how should you approach your writing?
The protagonist in Star Wars was Luke.
The story was about his journey to greatness.
From zero to hero.
Your prospect is Luke.
You are Obi Wan, of course. And your job is to make them (your customer) a hero.
So stop trying to play superstar, and realize this isn’t about you. Instead, approach your content like some wise, old sage.
Use story to help your hero on their epic journey. And use it to master your grand lesson plan.
Be the teacher. Tell an amazing story. Rock their world and see what happens.
If you want a detailed plan on how to build a brand that rises above the noise, connects with the right audience, and drives the action needed to help you advance your business, sign up for my email list where I’ll show you the 6 steps to bring your brand to life.
Latest posts by Craig McBreen (see all)
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