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How Valuable is Storytelling in Creating Content that Matters?

BY Andrew Thorn on 29/9/2015

Telling a good story is one of the most valuable tools for connecting with your audience and improving the power of your brand online. From an SEO perspective, brand presence is increasingly related to the strength of your connection with users, which puts good storytelling at the top of the list. Stories are an intrinsic part of human life and make up our most memorable interactions. They are told through words, images, body movements, numbers, and when delivered well our stories will always connect in a way that words and numbers alone can never do.

Storytelling as a conduit for messages that demand action is not an entirely new concept. Brands have long associated their products with human experience with the intent of awareness and sales. Malcolm Gladwell introduced us to The Law of the Few in his book The Tipping Point, explaining how a simple idea can become a social epidemic through the interaction of three crucial elements. Gladwell personifies these as the Maven, the Connector and the Salesman - however these may equally be described more simply as the convergence of Information, Visibility and the Power of Storytelling.

The Top 5 Reasons Why Story-based Content Works

1. Every story offers a new experience

Stories draw the attention of viewers because of our natural tendency to learn through mimicking and observation. We are always looking for new information that the discoveries and explorations of other people can uncover. This explains why posts on how-to’s and reviewer’s top lists are spreading like wildfire on social media.

2. Stories are engaging

Stories are meant to captivate and entertain, which is why we spend hours reading books and watching movies or sitcoms. We forget all our worries for a few precious moments and allow ourselves to be captivated. An effective way to increase your website’s engagement score is to provide visitors with interesting content that keeps them engaged. A healthy length of between 2,000 and 3,000 words per post can make all the difference if it's delivered well. 

 3. Stories pass down life as well as cultural lessons

Stories offer home truths that are expertly weaved through the plot lines, ready for the audience to pick them apart and absorb them.

4. A conversational style of content writing is favoured by search engines

With the recent Google Panda 4.2 update, website owners and internet marketers need to stay on their toes to avoid disheartening penalties. The latest algorithm still assesses a website on it’s many components that affect user experience and trustworthiness, but a significant amount of attention is diverted towards content and its quality in terms of recency, relevance, and composition. It is time to burn the midnight oil and start writing content that offers value to the readers, and doesn't just generate clicks.

5. Stories are relatable and universal

Aside from its promising potential to attract people to your website, using storytelling as a medium for conveying ideas genuinely contributes to the advancement of learning. It stokes the fire of curiosity and encourages thinking and discourse.

 

One of the most successful brands in the world launched their content marketing strategy in 1987. That makes LEGO's content marketing initiatives as old as their brand, and they've given us plenty to learn from. LEGO focuses on delivering content that is creative, entertaining and imaginative so that they can attract and retain customers by instilling an affection towards the brand.

For further reading on what we can learn from LEGO in this area, we can recommend a recent article by Adespresso. And being Aussie's, we should point out our favourite vignette from the LEGO website as well, which is the 'Surfer Rescue'.

 

Effective marketing means delivering information in a way that people will see and people will love. Engaging your audience with great stories is the missing piece in creating content that matters. According to a 2014 study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, the best-in-class B2B Marketers rate blogs as the most effective tactic (79%) ahead of in-person events.

Video is another form of storytelling for brands, and arguably the most powerful of all. According to Dr James McQuivey of Forrester Research, the value of one minute of video is exactly the same as telling a story with 1.8 Million Words.

Placement of video on your homepage can lead to improvement in user engagement with studies indicating big increases to both dwell time and conversion rate. This in turn has a very significant impact on your SEO rankings.

So many of the people and brands we connect with are those that engage us through their story. Their characters and lives develop over many years, keeping us in tune with their plot lines and breathing life into their marketing persona.

By maintaining a consistent voice, characters and plot lines through your content marketing strategy, you are fundamentally linking all aspects of your brand presence through the power of storytelling. Your website, social media, video's, public relations and all other aspects of your brand presence will become more cohesive, memorable and relevant to your target audience.

Storytelling is fundamentally linked to many of the 200 Google Ranking Factors that make up its search algorithm and decide the success of your brand in Search. Here is a list of all the associated factors that are influenced by a great content marketing strategy that engages your audience with exceptional storytelling.

 

A Few SEO Ranking Factors Affected By Storytelling


Domain Factors

  • Content Length 
  • Keyword Density 
  • Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords in Content (LSI) 
  • Recency of Content Updates 
  • Magnitude of Content Updates 
  • Grammar and Spelling 
  • Multimedia 
  • Human Editors 
  • Useful Content 

Site Level Content

  • Content Provides Value and Unique Insights
  • Number of Pages
  • YouTube Videos
  • User reviews/Site reputation

User Interaction

  • Bounce Rate 
  • Direct Traffic 
  • Repeat Traffic 
  • Number of Comments 
  • Dwell Time 

Social Signals

  • Number of Tweets 
  • Number of Facebook Likes 
  • Facebook Shares 
  • Known Authorship 
  • Site Level Social Signals 

Brand Signals

  • Branded Searches 
  • Site Has Facebook Page and Likes 
  • Site has Twitter Profile with Followers 
  • Brand Mentions on News Sites 

 

One of the biggest things is to make sure that your content strategy personifies your brand so that you can create lots and lots of stories which talk about your products and services in a myriad of ways.

We really hope that you’re able to make good use of these tips, as we’ve found they are quite powerful in getting Google to work for you. Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions or comments about these major changes.


Author


Andrew Thorn
Andrew Thorn
Founder and CEO

Andrew is a digital guru with an infectious spirit for innovation and excellence. He has an extraordinary ability to harness emerging technology for business growth, with the focus and determination reflective of a true leader.


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