If storytelling sounds too “Kumbaya” to you for hardcore industrial marketing and sales, then I suggest you read on for a fresh perspective.
There is a very good reason centuries old Aesop’s Fables and others of that genre continue to be popular today for teaching valuable lessons. Their power lies in storytelling. Who doesn’t love a good story, don’t you?
Today’s industrial buyers believe in self-serve in the early stages of their buying journey. S/he wants to read content that will help him or her make a more informed decision. A hard sell would be a total turn off. For engagement to happen, you have to make buyers immerse themselves in your content by the stories you tell to sell your solution.
How do you make that personal connection? You do that by addressing their “What’s in it for me ((WIIFM)” concerns. It’s about them, not you! By telling stories that are unique to you and your company. That’s how you differentiate yourself from others. Your competition may be able to outspend you and easily copy your industrial marketing tactics but they can never steal your stories and make them their own. See my post, “Content Can Differentiate Industrial Companies When There’s Parity in Value Propositions.”
However, there is a big difference between just making a personal connection with your readers and your stories actually generating quality leads and driving sales. I read a blog post by Lee Oden (@leeodden) where he explained this very well. He wrote, “It’s about making the story so compelling that it elevates perceptions of value and urgency resulting in more qualified leads and faster purchasing momentum.”
IMO, therein lies the key difference between fictional storytelling and storytelling in industrial content marketing. Churning out more content for the sake of producing content won’t help and neither will passive reading by your audience.
Your content must motivate and compel them to take action now rather than later. I wrote about this in my post, “Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher, Act Like an Investor.”
Storytelling in content marketing shouldn’t be restricted to your website and/or blog. Increase your reach and exposure by repurposing the content into various digital formats. Repurpose and/or compile blog posts into other content assets such as eBooks, SlideShare decks and infographics just to name a few.
A good video will take your storytelling with content to a whole new level. The emphasis is on “Good” and not the typical DiY video from many manufacturers that you find on YouTube. For more on video marketing, read my friend and fellow B2B marketer Bob Leonard’s blog post, “B2B Video Stories Achieve the Impossible.”
Let me give you four real-world examples of powerful storytelling from manufacturers and industrial companies. You’ll recognize these headlines if you are from one of these companies.
- Heat Pump Technology – Heats a City Using Frigid North Sea Water With Zero Global Warming Impact
- Leak Testers – How modern leak detection technology is helping medical device manufacturers produce safer life-saving devices for home healthcare
- Safety and Pressure Relief Valves – We are the last line of defense against catastrophic disasters in refineries, chemical and power plants
- Cheaper Than China Pricing – Globally competitive and U.S. made, a cost-effective on-shore alternative
They all have a strong human-interest story to tell with an emotional hook. Here’s a tip – case studies are powerful storytellers. Use them whenever and wherever you can in your industrial marketing.
That’s my story on storytelling in industrial content marketing. What’s yours?