In a business climate dominated by numbers, graphs, and data, financial advisors who want to excel need to employ the power of storytelling.
There are two ways to gain clients with storytelling: telling particular stories like passion story, business story, product/service story, and customer story and using storytelling as a content strategy.
Last week, we explored how storytelling as a content strategy works- how it leads from content to customers without the fascination with vanity metrics, funnel, and lead nurturing and scoring.
Let’s consider a few examples of blog articles that use this brand-led, customer-centered storytelling as a content strategy.
While these examples are not perfect, they illustrate how storytelling as a content strategy works.
(It’s essential you read the previous blog to understand this)
Examples of storytelling as a content strategy
So let’s get to it.
Ahrefs is an SEO company that offers various SEO tools and resources that business owners and organizations can use to achieve their online marketing goals.
The blog post of interest is titled “9 EASY Link Building Strategies (That ANYONE Can Use).”
The article started by identifying the obstacles that are preventing the reader from achieving their link building goals. Link building is not easy; many people struggle to “build needle-moving” links; they use many tactics that do not work.
Joshua started this article well by identifying the obstacles in the reader’s way. However, he could have done a better job with a paragraph on why link building is essential to the reader.
Remember, in our Hero’s Journey, we begin with a goal the potential hero is out to get and the obstacles preventing him from achieving that goal. The protagonist has a goal, but antagonists are preventing him from achieving his dreams.
While identifying the obstacles is excellent, it is essential to remind the reader of the goal and dream and why it is essential. Only then will they appreciate a solution to the problems, an evacuation of the obstacles.
Does link-building work? Joshua started by using their brand-Ahrefs- as proof that link building efforts are not useless. He is validating the goal and dream of the reader – to build links. He is telling the potential hero that the journey to victory is not a pipe dream. We have been there.
In situations where the goal or dream you are helping your readers achieve seems impossible, you can assure them by showing how you or your customers have achieved that goal.
Joshua used a brand-led approach to validate the goal of the reader. However, a customer-centered approach will work, as well. Knowing that Ahrefs has done it might not be as powerful as knowing that a small business owner like myself (perhaps with lesser resources) has done it.
Now, Ahrefs starts to show the reader (protagonist, potential Hero) how to solve the problems and overcome the obstacles.
They embrace a brand-led and customer-centered approach. They are not just showing how to overcome the obstacles, they are showing how their different tools are the solutions the reader needs.
You need keyword research to achieve your goal and overcome your obstacles, and here is how to do it – Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.
Here is another example of a brand-led approach. Guest Blogging is one of the ways to build links-overcome the obstacles, and achieve your goal. How do you do guest blogging right? Again, Ahrefs showed how their tool could help to achieve this sub-goal.
Here is the third example of brand-led storytelling. They show how you can use their Site Explorer to do specific tasks essential to achieving your goal – link building.
I think the ending was underwhelming. In a good story, you want to pull the pieces together – re-emphasize the goal, identify the obstacles, recap the solutions, and then paint a picture of what victory looks like.
Ahrefs did a good job with this article, though there are many opportunities for improvement.
Dave Ramsey is a financial advisor and host of The Dave Ramsey Show.
The article of interest is titled, “How to Beat Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)”
Here is a good setup for the storytelling approach. The reader wants a job – that’s the goal. Our potential hero wants to get that job that he desires.
But there is an obstacle on the way – most job applications don’t even get to human HR personnel. The ATS system is an obstacle she has to cross to get the dream job.
Like the Ahrefs blog, this article does not emphasize the reader’s goal or dream and why it is crucial. The advantage of stating it is to get them emotionally connected to the post.
“Have you been trying to get that dream job that will give you a sense of fulfillment and provide you with the money you need to solve most of your problem?” Such an introduction has a better emotional connection with readers.
Most writers assume the reader of the blog knows why he is here, so why bother? But information is not the only purpose of a good blog post. The emotional connection is vital.
After outlying the goal/dream and the objections, the blog continues by giving solutions to that challenge.
They also incorporate the brand-led storytelling approach by mentioning some of their products and tools to help the reader get to her destination. In this example, we see a free Resume guide, which is part of a bigger resource.
Here, the author introduces another brand product – How to Write the Perfect Resume- that can help the reader get to her destination.
Though they didn’t show how the product will solve the reader’s problem, they already did a good job showing that throughout the article.
The conclusion here is better than Ahref’s. The author reminds the reader of the goal – getting your dream job. However, instead of restating the solutions that will overcome the obstacles, he introduces a resource. The article would be better if the mention of the product comes after restating the solutions.
Also, like Ahref’s, the article did not show the reader what victory looks like. Everyone knows what the victory looks like – the dream job. But don’t assume. For the sake of emotional connection, draw it out to further entice the reader to pursue the solution you proffer.
One more thing: this article would be better with a customer story. How do I know this will work? Here is someone like you who used these tips and became a hero.
The purpose of the storytelling approach is to move from content to customers. No more fascination with vanity metrics, lead nurturing, and scoring.
You can have people read your blog articles and book a call. By using the storytelling approach, you can gain clients directly from content marketing.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and do the work. Then sit back and watch the results fly in.
If you need help getting this done, you can always contact me.