Authentic Storytelling: How To Create Content for Brand Development

As a brand owner and publisher, I’m learning this lesson myself. This is especially relevant because we create content for clients.

You know, it’s easy to be inauthentic when a content calendar needs to be filled. The pressure to meet content marketing goals is real–and ever-present.

Scheduled articles need publishing. Social posts need sharing. Plus, there are the KPIs to consider: lead generation, website traffic, and engagement.

No wonder we occasionally feel pressured to talk about an SEO keyword, rather than reporting something in-the-moment that I feel strongly about.

Don’t get me wrong, though!

That’s the nature of doing business. We need to catch people’s attention with topics of interest. From there, we can introduce ideas that we deem useful to them.

Now, in a world cluttered where “fake news” is a thing and marketing messages are noisy, people long for what’s genuine and messages that are personally relevant to them.

Authenticity is the keyword here.

It cuts through the clutter and moves past built-in personal spam filters. People naturally sense genuineness and reward it.

Authentic storytelling is faaar more than a buzzword. It’s the logical evolution of Content Marketing. Authentic content is turning into a necessity rather than a luxury, now that social media feeds and news readers are full of noise.

Before we would get on a soapbox to bombard our consumers with sales talk. Now, we have the opportunity to share stories and connect with audiences on a more heart-to-heart basis.

Do you occasionally feel the inauthenticity of purely meeting business requirements?

Below are insights on building trust with your audience and remaining true to your brand through authentic storytelling.

The Power of Stories

You want to produce engaging content, yeah? Struggling to reflect the interesting bits around your business?

Pitches can sound the same after a while. Their purpose is to describe what you do, but almost never explains your reasons behind it.

What’s your “why?” Clearly define what drives your brand so that the stories you share stay aligned with your company’s mission.

A good framework for storytelling is “The Hero’s Journey.” This framework includes a protagonist who embarks on an adventure, overcomes a crisis, wins, and then comes home transformed.

Identify your protagonist. More on this below.

Share Your Journey

The Brand Storytelling Report 2015 by content marketing agency Headstream revealed that 8 out of 10 people want brands to tell stories.

If you’re running an interesting journey, your content catches up with you.

When you address important issues, you get the byproduct of generating content topics.

What the story behind your business? Did you come up a business idea while out swimming with sharks (almost getting eaten by one)? Does your office celebrate Tequila Tuesdays?

Developing the content in our content marketing strategy is developing the stories of us. It’s the big ideas that we represent. It’s the differentiated experiences we want to create. It’s what we REALLY do for a living. For better or worse — it’s that simple.

Content Marketing Institute

So, report about it. Share how you’re striving to run an interesting business to an interested community. (If your business is not interesting, you have a far bigger problem than coming up with a steady stream of content.)

A good example is Buffer’s Open Blog. They not only talk about what they do but how you can do it, too. They offer people a peek behind the curtain.

Share your journey with a specific target audience in mind. Deliver value to that tribe in every post.

Stories make content more powerful

Everyone can write generic content… but your stories are unique to you. They’re far more memorable and engaging than dry facts.

SEO or market research shouldn’t stop you from adding personal experiences.

Stories added on top of facts make the content more engaging, increasing your likelihood of generating leads.

Designate an industry insider

Having an industry insider on your team helps. No need to position them as a rockstar. They just have to be truly excited about the industry!

They need to keep up with the latest & greatest… then provide their personal sentiments about the news.

Share industry news that your insider/spokesperson finds interesting and add your editorial points.

Talk about how you evolve your product, in ways that your industry insider audience would love to follow.

The key is to make the conscious decision that you’ll stay updated and opinionated.

If your journey is so interesting, you want to talk about it rather than have to talk about it.

Over to You

Here’s a simple step forward. Identify the insider on your team who should be responsible for geeking out. 🤓

By having a designated spokesperson, they can craft their responsibilities. As the geek-in-residence, it’s their role to keep up with the news and continuously share their personal points.

With this explicit decision, it’s far easier to produce charming content. It can be you, your co-founder, or an opinionated teammate.

Go forward. Assign the spokesperson role. Start publishing more personal stories… and enjoy higher engagement!