As B2B marketers embrace storytelling, I’m seeing an improvement in content quality and usefulness. They are embracing the idea of starting their stories with their customers’ situation rather than themselves. The approach brings people in and lays the groundwork to reveal how specific products and services can help the customers get to a better place.
But I still see some issues as marketers strengthen their storytelling muscle. One of the problems I’ve seen a lot lately is pulling threads.
What I mean by this is that the storyteller will start down one story line, one situation and then introduce another, and another, and another. If the threads are connected this may be okay, but usually they aren’t.
This creates confusion. The audience (customer) wants to hear the full story, but is quickly taken somewhere else. It’s confusing and hard to follow.
When I review these types of efforts, I hearken back to long feature lists or long lists of differentiators. It’s like throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall and hoping something sticks.
The alternative–understand your audience, create a collection of stories that are told completely (situation, impact, resolution–and results), focus on making things easy to understand. And don’t forget progressive engagement–tell enough that they understand and want to learn more, then add details and tracks off the main path, that ultimately collect back together.
Like a frayed shirt, pulling threads in stories ultimately looks sloppy. Simplify and tie everything together.
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