Story operates on the idea that advertising-as-interruption is over. Instead, they “connect brands to customers by telling engaging and entertaining stories that audiences actually want to hear”.
Story’s commitment to content marketing comes from its peculiar marriage of a digital skillset combined with a publishing mindset – that is to say, creating expert digital properties for brands that regularly publish new content over a given period.
Treat each brand like a magazine programme
According to Jim, the best brands sites are very generous with their content.
“The campaigns and websites that are most successful have been the ones with content at the heart. If you can encourage people to come back to your site regularly, then you are more likely to get a conversion. The best way to do this is make brands – a *repeat* publishing platform – with a content plan to encourage people to turn up”
- Duchy Original has over 150 products and there are stories supporting each product. Since each product description is keyword rich and optimised, the product are topping search engine rankings.
- Oasis‘ blog does not get a huge amount of traffic but conversions from the blog are higher than conversions from customers who go to the primary e-commerce site first. The plentiful Oasis content on the blog encourages a longer dwell time which according to Jim runs contrary to the received wisdom that ‘the quickest number of clicks to get to the product, but not necessarily an ideal. Instead, Jim argues, branded content was a great way to build a relationship over a series of touchpints:
“Branded content might create a longer acquisition cycle but it leads to better qualified, more loyal customers and, ultimately, more spend” – Jim Boulton
Nudge marketing; using content at multiple touchpoints
Nudge marketing is:
“The result of creating multiple ‘sign-posts’ across the social web that point people towards pieces of branded content. Once people have engaged with this content, we learn about their likes and dislikes and they can be ‘nudged’ towards increasingly relevant content and ultimately to a branded destination or point of purchase”.
Marketers need to achieve this by literally turning their brands into stories - creating original media that their customers actually choose to engage with, explore and then recommend to others. The number of signposts can be dramatically increased through the addition of links you buy, which include paid search, rented lists, seeding initiatives, traditional advertising and media planning and buying. These techniques allow you to distribute links across a far wider network to a much greater audience.
The narrative begins with introductory content that helps people ‘learn’ about the brand, before moving on to immersive content and tools that help people ‘live’ and eventually ‘share’ the brand (see the framework below).
- Every article or interview with locals is made it keyword rich around specific terms and phrases (inc non-branded terms)
- Podcast interviews were transcribed to create more keywords
- Videos are made of interviews and uploaded to Youtube
- Where appropriate, photos of relevant brand subject on Flickr
- Hyperlinks and metadata are used methodically to direct readers back to a brand site
“Nudging a potential customer directly from awareness to consideration to purchase in a single journey is a big ask. It is more likely that the consumer will be directed to increasingly relevant content as part of a mutual learning process, in which brand and audience learn more about one another. Eventually a level of trust will be established and the consumer will have an innate predisposition to the brand” – Jim Boulton