Content and the Power of Great Storytelling

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Signet Interactive’s content team is especially excited about our June book drive to benefit Friends of the Houston Public Library. Each of us loves to read, and still remembers the very first books that made us smile, laugh, cry and think. (Sometimes all at once!) As avid readers, we also love to tell stories, and that’s exactly what we do here at Signet.

Content, that word we use to describe the stories we tell across many platforms, is key to marketing your business. Great storytelling through content has the power to increase awareness and even change the public perception of a brand, an idea or an industry. Whether it’s a several hundred word blog or a 140-character tweet, when it comes to telling stories for our clients, we understand the power of evocative language to activate the reader’s brain and influence his or her behavior and emotions.

How to Create Great Content

When I think back to my early childhood, a book that made an especially strong impression on me was Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Reading Alexander’s story provided me with a way to describe how I felt when things didn’t exactly go my way and provided some reassurance that I could survive a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” Other members of Signet’s content team name The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Matilda by Roald Dahl, Drummond: The Search for Sarah by Sally Farrell Odgers and The Giver by Lois Lowry as books that were particularly special to them when they were young.

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We remember a book when it tells a great story, and you can’t tell a great story with a limited vocabulary and bad grammar. Studies have shown consumers do pay attention to grammar as it is used in advertising and marketing and are less likely to trust a brand whose marketing content contains copy errors. But content doesn’t just need to be spell checked; content needs to tell a story in an original way, free of clichés.

If a Cliché Is Spoken in a Crowded Room, Does Anybody Hear It?

…No.

Research shows that clichés are interpreted by the brain as just “words” without generating a sensory response. “In one ear and out the other,” is how the average person would describe this phenomenon. But for the sake of being remembered, we’ll describe it this way: “Straight into the gutters of the brain.”

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Cliché-free content is memorable, just like the image at the conclusion of The Giving Tree of the once young now very old man sitting down to rest on the tree’s stump, and allows a company to brand or “re-brand” itself through the power of great story telling.

Apple recently launched a beautifully filmed and edited television advertisement for its iPad Air pad, featuring conductor Esa-Pekka Solonen. A lengthy, beautifully designed webpage with additional video content tells the story of his composing a violin concerto with the help of the iPad Air and a special composing app Solonen designed for Apple. The name of the campaign is tellingly titled “What’s Your Verse?” and Solonen’s story, which is now a part of Apple’s larger story, scrolls from top to bottom, with each section containing its own images, video and even numerals like chapters in a book.

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The cliché of the ivory tower composer scribbling across parchment by candlelight for audiences of old folks is turned upside down in this campaign, and a new story unfolds as a result. Remember “in one ear and out the other”? Well, at the conclusion of “What’s Your Verse?” you get to see and hear the composition Salonen created and/or download the app he used to compose it.

What Is Valuable Content?

How to measure your ROI when it comes to content and great storytelling can be complicated, and the ROI Apple expects from this expensively produced ad is anyone’s guess. But there are certainly several easily definable qualities of what we would describe to a client as “valuable content,” including:

  • Creates an interactive experience that endears the audience to the storyteller
  • Conveys a consistent and genuine “personality” for the brand or company
  • Is accurate, thoroughly sourced and relevant to its audience
  • Provides helpful information that the competitors do not
  • Tells what may be a familiar story in a new, thought-prodding way
  • Sets the storyteller (i.e., the brand) up as someone who is thoughtful and attentive to its specific audience

Telling stories by creating great content is what we do at Signet Interactive. So what’s your story? Contact us to learn how strong content can enhance and increase engagement with your brand.

And don’t forget to stop by our office this month and drop off your books to donate to Friends of the Houston Public Library.

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