3 Effective Storytelling Formulas for B2B Content

Tom had officially had enough.


Enough of spending hours staring at the blinking cursor on a blank Word document.


Enough of HubSpot reminding him of how his last blog post was read by just 4 people - including his girlfriend, his mum and his manager.


Enough of feeling like the content he was creating was worthless and irrelevant.


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Can you relate to Tom’s story? If so, it could be that your content is missing one vital ingredient - storytelling, of course!


If we had started this blog post without a story, would you have been as compelled to read on? It’s because stories are more likely to elicit an emotional response from readers and can be up to 22 times more memorable than facts. In B2B they also provide a much-needed opportunity to humanise your marketing message.


We’ve outlined 3 formulas you can use to help tell a great story:


1. Problem, Agitate, Solve


One of the simplest storytelling structures to follow is Problem, Agitate, Solve. This formula is a great way to present what your business does in a nutshell and works well for written content as well as video content. Let’s break it down, step by step.


The “Problem” part of this structure, refers to a problem that your target customer is facing. In a B2B context, this could be that your ideal customer finds that extracting actionable insights from data is very time-consuming. You want to tell the story of this person so that people can see the world through their eyes and most importantly, relate to them.


The next step, “Agitate”, means you need to dig into the problem and explore the knock-on effects it has. Using the same example as above, it could be that you highlight the fact that their problem is negatively impacting on their productivity and meaning that the returns on their investment in data services aren’t as high as they could be.


The final step in this formula is “Solve”. This is where you present your solution and showcase exactly how it improves the life of the person using it. Again, using our earlier example, it could showcase that a data visualisation tool frees up hours of time for users by pulling all the key insights you would need into one simple dashboard.


2. Before, After, Bridge


The “Before, After, Bridge” formula is fantastic for use in blog posts and email marketing. We love it because it takes the reader on a journey into a better future and can instil a sense of hope and curiosity. So how does it work?


Step 1 is to describe what the reader’s current world is like, especially in terms of their problems and frustrations. A great way to generate ideas for this type of content is to ask your current customer base about what their life was like “Before” they discovered your solution.


Step 2 is where you paint a picture of a brighter future, where your target customer’s problems have been resolved and their life is enhanced.


Finally, Step 3 is where you show your reader exactly how they can get to the brighter future you depicted with your solution. Simple, yet effective!


3. The Golden Circle


Today, consumers are more and more interested in why your business does what it does, alongside what it can do for them. Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle formula is a great way to demonstrate your company values in a way that is appealing to your audience. Here’s how it works:


Step 1 is to explain why your company exists. What’s your main reason for being in business, aside from profit of course! Let the reader see your more altruistic motivations. This is a surefire way to make your message more memorable than your competitors’.


Step 2 is to explain how your business does what it does. What makes your processes and systems unique within the marketplace?


Finally, Step 3 is where you explain what your company does and who you serve.

This model might seem a little counterintuitive, but by starting with “why”, your reader is much more likely to care about the “how” and “what”.


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Do you want a helping hand in crafting compelling B2B content that connects with decision-makers on an emotional and rational level?


Get in touch with Philip Martin to discover how DMA Partners can help: philip.martin@dma-partners.com.

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