Why Storytelling in Marketing Matters, Big Time
Let’s pretend you’re on the hunt for a new hairdryer (yours is hot pink, from the early 2000s, and blows cold air about half the time). Like many consumers these days, you decide to start your search on the world wide web, scavenging for honest reviews and the best brands. After spending some time on Google, you narrow it down to two options, based primarily on their websites. Both brands have similar reviews, but very different content marketing approaches. Which one appeals to you more? Brand 1: Talks extensively about their product, its features, their company wins, their awards, and so on. Brand 2: Shows the true story of a young, hardworking hairdresser who is just starting out, and is incredibly dedicated to the happiness of her clients. She swears by brand #2’s hair dryer because it makes her customer’s hair shinier and smoother than any other she has tried before. You see the reason for all the fancy features, and you like how Brand 2 cares about their customers’ experiences, not just their own accolades. If you’re like the average consumer, you’re more likely to choose Brand 2, because they appealed to your emotions, and told you a story that focused on the customer, not just themselves. Simply put, their content was more interesting than Brand 1’s. While this may seem unimportant, compelling and relevant content is what leads to higher engagement and higher traffic to your site; it is what helps drive SEO to actually work.
Your Content Needs Keywords and a Purpose
There are a ton of possibilities when it comes to creating storytelling in marketing through online content: blog posts, landing pages, long form content, videos, infographics, articles, the list goes on. Each type of content has a different purpose: blogs can inform, landing pages can sell, and videos can entertain. Whatever the purpose, your content needs to have highly relevant keywords (in other words, what people are actually searching for). Using these keywords in your content causes your business to rank higher on Google. Your goal is to get to the coveted traffic on the first page — after all, when was the last time you went to page 2 of Google?However, you can’t just throw a keyword into a poorly written, unpurposeful article and expect your rankings to skyrocket. Sure, search engine algorithms can’t judge how graceful your tone is; their purpose is to rank your website based on technical factors. While technical SEO best practices may get people to your website, only relevant content with an interesting story will get people to stay, engage, recommend, and come back.
Engagement is Key to SEO
Contrary to what a lot of people think, SEO isn’t just about catering to Google’s algorithm. In fact, the algorithm goes through thousands of micro-changes and large scale updates per year, making it almost impossible to perfectly align with it from a technical standpoint. The difference between a page that ranks high and a page that doesn’t often comes down to the sheer quality of the content. Do people care about what you have to say? Did you make people believe in what you’re selling? If not, chances are you’ll be stuck on page 8 of Google, because a click to your website means nothing if consumers aren’t commenting, sharing, or interacting with the page.
SEO Rankings That Improve From Storytelling in Marketing
Storytelling is what connects an algorithm’s needs to your customer’s wants. Let’s dive into some important SEO components, and see how great storytelling in marketing only improves these factors.
Bounce rate measures the percentage of people who leave your website without interacting with it. If your content is interesting and well-written, people are more likely to stay on the page, share the content, or dive deeper into your website. If it’s boring, poorly written, or irrelevant, people will “bounce;” rendering the page ultimately useless.
Time on Page
Time on page measures the length of a visit to a page or a set of pages on your website; in other words, the amount of time someone spends reading the content on a page. Evaluating the time on page metric can open your eyes to valuable insights. It is important to keep in mind that site performance also plays a huge role in this metric. If your pages are slow, people will bounce, and their time on site will be next to nothing.
Short Time on Page
A short time on page could be an indicator that your content is not relevant to the search terms that are ranking high on Google. However, a good time on page number will reflect the content — if your page is light on text and more focused on a design, a shorter time on page could be just fine. If your headline is short and snappy, and you’re getting lots of engagement with your call to action in a short amount of time — that’s great news! If you find people are bouncing, you’re probably not telling your story well enough, proving once again that simply throwing around keywords isn’t enough to get consumers to engage with your content.
Long Time on Page
A long time on page can be a good sign. This can indicate that people are actually reading your content, and are interested in what you’ve written. If you ensure that the story you’re telling fits with the search terms, and is well-written and interesting, people are much more likely to stay on your site and engage with your call to action.However, if you have many consumers spending a lot of time on your page, but not engaging with your call to action, or not moving through to new pages on your site, you could have some issues to iron out. If this is the case, it is possible that your content is confusing or people are not finding what they searched for when they clicked on your page.
It isn’t the Google algorithm’s first rodeo — it can judge if the keywords you used are written in a natural way. If your page isn’t easily readable, the algorithm can tell, and this will affect your SEO negatively. Plus, the algorithm realizes that a page is more than its keywords, meaning it looks at the overall message when crawling. Google considers a user’s search intent and matches it to the pages with content and keywords that actually make sense. So there you have it. Upping your online visibility takes a lot of hard work. The process of finding relevant keywords, distributing them throughout a piece of content (and in the most optimal way), all while telling a worthwhile story — takes a good amount of time, but is beyond worth it. Write on, marketers!This blog was led and written by Copywriting Intern Julia Hensley and overseen by Casey Watts and Cody Eastlick.