1. THE CONTENT AUDIT
As they say, content is king. Content is the core of your story, auditing to ensure the quality is critical to the effectiveness of your storytelling. Here are 5 points which you should keep in mind when auditing your content:
- Tell your own story – A real, unique, interesting story is what impresses customers the most, authenticity/originality is the key.
- Create your characters – A simple, sharp, positive character can leave a deep impression in the mind of the customers.
- Attach values and vision – A story with high moral values or a great vision of the future is a powerful tool to attract customers’ attention and arouse positive feelings.
- Create your own style – A complete, clean, aligned style, in terms of arrangement and design, gives off a professional air and is easier to read and understand from the customers’ perspective.
- Encourage further actions – Your story can function as an invitation to customers to take action and build their relationship with you.
Combining all these above, we can see that a story, to a brand, is a powerful self-expression tool, a manifesto to the public and more importantly, a relationship builder with your clients. Once the content and style of the story is confirmed, you are already halfway to a content marketing success.
2. DEFINING THE AUDIENCE FOR YOUR CONTENT MARKETING PLAN
Planning is essential before any further marketing actions. Defining and targeting your audience is the first step in your storytelling campaign planning. In an ideal world, it would be great to include all your customers as the target audience of a marketing campaign. In reality, it’s not possible. Specialization and segmentation of customers ensures higher effectiveness of all resources spent. Close observation through market research and data collection, to understand customer preferences and thoughts is ultimately what marketers must do at the very first stage of the campaign.
3. MATCHING CONTENT WITH YOU AUDIENCE
Now you have your story and target audience. The next step is to find the meeting point of the two. Customization of your content is required to match it to your audience as closely as possible. At the same time you should always remind yourself of the original purpose and the core messages you wish to deliver to the audience. A balance between the two is what brand promoters should endeavor to achieve.
4. CREATING YOUR EDITORIAL CALENDAR
Storytelling needs preparation, brainstorming and writing stories takes time. In order to avoid being hindered by a lengthy creative process and promptly respond to the ever-changing story demands of customers, you must plan your preparation process in a structured and timely manner. Setting up an editorial calendar clearly stating all stages, deadlines and key messages is one of the most effective ways to achieve the goal. In this part we’ll give practical suggestions and advice on how to do this.
5. LEVERAGING YOUR BRAND'S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP)
With the aid of a story, brands become the symbols of the values and ideas behind the story. Its products are no longer mere products, but the physical representations of the legends told. This intangible intellectual property, then becomes an invaluable asset for the brand.
6. THE 4 KEY FACTORS IN TELLING AN EFFECTIVE BRAND STORY
To tell an effective brand story which not only leaves a positive impression on customers but also encourages engagement, you must consider authenticity, simplicity, visualization and vision.
Authenticity: People always want something new, real and interesting that they can easily comprehend and relate to. Here are some formulas for popular stories and images.
- The Endeavor Formula: Someone striving for his/her dreams or ambitions.
- The Surprise Formula: How one copes with sudden changes in life and succeeds or discovers better goals at the end.
- The Archer Formula: This contains elements of the endeavor and surprise formula.
Vision: Have your own unique vision. Never underestimate the power of words and slogans, to give meaning and strength to people as they usually involve broad appeal which can be attractive to many. When they find the right audience at the right time, their power is enormous and unimaginable.
Simplicity: Customers like easily interpretable stories and messages. Keep your tale neat and clear. Brand storytellers should always pay close attention to the response of customers to avoid tiring them.
Visualization: Good stories aren’t just textual. They’re expressed in many ways. You should try digital technologies and social media to spread your messages and explore images, cartoons, short clips, online apps and recordings to express your story. Give it variety to make it more attractive, moving and convincing. The way your story is told is just as important as what it is about.
7. CASES AND BEST PRACTICES
Just like all other places in the world, storytelling as a content strategy is popular in the Chinese market. However, as Chinese society has its own unique history and cultures, brand promoters should be well aware of those social norms and localize their storytelling strategies. In this part we’ll have a close look at several successful storytellers in the Chinese market:
- Luogic Knowledge Group (羅輯思維)[CW1]
- SunnyHills (微熱山丘)[CW2]
- ‘The Story of Chuaner’ Series (「人生一串」系列)[CW3] [CW4]
Each of these examples illustrates the four key elements mentioned, teaching us how to tell a good story in an effective way and impress the Chinese audiences. Studying them can indeed help you to figure out your unique formula and standards for promoting the story of your brand in China.
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