Storytelling With Content Marketing: What We Learned At #SMSsummit

We attended the Social Media Strategies Summit in NYC, and it was insightful, to say the least. Over the course of two days, we listened to some fantastic presentations about content marketing given by senior-level marketing professionals from companies like Hootsuite, OWN, Facebook, and more.


The biggest takeaway from the conference was how to use the power of storytelling in content marketing. Content marketing is a great way to provide relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues. 


Here’s what we learned:


Videos On Product Pages Can Drive Up Conversion Rates By 20%.


Audiences are looking to be engaged. If you incorporate video into your strategy, you have a higher chance of leading your audience throughout your social channels and website.


Take Prose for example, which is a one-of-a-kind, professional hair care line that can be altered to accommodate your preferences. They do a great job of incorporating video into their brand. From product gifs to Instagram stories, Prose is creating engaging content for their audience.


Lorelei Orfeo, the Director of Social Media for Prose, stressed in her presentation that shoppers are looking for proof of brand integrity through trustworthiness, particularly ingredient sourcing and production processes. So if you include a video of someone explaining the product or showing how they use it, consumers will be more likely to interact with and trust your brand.


Content Marketing Is King, Distribution Is Queen.


People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Content marketing is focused on creating valuable and relevant content to “attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”


Lead magnets can help you give an incentive to potential buyers in exchange for their email address, or other contact information. This is a valuable tool in content marketing because contact information gives you a physical address through which to send content, which gives you the resources to learn more about your audience to further tailor your content to their needs.


Terry Rice, Founder of Terry Rice Consulting, gave two examples here:

A “click here to join our email list” doesn’t work.

But a “sign up for our newsletter to check out the latest goods” is more effective because you offer the potential buyer an incentive to sign up. In order to be successful, content marketing needs to focus on providing value, not a sale.


Since 2016 Storytelling Has Grown By 826%.


Before 1990 there were 8 channels we could communicate through. Now there are 100s. Your audience won’t spend more than 10 seconds on content if it doesn’t grab them right away, but if you are able to capture their attention, they’ll stay engaged to watch a story that resonates. Make sure to utilize this to your advantage.


Thomas Harding, CEO of Mish Guru, gave the example of this video, which depicts the life of Defence Lawyer and refugee advocate Deng Thiak Adut.


What made this video so successful? Western Sydney University, through the use of Deng’s story, delivered a powerful message of resilience that resonated with their audience.


When we pay more attention to the customer than the industry, the customer pays more attention to us. – Jay Acunzo


Find what your audience cares about. You need to be really clear on how you want to reach them and what will connect with them. That’s where data comes in: Data is king. Data can give us a rich story on our audience. What is the content they engage with? How do they spend their time and on what channels?


It may be helpful to think of it like building a media company inside your marketing department: monitor trends on social media and use that data to find out what stories your audience are interested in. Is it topical – local – unique – human? People don’t relate to brands; they relate to humans.


If we, as marketers, provide good content and great stories, the interest will follow.

Updated on February 14, 2020.

Lucy Wolfe, Marketing and Communications at Green Buzz Agency. Emily Herman contributed to this post.