The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
Meet the One Rand Man, an average 30-something-year-old living in Cape Town, South Africa. As an architect, he’s living his best life, eating out at swanky restaurants, buying rounds of tequila shots for the whole table, and splurging on clothing of the highest quality. He rarely tracks his finances.
But one day, he wakes up and realizes the more he makes, the more he spends on his extravagant lifestyle. He gets curious, so he orders his entire monthly salary to be paid in one rand coins. Yes, you heard that right. The One Rand Man is now on a quest to understand just how much he’s spending in hopes that he’ll spend less by using coins to purchase everything.
Sanlam Life Insurance took on his social experiment as a marketing tactic to teach people how to better manage their money and make smarter financial decisions. And this story blew up — we’re talking thousands of hits on Youtube and plenty of positive publicity. This B2C business used the One Rand Man’s story to educate consumers on the power of making educated financial decisions. And where do you think those consumers turned to when they needed financial assistance? Of course, Sanlam.
What about B2B businesses, though? Does the same concept still apply? The truth is that many of you might believe incorporating this marketing tactic is time consuming or irrelevant to your business audience, but the truth is it works — with flying colors.
For those in the B2B world, you’ve probably heard of B2B referred to as “Boring 2 Boring.” Well, it’s time to end that and spice things up a bit. So, let’s explore marketing storytelling techniques you can use to take your B2B marketing strategy to the next level.
Why is storytelling important in B2B marketing?
You’ve probably turned to the usual suspects in your marketing efforts — urgency, fear, and shock. By doing so, you’ve hit your ideal customers’ pain points with discounts and shiny offers, however, the power of a story can take those one-time customers and make them brand evangelists.
Story-based marketing pulls at heartstrings and cultivates trust. Instead of thinking about your customer as a sale, and them thinking about you as just a product or service, you’re creating long-lasting relationships that break through the barriers of consumerism.
This is especially helpful for B2B businesses, where products and services can often be challenging for consumers to understand. Storytelling humanizes your brand and simplifies complex B2B topics by offering an alternative perspective.
Seven benefits of storytelling you should know
There are numerous benefits to utilizing storytelling as a marketing tactic, in particular, decreased customer acquisition costs and shorter sales cycles. When done right, story-infused messaging elevates and scales your business quicker than you believed possible.
1. Humanizes the brand and conveys personality
Dove portrays a sincere and authentic personality that’s inclusive for all no matter their skin tone, body shape, or complexion type. In a world where fashion brands and cosmetic powerhouses tell women how they should look, their story-infused messaging is a refreshing narrative changer.
How to bring this into B2B
Humans relate to other humans. So, think about how you can highlight the stories behind your team to create a connection with your target audience. As a B2B SaaS business, Dubsado does a really dashing job of highlighting their team’s backstory with super spunky copy. By simply incorporating the story behind your employees, you’re standing out from the sea of other businesses in your industry.
2. Creates emotional connections with the audience
To mention another example from Dove, this campaign showcases a little girl’s future being heavily influenced by all the beauty ads, and urges parents to start a conversation with their children about the industry before the ads do.
By explaining how these ads potentially influence the minds of young girls, Dove creates an emotional connection with parents. They don’t just buy Dove for the product benefits, they purchase from a brand that stands for an inclusive and positive message.
How to bring this into B2B
Let’s look at a video created by Zendesk called, “Sh*t Support Agents Say”. Zendesk is a B2B SaaS company that makes businesses better by appealing to both their teams and customers. In this video, they pull on the relatable emotions of a specific group of people within a business: customer support agents.
Think about a specific group of people within a business industry you’re targeting. How can you create a story-driven video that pulls on an emotion? How could you craft content around current events or values that matter to you and your target audience? By taking a stance, and weaving it into your brand messaging, you’ll create lasting impact and urge your audience to truly care.
3. Motivates customers
The image below is a snippet from the Dollar Shave Club website. This brand is well known for making it easy and fun for new customers to engage with their products and services.
Website visitors can quickly identify the right products and understand how they can become a member through the “Easiest Quiz Ever”, about their daily grooming routine and product needs.
This way, customers feel motivated as well as excited to see how Dollar Shave Club’s products could elevate their daily routine.
How to bring this into B2B
Let’s put this idea of motivating people to work for your B2B business. Motivating others doesn’t mean you need to stop what you’re doing and create a new quiz. Look at Zeb Evans, CEO and founder of ClickUp (a project management software). Each week he posts videos on Linkedin that motivate his target audience to join in on the conversation pertaining to work culture, localization, and even some of his biggest lessons scaling his team.
You can simply motivate your target audience to first engage with your brand by sharing behind the scenes moments and lessons you’re learning along the way. This inspires others and makes you more approachable, too.
Canva is not just a leading brand for amateur designers, but is also a go-to destination for its users to learn more about several aspects of their daily life at work.
How to bring this into B2B
Map out the types of people that work at the businesses you’re targeting. You have graphic designers, content marketers, business founders, and various other titles. Think about them and create blog content to appeal to their specific areas.
Maybe you do a series geared towards how content marketers could create more productivity in their daily lives by using your product or service. When you pose a solution to their individual stresses, they’ll be more likely to stick around if they feel seen and heard.
5. Also a great way to get new customers
To piggyback off the last point, because Canva’s blogs are super helpful, they’ll very likely get shared and act as free promotion on various channels.
Let’s take a peek at how Eddie Shleyner, the founder of Very Good Copy, incorporates this into his business. Each week he provides fresh micro articles with story-infused, quick writing tips. At the end he encourages — and makes it easy for — his audience to share with others.
How to bring this into B2B
Creating rich, educational, and snappy content for specific individuals within your target audience, and then making it easy for them to share with a friend, is a sure fire way to get lots of referrals.
6. Makes your content unique and exciting
Most of us would gladly binge watch Netflix given a day off and some freshly popped popcorn. We crave stories, and are ready to invest our time in those ones that pique our curiosity and help us relate.
One great example of this is the B2B software company in the UK called Advanced. In their “right the first time” campaign to increase brand awareness, they literally wove in fairytale elements from stories like “Jack and the Beanstalk”.
This helped their complex industry become more digestible. In fact, the CEO of ILTA mentioned he wanted his software to be “like the Goldilocks story: not too hot, not too cold, but just right”.
How to bring this into B2B
When applying this to your own B2B business, think about stories you read as a child and weave that into a “story-telling” animated video (or blog) series, but instead of the original characters, use your company characters (you being the trusty friend, your customer being the hero).
Using storytelling gives a unique and exciting edge to your brand messaging, as it helps people relate and engage with your content. So consider how you can use everyday stories we tell our kids in a new product or service you’re launching.
7. Shows a less “salesy” side of your business
Instead shoving “buy now!” or “purchase here!” CTAs down your customers’ throats, focus on copy that makes them laugh, piques their curiosity, and makes them feel in control. Take Barkbox, for instance: they do a really great job of using humor. In this tweet, you can see how their CTA totally makes their audience feel in control.
How to bring this into B2B
How can you be a bit more witty in your B2B copy? Look into what’s trending on social media, so that you can play into the bigger story of what’s happening in people’s daily lives and be more relatable. For example, Dave Harland is a well-known B2B copywriter in the UK and is popular for his witty and sarcastic LinkedIn posts that reflect his copywriting style and skills.
Core marketing storytelling techniques B2B can learn from B2C
As I mentioned earlier, it can often be challenging for B2B businesses to incorporate storytelling into their messaging because they’re not always talking to the decision maker, unlike B2C consumers. However, it is possible, and I’m going to show you exactly how you can break it down to build it back up— with a story.
1. Build up a brand with personality
Just like you have a playful, serious, humorous, or charismatic personality, your brand has one, too. Think of it as a living, breathing being. To truly humanize your brand, it’s important to give it a personality. Here are some common brand personalities that might resonate with your brand:
Educational: like the Moz Blog you’re reading from right now. Does your brand consistently create content to inform others about a different perspective, how your products work, or how-to do something?
Entertaining: like Netflix. Is your brand meant to distract others from the chaos of the world, and for a moment just forget their worries?
Disruptive/Rebellious: like Harley Davidson. A wild-at-heart kind of brand that’s not afraid to take risks.
Sensual and Luxurious: like Red Saint Botanical, a true spirit-based beverage brewed from rare teas. Does your brand ooze sophistication and scream refreshing?
Efficient and Motivational: like Nike. Maybe your brand’s heart beats like a champion and is eager to motivate others.
Happy: like Coca-Cola. If your brand’s sole mission is to cultivate joy, laughter, and radiance then happiness is its identity.
Even with B2B, your brand personality doesn’t have to fit in one of these boxes, as they’re simply suggestions. Play around with identities and characteristics that feel right to you by diving deeper into your brand values.
2. Create an authentic and original narrative
Every piece of content that you publish should tell a story. Whether it’s an email, newsletter, Instagram post, or blog article, the messaging should be universal, memorable, consistent, and organized. Focusing on these elements will strengthen your content strategy and make it more powerful, and therefore unique. Let’s now take a look at content authenticity in action.
Since 1973, Patagonia has always put out authentic content, constantly showcasing its brand values, company culture, and ethics. It’s evident through stories like trail runner Felipe Cancino’s of running through the Maipo River Valley, showcasing how Alto Maipo hydropower is greatly affecting the ecosystem, that Patagonia cares about our environment.
In another story, Daniel taps into the mind of a beginner by teaching his daughter to surf. It’s clear that Patagonia not only cares for the environment, but also about how bonding over an outdoor activity cultivates healthy relationships.
As you can see, consistently pushing out content that aligns with your values and brand personality builds a strong bond between your business and customers that can’t be broken.
How to bring this into B2B
Microsoft is both a B2B and B2C brand that offers a wide range of products. In an effort to share business-related stories about how their products are used, they developed Microsoft Story Labs. This was a true win-win, because Microsoft now has user-generated content to share across other channels, and users become more connected to the brand by sharing their stories.
3. Wholeheartedly embrace emotion
Displaying strong emotions helps consumers understand they’re not alone and that they can help a cause greater than themselves, especially when they have a brand by their side.
Toms is a great example of this. On their impact page, they outline their aim to use the profits from their business to contribute to the issues of food scarcity and lack of resources in minority communities.
Overall, consumers are keen to see a strong emotional connection to greater issues that matter, and they’ll be more likely to support a brand that displays this.
How to bring this into B2B
Your audience is made up of individuals, so the emotional element (which is often overlooked in B2B) needs to be a large component to drive the message home. In the same way that B2C does, write out their fears, joys, and anxieties and tie that into how your business could elevate or diminish those feelings.
4. Get to know your audience
Freaker USA, a brand that created a funky universal jacket, wrote this on their about page: “Your little one’s sippy cup can be just as freaked as your 40oz Colt.”
This copy shows how well they know their audience. They understand sometimes parents need a one-size-fits-all product that will keep a child’s milk warm (and stylish) and something for their own adult beverage.
How to bring this into B2B
Simply ask your current clients through interviews, or conduct market research on look alike audiences to get to know them better. Get to know their quirks and nuances by asking them open-ended questions so that you can get first-hand insight that you may not have gotten otherwise.
A business that has managed to understand even the tiniest details about its customers can really nail their paint points. Knowing their basic age, ethnicity, or location isn’t enough — get to know what they like at Starbucks, how they celebrate their birthday, or what Netflix shows they watch. When you understand these specific details, you can surprise them and communicate in their language to stay top of mind.
The bottom line? The better you know your audience, the deeper your relationship with them can be.
5. Make it personal
Snapchat’s Bitmoji app launched in 2016, allowing users to create their own emoji (bitmoji) based on their appearance. Snapchat managed to bring out customers’ inner child through the creation of cartoon-like figures, which they can exchange amongst their contact list.
How to bring this into B2B
People want to feel unique, and they’re drawn to messages that appeal to their personality and way of thinking. The more ways you personalize your content, user experience, or messaging to showcase this, the more they’ll be tempted to try your brand.
Plus, using personalization on your website is a surefire way to grab your audience’s attention. For example, you could offer a targeted lead magnet like a marketing template for those in that sector, or you could integrate a chatbot with pre-set answers so they’ll be directed exactly where they want to go.
6. Hone in on data
As the years go on and we become more integrated with technology, data will continue to play a huge role in how we personalize experiences for consumers.
For instance, Refinery29 used data to showcase how plus-sized women are not adequately represented within images online. They incorporated this data in their brand strategy, and started shooting images and redesigning illustrations to accurately reflect real women in the US.
How to bring this into B2B
By using data and tying it to topics your B2B brand cares about, you can quickly form new and interesting stories, which in turn create an emotional connection with your audience. Collect data on your own marketing campaigns — social media in particular — to find stories that are already working for your brand, and scale accordingly.
Start implementing storytelling into your B2B marketing strategy
Storytelling not only solves some of your biggest B2B business issues (you’re familiar with dreadfully long sales cycles or unengaged prospects), but it can also nourish life-long relationships with customers to create a bigger impact. At the end of the day… isn’t that what we as marketers want?
The marketing storytelling techniques that B2C businesses use are very similar for B2B businesses, too:
Knowing Your Audience
Use of Data
You’ll come to find that the benefits always outweigh the effort a B2B business spends on this process.
By studying B2C brand storytelling (like the One Ran Man story from earlier), you can apply that same mentality and strategy into your B2B business to reap the same benefits.
Paraphrasing tools are getting extremely popular, especially among bloggers. The reason is that these tools allow them to rewrite some of the old stuff with very high accuracy.
Uniqueness is the most important factor that determines the search engine ranking of your website. Most search engines determine the worth of your site by looking at the content that you post.
This is why you need to make sure the material you write in your blog contains zero plagiarism. For this purpose, you can use paraphrasing tools. These tools allow you to come up with unique ideas, words, and phrases that you incorporate into your blog to increase readability as well as reader engagement.
What is a Paraphrasing Tool?
A paraphrasing tool can be used to generate new text to explain existing ideas, concepts, or themes. These tools take minutes to convert your old text into an entirely new form having new phrases, words, and synonyms while keeping the original theme intact.
These tools improve the readability, grammar, and other key aspects of your text to make it coherent and consistent. These tools use AI technology to make your content unique and to improve the tone, style, and other features.
There are many reasons to use these tools and in this next section we will take a look at some of these
1. Complete Analysis of Your Content
Before rephrasing your content, these tools analyze it completely to determine a few key things. These include word count, readability, spelling and grammar mistakes, and the main theme and tone of the content.
This complete analysis allows these tools to generate highly accurate content that you can post on your blog without fearing plagiarism.
These tools are very accurate when analyzing your content and that allows you to trust these completely to perform paraphrasing for you.
2. Changing Content Tone
The tone of your content is what separates it from others and engages your audience. Paraphrasing tools can rewrite your material while giving it a pleasant and consistent tone.
These tools can make adjustments that make your content easy to read, understand, and digest. By working on the tone of your text, these tools make it SEO-friendly which leads to better search engine ranking.
3. Better Content Flow
When writing content for your SEO or blogs, you need to make it seem like it’s connected and flowing in a consistent manner. Writing about different stuff randomly makes it seem all over the place which leaves a bad impression on your readers.
Paraphrasing tools can help you improve the flow of information that you provide in your content. This makes it more concise and understandable.
Some Ways in Which Paraphrasing Tools Can Improve Your Blogs
Paraphrasing tools are really a blessing for bloggers and general content writers. These tools save time and offer very high accuracy.
Here are some of the main ways in which such tools can help you write plagiarism-free blogs
1. Replacing Words with Synonyms
The main reason these tools are effective is that they offer a number of synonyms for every word in the content. You can use these tools to replace single words, phrases, sentences, or even paragraphs.
The paraphrase online turns your entire text into something new which makes it free from plagiarism of every type.
2. Improve Spellings and Grammar
Paraphrasing tools improve the grammatical errors and inconsistencies in your original text. These tools highlight lines that need to be changed and you can use some other tool to eliminate these errors.
These tools also identify and remove spelling mistakes as well. The final content that you get from these tools is immaculate in every way. It is consistent with the main theme and each sentence flows from the last one.
3. Save Time and Energy
Paraphrasing without a tool can take so much of your time and energy. You need to consult various sources to learn new words and ideas to incorporate into your text which is very time-consuming.
Paraphrasing tools help you save a lot of time by rewriting more than 1000 words in a matter of a few minutes. Doing this yourself can take several hours which you can spend on something more important.
Hiring content writers to write unique content for your blog is quite expensive. You have to spend a lot if you hire someone else to rewrite content for you and there is still no guarantee that the contest will be plagiarism-free.
You can find several free paraphrasing tools online to do that for you. These tools require no registration or login which means you can just go online and convert the text instantly.
5. Creative Writing
Most paraphrasing tools can help you write creative content. These tools take your words and phrases as prompts and use AI to write creative material that you can post on your blog.
This is especially helpful for a writer suffering from writer’s block. These tools can inspire them to look at things from a different perspective. This improves their skill as a writer and enhances the quality of their content.
So, these are some of the few ways in which paraphrasing tools can help you improve the content of your blogs. These tools can help you write better material that has zero grammatical errors and is more engaging.
Without these tools, you will only be wasting your time and money with little to get in return. Paraphrasing tools are being used both by academic and non-academic persons who often find it hard to rewrite stuff due to having limited vocabulary and a grasp of grammar.
Now you know what are some of the major benefits of using paraphrasing tools when writing content for your blogs. These tools can lead to better content for your blogs that is both search engine friendly and engaging.
We hope this stuff helps and we suggest you to use these tools for improving your skills as a blog writer.
As digital marketers face a rapidly growing market and higher competition, the structure and effectiveness of paid advertising campaigns become more complex. Optimization, visibility and improving processes matter now more than ever.
But, it can be easy to lose visibility over what needs to be done and how those campaigns perform. This can lead to subpar results and a lack of understanding of how to improve your next campaigns.
In this informative SMX Advanced session, Nadiia Sharipova from Wrike, now part of Citrix, addresses three keys to digital marketing transformation:
Why optimization and visibility matter
How to reduce your competition in key areas
Critical processes that help improve CRO
Join the session to learn better visibility and workflow for your search engine initiatives, how companies like Hootsuite optimized their workflows to reduce complexity and the essential tools and strategies you need to do your best work.
After watching the presentation, you’ll be able to:
Identify pitfalls negatively impacting your search campaigns
Discover solutions for establishing better visibility over assets and results
Streamline SEM/PPC campaign workflows and optimize collaboration
About The Author
Wrike, the world’s most versatile collaborative work management solution, has transformed the way marketing teams work together. Bringing everyone into a single digital workspace makes it easy to monitor progress, identify dependencies, and keep collaboration and projects on track. With Wrike, marketers can increase agility and velocity by automating workflows to achieve aggressive growth goals. Create and launch complex, integrated campaigns at scale across multiple channels and geographies knowing you’re maintaining visual brand consistency and quality. Improve external and internal customer experience no matter how complex your campaigns are or how many marketing channels you’re operating. Wrike accelerates creative production, increases on-time delivery, and makes maintaining brand consistency easier.
One of the best things about being a content writer is that no matter the topic, we have a lot of insights at our fingertips. You can use it to provide perspective, validate ideas, give more context, etc.
Of course, all that data also is one of the worst things for a content writer. How do you dig out the story behind the numbers without getting buried under the mountains of facts and stats?
At Stacker, we shape our newswire stories around data and use it to drive all our storytelling. We’ve found the best-performing articles – regardless of topic – share similar strategic data-centered approaches. Here’s some of what we learned by creating data-driven content that engages audiences and earns links from other sites.
Go local and meet readers where they are
A story tailored to a region, state, or city feels instantly relatable and captures the attention of readers’ living in that geographic area. In fact, 71% of our publishing partners say their most-prioritized stories have local news angles.
Narrowing data-driven stories to a state or metro level may seem limiting. Content writers think the more hyper-focused a story, the smaller the reach. But presenting localized data doesn’t have to be an either-or choice.
CNBC didn’t make a choice in their story about how much the top 1% of U.S. households earn each year. It mentioned the broadest geographic figure – the national number ($597,815 a year on average). Then it detailed the average for each state, from West Virginia’s $350,000 to Connecticut’s $896,490.
CNBC gives its data-driven story national and hyper-local appeal.
Takeaway: Data at a state- or city-level can have local appeal while still connecting to a newsy national trend. It also opens up your content’s promotion potential to national and local news sites.
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
Host a hometown showdown by comparing data
People love comparing their corner of the world with others. A recent Redfin report found an unprecedented 8% of U.S. homes are now worth at least $1 million. The story didn’t just reveal the top five or 10 cities but ranked 99 so readers can see how million-dollar neighborhoods compare to other million-dollar neighborhoods.
In this snippet of the comparison content, six of the cities are in California – half of which have a 50% or greater share of homes worth at least $1 million in 2022. Other cities at the top of the list include Honolulu, Seattle, and New York City.
A snippet from Redfin’s story that ranks home price data by state.
When people can see their cities’ results juxtaposed with others, it puts the information into a more powerful context. Ranking stories, such as states with the lowest income taxes or the cities with the highest rent, often perform well.
Writing headlines with phrases like “highest-to-lowest,” “biggest increase,” and “lowest-priced” also signals to readers the underlying numbers-driven methodology used in the content. They not only reinforce the data-first approach, but they build confidence in the prospective reader that the content is powered by data, not opinion.
Takeaway: Use data-driven rankings to tap into readers’ curiosity by showing how their region compares with others in timely trends.
Let time tell the story by thinking past the latest data
Many content creators understandably focus on building a story around the latest numbers or study results to be relevant and trendy.
But pulling in a bit of history through older data sets can add a richer dimension to the storytelling. Not only does historic information add more context to the latest data or breaking news, but it helps the piece become more evergreen. Long after a news headline fades, readers may be still interested in the richly layered content.
Stacker used historical data to highlight how the American commute has changed over time.
Without adding historical data, it would have been impossible to highlight that the average length of work commutes has increased 10% since 2006. This contextualization offers a perspective that wouldn’t be possible by only detailing the current average commute time.
Self, a credit-building app, mapped poverty levels state by state using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Instead of just mapping the country with the latest poverty rates for each state, the story also charted the rates over time. With this valuable context, readers could see how states’ poverty rates rose and sank after natural disasters, financial booms and busts, and ultimately COVID-19, giving a more thoughtful story that identified contributors to those poverty rate changes.
Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce tackled the value of higher education with another data-centered approach: It looked at the salaries of college graduates in 10-year increments since their enrollment. The findings, picked up by Yahoo! Finance and others, assessed how many decades it took for a student to earn a return on investment on the cost of their college.
Takeaway: Using data over time can add richer context to what numbers mean today – and make the content feel more evergreen.
Liven up humdrum stories with different data filters
Data-driven stories emphasize relatability – they can connect better with your audience and often present a new angle that stands out from your same old story approaches. You can find local angles, make a comparison, and use historical data to provide unique context.
Unsure what data to start with? Poke around government sites like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Education. They can be great places to dig into and see how national-level data looks when filtered across industries, career fields, household incomes, metropolitan areas, and more. By adding focused data to your content, you can tell stories that feel more personalized – and meaningful – to your readers.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute