Brand storytelling needs to come into its own in 2016. With concerns over incipient content shock, we need to be telling better stories that inspire and entertain. So, for those in charge of ushering your brand story into the future, here are some ideas for goals you can set for 2016. Adopt even one of these tactics and you’ll be well on your way to a brand storytelling strategy that works for you and your company.
1. Build An Editorial Calendar (And Stick To It)
Editorial calendars can feel like a total beast, but they work. Schedule a meeting right now to hammer out some themes and goals for your content team. If seasonal promotions are appropriate for your business, start planning them out now, so you’re not frantically drafting content with twenty minutes on the clock.
This year, we started using Coschedule to maintain our editorial calendar, and we really like how it hooks up with WordPress and Buffer to streamline our process. If you have no idea how to set up an editorial calendar, this post from Unbounce is a great crash course.
Remember that editorial calendars only work if you stick to them. Make your calendar easy to use and edit, and freely share them with your whole content team.
2. Develop A Better Brand Story
Remember, great brand storytelling is relating emotionally powerful data in a way that builds connection and changes minds. We’ve spoken a lot about how honest storytelling is profoundly valuable and how you need to be authentic to have an impact. People are experts at sniffing out fake stories – don’t fall into that trap. No idea how to get started in brand storytelling? Our Storytelling Fundamentals series has a lot of great tips to get you started.
3. Own Your Analytics
Really, you need data to help you make decisions. Schedule a time to plumb your analytics for both your social media and your website and collect information. Have no idea where to get started? SproutSocial is an Echo fave to get to grips with your social performance. As for your website, here is a totally useful course on Google Analytics. Once you have that data, feed it back to your strategy. We’ve talked about how to do this specifically regarding social media in this post and this is a smart take on how to use analytics to plan out your editorial calendar.
4. Develop Your Personas
Brand storytelling is a lot easier with a clearly defined audience. Knowing who you want to reach makes decision-making far more straightforward. Research your customers. What do they like? What do they hate? What are they scared of? Why do they buy something? What do they read? Make richly detailed descriptions of their lives. As you engage in this process, think about what kinds of stories would motivate and inspire them.
Buffer gives more information on building personas, and Xtensio has a fun, free tool for developing graphic one-pagers for them. Once you’ve developed those personals, further develop content ideas that cater to them. Refer to them by their first name. Make decisions based on your knowledge of these people. The benefits will soon be apparent.
5. Find Your Why
Why do you get out of bed in the morning, and why should anyone care?
This is the question asked by Simon Sinek in his now-famous TED talk on the power of why. (Here it is, if you haven’t seen it yet.)
Finding your why is a big task. You’re unlikely to find the answer in this blog post (sorry). Knowing your why can change the course of your life, and it might take you a whole year to come to an answer you’re happy with. To get you started, here are four helpful questions.
- What makes you feel alive?
- What are you good at?
- Where can you make a valuable contribution?
- How do you measure success?
Once you’ve done so, repeat the process for your company. The best brand storytelling can empower and inspire. How does it do that? It explains the why with compelling plot. Getting to your why is the first step of this process.
Build some big goals into your year. We’d love to hear them at @echostories or at firstname.lastname@example.org. When better stories are being told, we’re firmly convinced that this world gets a bit happier, a bit more optimistic and a lot more fun.
Here’s to 2016!