Content writing can be a myriad of responsibilities in one role. On one hand, you’re trying to flex your creative strength to connect with and engage your audience through real stories. On the other hand, you’re trying to utilize data to make decisions about the type of stories you should tell and how to turn those stories into actual conversions.
A few weeks ago at Unbounce’s Call to Action conference, multiple speakers and attendees discussed the best strategies for walking the often towed content marketing line of creative and strategic. So what was the consensus? Apparently, those who know (or should know according to their Twitter bios) believe that even though data is a great starting point, storytelling should always take place in the front of or at least in accordance with a data-driven strategy. Here are a few of those actionable takeaways from the conference that you can utilize to merge your left and right brain for better content.
In her session titled “The Irresistible Power Of Strategic Storytelling,” Kindra Hall told a theater full of data-driven marketers that their beloved metrics weren’t quite enough when it came to strategic storytelling. When it comes to conversion driven content, she said “A story is not awesome data. Data will tell you what story to tell, and who to tell the story to, but if you just stop at the data you’re missing it. You’re not telling a story.” She also explained to the crowd what that story should consist of, and how the biggest story mistake is alluding to a story without parsing out the details.
Joining Kindra Hall on the storytelling train was speaker Joel Klettke. His session was titled “How to Read Your Customers’ Minds,” and once my disappointment around not gaining psychic ability through his session subsided, I was surprised by how many overlooked actionable strategies he outlined that seem obvious to me now. For instance, he shared his process of poaching the sentiment used in customer reviews to build a deeper messaging strategy for your content and brand, saying, “It’s more important to know what your customers think of your product and not what your marketing team thinks of your product.” Why? Your customers know their pain points, anxieties, and needs – it’s your job to relate to them through (you guessed it) your story – and what better way to relate than showing them you understand their needs by mirroring them in your content?
The last session I’ll mention is one where I, as a persona data-hoarder /researcher felt personally attacked (I’m kidding… kind of). In the session aptly titled, “Out With User Personas: Creating Compelling, High-Converting Campaigns Using Jobs To Be Done,” Claire Suellentrop delivered a sermon on how the traditional study of customers should be flipped on its head: instead of looking at trait based personas focus on the customer’s needs. Her admittedly more holistic method focused on (JTBD) or Jobs to Be Done – a method that focuses on discovering the need your product meets for people. Similar to what Joel mentioned, this deeper understanding makes for not only drastically more relevant campaigns but also overall higher-converting marketing campaigns.
Each of these speakers had a fresh take on data as a means to creating content, but they also understood that storytelling was more about the reader than the writer or in our case, more about the customer than the marketer – something that all conversion-focused content marketers should get behind.
Want to learn a new way to channel data into engaging stories? Check out this post on how you can use tools like call tracking for content marketing.