You have to tell a story — a great story — to get people to listen. You need to create a narrative that grabs and holds their attention. This isn’t easy, and there are many misguided attempts to master “storytelling” as a marketing tool, especially with how popular and buzzworthy this phrase has become of late.
So why do so many agencies fail at creating compelling stories? Here are a few points to pass on the road map to successful conversation building.
Create Useful Content
Creating and utilizing content is deceivingly simple to describe but incredibly difficult to do well. When you create content that speaks to your clients’ needs, you’ll capture their interest. If you go out of your way to be helpful and relevant, they’ll want to talk to you about the content. If your content helps them get more of what they want, like sales, or less of what they don’t want, like wasted time, you’ll be perceived as credible.
Stories to Start Conversations
Credibility is established by the value of what you share. It’s no different from having a regular conversation with someone. We all want to keep talking to people who are interesting to us, as well as people whose words are relevant to our own lives and experiences. If we’re introduced to someone who just talks about themselves or about topics we don't care about, we’re much less likely to stay engaged in the conversation.
As an agency, you have to make the conversation about your clients, their needs and what they care about. Don’t tell them how great your business is; show them how much your business could help them. Create client-centered conversations. They should walk away intrigued by what you have to offer, and they should want to know what happens next in the story.
Share to Inspire
In theory, agencies should be perfectly structured to create content so intriguing that people never want to leave the conversation. But the reality is that most agencies are paranoid about sharing anything of genuine value because they fear their competition might see it or that they might turn away potential clients because of what is posted.
They’re also afraid that if they give knowledge away for free, the reader might never become a client. This is why most agencies are still just curating content or talking about their business, which of course means they’re not inspiring anyone. They are simply restating their company slogan or biography to exhaustion. If what you have to offer is high quality and helpful to the client, he or she will come back.
Build a Content Strategy That Complements Other Marketing Initiatives
The easiest way to create a content strategy that complements an agency’s other marketing initiatives is to stop viewing it as a separate silo. An agency shouldn’t have a content marketing plan and a new business plan. It should have one plan that focuses on promoting the agency and its unique brand, generating new business and growing the agency’s reach and influence.
Within that plan should be both online and offline efforts. The entire plan should be built on the hub-and-spoke model, and every effort should lead back to the agency’s website to cement its brand and expertise. In other words, every agency should view its motto as “one agency, one effort.” You will need many different on- and offline tools, but they should all be utilized to move the agency toward the same outcomes.
Find and understand your clients’ biggest needs and desires. You can then begin to craft stories that focus on those needs — stories that make clients focus on what they want to achieve. When it comes to the next chapter for their business, they just might remember how your story helped inspire their own.
How are you telling your agency’s story? How are you helping build your clients’ story?