What the Easter Bunny Can Teach Us About the Power of Storytelling in B2B Marketing

Read time: 7 minutes

 

What can the Easter Bunny teach us about the power of storytelling in B2B marketing, and how can we apply narrative content lessons in our activities?

 

Contents

Getting ideas for your narrative content

Interview subject matter experts

How to use the power of storytelling in B2B marketing

8 storytelling marketing tips, straight from the rabbit's mouth

 

It's that time of the year again when millions of marketers dive headfirst out of the office and into pools of liquid Dairy Milk. For this, we have the Easter Bunny to thank.

 

Originating out of Germany, legend has it that the Easter Bunny lays, decorates and hides eggs as a symbol of new life. He (or she, I haven't stopped to ask) doesn't do all this work alone. If you're reading this from Switzerland, you might be waiting on a visit from a cuckoo. Up until a few centuries ago in Germany it was a fox.

 

Regardless of which woodland critter delivers your treats, the remarkable story surrounding the holiday continues to capture children’s imaginations year after year, evoking many questions as recently demonstrated by Becky's seven year old son:

 

  • Does the Easter Bunny have keys to all the houses in the world to drop off eggs if it rains?
  • Do you think the Easter Bunny has giant paws or little ones like real rabbits but with lots and lots of helpers?
  • Do rabbits drink water from streams? If so, can we go down to the stream with a cup and get water for the Easter Bunny?

 

The concept of a rabbit delivering eggs might not lend itself so well to your SaaS marketing, but B2B marketers across all industries and business sizes are advised to take note: the storytelling lesson still stands.

 

Stories are how people make sense of themselves and the world around them, giving context and meaning to information that would otherwise be forgotten hours, minutes, or seconds later. They can be told across a variety of forms, from articles and case stories to engaging videos. Most importantly in my opinion, they appeal to our emotions, and for this reason if nothing else they belong in all areas of marketing.

 

So where can you find stories, and how can you draw from the power of storytelling in B2B marketing?

 

the power of storytelling in b2b marketing

 

Getting ideas for your narrative content

 

Are you implementing a content marketing strategy, but struggling to come up with sufficient story ideas?

 

It can be frustrating trying to find inspiration for new written or visual content. One solution, in my experience, can be finding ways to leverage the insight and creativity of the sales team. Whether you end up speaking to sales people individually or in a group meeting, here’s how you can collect their thoughts and ideas, quickly and effectively.

 

  1. Ask the sales team what content they want

 

Dive straight in. It’s likely that they’re struggling to fit the content you’re producing into their introductory and follow-up emails—or they might not even be aware of the content you’ve created.

 

Run through the content already available to them and ask if there’s anything missing, or if there’s something in particular that could really help them close a deal faster. Put yourself in the position where you're helping them to do their job better.

 

I can guarantee there will have been times when a member of the sales team has said ‘I really wish I had XYZ to send to this prospect!’, so get them to share these insights with you.

 

  1. Get them to share customer and prospect questions

 

A salesperson’s inbox will be an absolute goldmine for content ideas. Ask them to bcc you into their email correspondence so you have a constant stream of ideas for blog titles. This is also a great way to find out which questions keep coming up. When you find one, craft an article to answer it and encourage your sales team to link to it in their emails.

 

It’s likely that they’ll have a few different ways to answer the question, and you can improve your article based on their feedback. Doing this will also save them time, and they’ll be able to see the benefits as soon as they’ve used your article in their emails.

 

Of course, there’s every chance they might not be too comfortable sharing their emails with you—so an alternative could be ask them to send you a list of all the questions they were asked that day, week or month. This is a little more time consuming, so point out that bcc’ing you is the quicker option.

 

  1. Schedule meetings for sales and marketing alignment

 

This is another one that is dependent on time, but if both sales and marketing teams are able to schedule a meeting once a week (or even once a month) it will help to keep everyone up-to-date and provide another opportunity to surface new content ideas.

 

Sales and marketing alignment meetings are also a great place for both teams to discuss:

 

  • The efficiency of the sales process
  • Lead scoring and sales qualification
  • Mapping your existing content to the different stages of the buyer’s journey
  • How well specific pieces of content are performing
  • If any improvements can be made

 

Sales and marketing teams should aim to be in constant communication with each other. That way, you can always ensure you’re all working together towards the same goal.

 

Interview subject matter experts

 

Whether you're interviewing sales, customer service, or John from Product Innovation, it helps to be able to get the information you're looking for as quickly as possible.

 

Some tips for when you assume the journalist position:

 

  • Who are the experts? The movers, the shakers, the product makers? (John, that means you.) Experience often comes hand-in-hand with stories.
  • Confidence is key. Don't be intimidated by seniority, although I appreciate that's easier said than done. Learn how to carry yourself in an interview.
  • Record, record, record! Whether you're producing a full-scale video interview or you want to catch all the details of an audio for transcription later, consider how you're going to do this. (Always ask permission before recording someone!)

Everyone has stories. By taking the time to engage someone from further afield than marketing, you're creating opportunities to listen for those stories. If you listen closely, and you have an ear for it, you might just hear something special.

How to use the power of storytelling in B2B marketing

 

Storytelling isn’t easy. We’ve all read a book or watched a film and been disappointed. If the story doesn’t hook you in the first few minutes, you’ll find your mind wandering. If it takes a turn that doesn’t make sense to you, you’ll feel confused. Inconsistencies in the narrative can break the illusion and damage your faith in the story. If it doesn’t end in a satisfying way, you’ll probably leave a negative review somewhere.

 

As a starting point, we recommend you pay attention to these four key areas when drafting a piece of narrative content.

 

  1. Character

 

It's no secret that marketers have a tendency to put their company or brand centre stage in their content. This is probably one of the biggest reasons why businesses new to content marketing struggle. Nobody wants to read a piece of content about your brand. That’s an advert.

 

To tell an engaging story, put your target buyer centre stage. This shouldn’t be difficult, if you’ve been thorough with your buyer personas. You know them inside out. Make it as easy as possible for the reader to imagine themselves in the scenario you’re relating and they’ll be engaged to the end.

 

  1. Conflict

 

You have your character. Where is the conflict? What is the tension? What is happening to make the story interesting, surprising, or cautionary?

 

By building your personas’ challenges into their stories, you are including challenges that you know your reader can relate to. Now they’re not only imagining themselves in the story, they’ve invested in it. They feel the character’s struggle and they want to see it resolved.

 

  1. Story arc

 

Stories have beginnings, middles, and ends. This is how we experience stories and this is how we expect them to unfold. By building this arc clearly into your content, you provide a familiar framework that the reader understands and can follow.

 

You can use story arc in more creative ways, too. Consider offering a gated resource, checklist, or some other download as the resolution to the story. If it's a logical next step in the story you're telling and the reader is invested, then they’re more likely to convert.

 

  1. Keep it real

 

Reality is not something we always immediately associate with stories, but even fiction depends on it to engage the reader. If the representation of a character isn’t convincing, for example, the story’s hold often breaks. If their emotions don’t seem genuine, we don’t relate.

 

In the context of narrative content, this comes back to trust and plausibility. Root your content in something tangible and relevant to the buyer persona’s situation, like a real-life case study, and the reader is far more likely to engage with it. Use real-life details and examples to maintain authenticity.

 

It’s important to take your reader on a journey, from the moment they arrive at your homepage right up until they decide to reach out to you for help. And increasingly, as traditional SEO becomes less relevant and search engines become smarter, stories are your way of connecting with a prospect, of starting a conversation.

  

8 storytelling marketing tips, straight from the rabbit's mouth

 
  1. Would your target audience share it? Is it something worthy of their remarks? If so, it's probably remarkable.
  2. Does it offer a unique—or even controversial—perspective on a topic?
  3. Does it contain original data?
  4. Is the way you present information different than the norm?
  5. Is it thought-provoking?
  6. Is it timely?
  7. Is the idea conveyed in a way that is easy to understand?
  8. Does the overall content exemplify a high standard of quality?

 

Stories excite us in ways that facts and statistics can’t and that's powerful, especially when you've got your content cap on.

 

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Tom Brown

About the Author
Tom Brown
I'm a content marketer who loves language, storytelling, and lizards.

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