4 Benefits To Story Driven Marketing

4 Benefits To Story Driven Marketing

Brand storytelling isn’t a new concept. So in a sense, this blog might just be rehashing old ideas. But here’s the thing. Only the bigger businesses seem to be doing it. Why do you think the John Lewis adverts get such attention every year? Because they tell a story in the space of 1 minute. Something compelling and charming that connects the viewer with the advert from the first few seconds. And guess what? John Lewis’s sales soar after those ad’s air. There’s not any question about it anymore – if you want to make your brand stand out, you need to be telling stories. But in case that wasn’t enough of a reason (and hey, it might not be), I’ve pulled together a few more you for,

 

Why We Crave Stories

 

Here’s a nice, juicy reason to indulge in your fantastical side now and then. Our brains are hard-wired to respond to and crave stories. Seriously. Various neurological studies have proven that our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than cold, hard facts. That’s because when we read straight data, only the language parts of our brains are activated, working to decode the meaning behind it. But what scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive. Words like “lavender,” “cinnamon” and “soap,” for example, elicit a response not only from the language-processing areas of our brains but also those devoted to dealing with smells. So when we read a story, it’s not just the language centre of our brain that lights up – all of the other areas of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing the events light up too. When we read stories, they imprint themselves on us, meaning they are easier to remember in the future.

 

As well as being hard-wired to respond to them, our brains are creating their own stories all the time, to fill in the gaps. We spend around a third of our lives daydreaming – our minds constantly looking for distractions. The only time we stop flitting from daydream to daydream is when we have a good story in front of us. So if you want to capture the full attention of your customers, the best way to do it is to give them that story

Show Off Your Personality

In an age where ‘people buy people’, giving your brand a personality is everything. While you may be able to do that in your everyday marketing to some extent, there is nothing like telling a story to shine a light on your brand voice. Your stories could be created by your brand, following your brand voice, or they could be created by your customers – who will share similar values and reinforce your brand personality at every stage. Some businesses we’ve met are worried about letting their personalities come through – but think about that for a second. If your brand ha no personality, then what sets it apart from the rest of the marketplace? What is there to attract customers to you, and not someone else? Never be afraid of putting your personality into your marketing. Tell customers a story, and make sure they hear it in your voice.

 

 Push Your Brand Front And Centre 

 

Some time ago the CEO of Jeep UK (Damien Dally) commented on story telling. “Storytelling in the automotive industry has been key in marketing campaigns for some time, especially since the advent of interactive/social media. This can be something metaphoric, yet simple, like a journey, to something more in-depth, with use of roles and a plot for the more adventurous. Portraying your brand as the protagonist, in either case, is essential.” In other words, storytelling is what links the brand with the story’s values. So whatever story you’re telling, your brand will be intrinsically linked to that message. You could use this to subtly position yourself above the competition, or as the maverick champion of the customer’s values. It’s about standing out, without being complicated about it.

 

 Hit The Emotions

 

Successful stories are successful for just one reason. They make us feel something. Even after we’ve finished reading or hearing them, they have a way of bringing back those feelings when we think about them. Storytelling is the best way to hit an emotional chord with your customers, so get tucked in for Storytime! But one caveat – make sure the stories you’re telling are real, at least for the most part. The last thing you want is to be caught in a fairy-tale lie because you wanted to pull on the old heartstrings. Your customers will see right through it and think less of you for it.

 

 Get Them Hooked

 

If there is one thing the human brain can’t resist, it’s a cliff-hanger. We desperately crave closure, and we always want to know how something ends before we can move on. So it’s really simple – tell them a story that never ends. Use every part of your marketing to keep the story going, and you will keep people’s attention along the way. Always leave them wanting more. And FYI, ‘more’ can manifest itself in any way you can imagine, so switch it up. Don’t let your method become stale and detract from your story. Use a variety of methods to tell your story, and push it out onto as many platforms as possible.

 

At Eleven Eight, we specialise in putting the personality back into your business copy. Through blogs, white papers and even your web copy, we can highlight your brand voice and attract more readers to your website. All you’ve got to do is seal the deal! If you want to know more, come find me in my office, or drop me a line for a chat.

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Which Hogwarts House Does Your Content Belong To?

Which Hogwarts House Does Your Content Belong To?

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a bit of a Potterhead. Harry Potter came out in 1997, when I was just 6 years old. As an avid bookworm, I had my head in the first book almost as soon as it could get from the book shop shelves and into my eager hands. I grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione, and even now as an adult, 20 years on, the world of wizardry holds a special place in my heart. And it was while I was re-reading one of these books that it struck me – J.K.Rowling created a schooling system with 4 houses, sorting children based on their most prominent qualities. Those house values are all grounded in reality, and create the framework for a selection of compelling and contrasting characters, each with their own appeal. And for many content marketers, their approach to content will fall into similar categories. So the question is, which House does your content belong to, and which House would you choose to be in?

 

Gryffindor – The Brave

“You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart. Their daring, nerve and chivalry set Gryffindors apart”

Let’s start with the ‘star’ house of the series. The three stars of the show all belonged in Gryffindor, thanks to their courage, spirit and bravery in everything they do. No Gryffindor is afraid of a challenge, and will try anything at least once. For the marketing world, that means you need to be willing to try new things. Don’t just stick to the same one or two marketing strategies you always have. Instead, face your fears and delve into the unknown. That could be trying out a new platform, posting new types of content or even hitting the ‘send’ button on an experimental new campaign. Be a beacon for the bold, the bright and the adventure-loving, and they will come to you.

 

Hufflepuff – The Empathetic 

 

“You might belong in Hufflepuff, where they are just and loyal. Those patient Hufflepuffs are true and unafraid of toil”

Hufflepuffs might be the butt of many jokes, but their values are something everyone should aspire to, regardless of if you’re in marketing or not. Hufflepuff house is all about hard work, loyalty and trustworthiness. Which is exactly what you want out of a brand. If you lean towards Hufflepuff, your content marketing will be naturally focussed on honesty, integrity and crafting a genuine connection with your readers. Empathy is an amazing quality, and true Hufflepuff marketers can understand their customer’s pain points and offer real solutions that appeal to their emotions.

 

Ravenclaw – The Clever

 

“Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw if you’ve a ready mind. Where those of wit and learning will always find their kind”

I’ll put my hand up here, I’m definitely a Ravenclaw girl – academic through and through. To even get into the Ravenclaw common room, students have to answer a complex logic riddle – something like:

‘What came first, the phoenix or the flame?’

The answer of course is that a circle has no beginning. Ravenclaw marketers are all about data, statistics and analytics. To embrace the Ravenclaw, you need to produce content that is well researched, logically sound and compelling. Research your competitors, see what they do, and use that data to do better. Not only that, but you will need a strategy for promoting it and a way to analyse and measure its effectiveness so that you can improve for next time. When you think about it, it’s no wonder that the Ravenclaws of the marketing world nearly all end up being strategists!

 

Slytherin –   The Ambitious

 

“Or perhaps in Slytherin you’ll make your real friends. Those cunning folks use any means to achieve their ends”

And finally, Slytherin. The house in general has gotten a pretty bad rap, mainly due to spawning so many evil witches and wizards, including the infamous Voldemort himself. However, there is nothing about the inherent values of Slytherin house that’s evil. They are cunning and resourceful, with big dreams and a willingness to break the rules to make them happen. While you shouldn’t go breaking any actual laws, good marketers should never be afraid to colour outside the lines when it comes to their content. Try something that’s never been tried before, do that thing you’re ‘never supposed to do’, and never EVER settle for ‘good enough’. Instead, always strive to be better, and inspire your customers to do the same.

 

Of course, as a copywriter, I need to not only understand, but write in all of these styles. After all, it’s my job to help you figure out which house you’re in, and then write fab content for you to reflect that. If you’d like to find out more, then just drop me a line and we can have a chat. If you quote this blog, I’ll even bring you some Harry Potter themes biscuits!

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How Tendinopathy Improved My Writing

How Tendinopathy Improved My Writing

Strap in kids, this one gets a bit personal.

Around 6 months ago, I felt the first twinge in my right wrist. It was while I was at the gym, in the middle of a bench press, so I figured I had just overextended things a bit. I let up on the weight, and by the next day it was back to normal.

Fast forward 3 months, and I was experiencing sharp, shooting pains in my right hand at almost every movement. It came on quite suddenly, and rocketed fro, mild inconvenience to tear inducing pain in a matter of days, leaving me almost completely unable to actually use my right hand for anything.

Which as a copywriter who relies on her hands to do her job, was a very bad thing.

After I fought down the pure panic that I had developed rapid onset RSI, I dragged myself to a doctor. A few specialist visits and many tests later, I was diagnosed with tendinopathy – the tearing and inflammation of the tendons along the back of my hand and leading into my fingers, due to a combination of my 2 favourite things – typing and lifting weights. With the right treatment, it can be dealt with, but I will be prone to flair ups for the rest of my life. For a while, this felt like a hugely bad thing – a cloud hanging over the things I loved in life.

But actually, I’ve found it to be hugely beneficial. For one, it’s made me realise just how fragile our bodies are, and how much we take for granted simple things like being able to carry a shopping bag or fire off a quick email. It’s helped me adjust how I exercise to be safer, and more effective along the way. And it’s massively improved my writing. Since typing was such a big source of the injury, I was told I needed to adjust the way I work to avoid making it all worse. So I did 2 things – I bought myself an ergonomic keyboard, and I started playing around with voice to text software.

The keyboard has made much more of a difference than you’d think. Not only is it much more comfortable for me to write, but it’s forced me to re-learn how to type, since with that big hole in the middle (I’ll put a picture here so you can see what I mean), all the keys are in difference places. This in turn proved to me that I do indeed type like my father (with one finger on either hand, and quite hard). But now, I’m being forced to use all of my fingers to type, which is slowing me down while I learn. Sure, this means I can’t get as much done in a day, but that extra time means I can really think about what I’m saying in a way that I sometimes don’t when the words are flying out at lightning speed to try and keep up with my brain. In turn, my arguments are more considered, the words I choose fitting together more naturally the first time around (instead of in editing), and my own awareness of the processes I go through has heightened. I’m also much more conscious that I keep hitting the wrong keys at the moment, which has halved my proof reading time since I’m paying more attention to what’s going on the page the first time around.

The voice to text is a bit more interesting. I’ve only been using it on days when the pain is particularly bad, but it’s made an interesting difference. You see, as a writer I tend to flit around a lot. I’ll write one paragraph, then skip ahead and write a whole new section, before skipping around again and then linking them all together at the end and polish out any bits that don’t quite fit. It’s just how my brain works, and it’s worked perfectly well throughout my entire career. And when you’re typing, that’s easy to do. But when you’re dictating, it’s suddenly much more difficult, and everything often ends up in a muddle. So I’ve been forced to start thinking in straight lines, which is not something I’m used to in any area of my life. I bounce around as the inspiration and information comes to me, but having to know what I’m going to say in the exact next section is a relatively new experience for me. This in turn has led to improved writing, even if I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s better.

While it’s not like taking a course or reading a book, my journey through tendinopathy has certainly made some positive changes in the way I work. Just by being forced to re-evaluate how I do things, I’ve been able to improve a number of processes. Things I didn’t even realise were inefficient are suddenly glaringly obvious, and I’ve been able to take all of those positive changes and pass the benefits on to my clients. So yeah, I’d rather not have such a disabling condition in my hand, and living with the reoccurrences is going to suck, but would I go back and stop it happening.

Absolutely not.

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Merry Christmas From Eleven Eight

Merry Christmas From Eleven Eight

Well, thus ends another year, and we at Eleven Eight are closing our doors for the festive season. On behalf of the whole team, thank you so much for sticking with us, reading our content based nonsense and making us as successful as are.We really couldn’t have done it without you

So have a very Merry Christmas, a fabulous New Year and a fantastically successful 2018!

We can’t wait to catch up with you in January.

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Feed The Magpies With Content, Not Foil

Feed The Magpies With Content, Not Foil

If you’ve ever hung around with me and talked about content, you probably know by now that one of the key reasons many business owners invest in it is to rank highly on Google. While many do genuinely see the benefits outside of the SEO world, there are some businesses for whom clawing themselves ever closer to that coveted first page ranking is the primary goal. But there is only one problem with that – Google is a fickle bugger that never seems to make up its mind. That’s not to be negative about Google – I think they are a fantastic company with great ethics, and they are fuelling so much innovation in so many sectors its frankly mind boggling. But they have also become the most widely used search engine in the world. It processes over 40,000 search queries every second, which adds up to over 3.5 billion searches per day, and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. And if you’re like me and those numbers seem too hugely to really contemplate, they have a neat visualisation tool for it here.

 

So, it’s no wonder really that ranking on page 1 of Google is on most business owners marketing priority list. But Google is always changing, evolving, and learning from what its users are doing. So now, Google is crying out for content in all shapes and sizes for its users. That makes our big tip for 2018 really easy. Feed the Google magpie what it wants, and do it regularly.

 

A Brief History Google 

And trust me, I mean brief! Since its inception, Google has undergone a lot of changes. The old school of SEO said that backlinks and keywords were crucial to building a good search ranking, and so millions of businesses stuffed their text full of key words and linked to every website they could think of. But Google cottoned on to that pretty quickly. Soon, they started looking at what their users wanted, and telling businesses that if they wanted that elusive page 1 ranking, they needed to meet those needs. But it’s a bit of a moving goalpost to meet them fully. Google has rolled out over 152 major algorithm updates since 2000 (full list here), and they are making smaller changes on average every other day. The ways Google measures what it considers relevant, and how it presents information to users is rarely static, but for many years they have been consistent about one thing. Content.

 

So Why Content?

If you want the short answer, it’s because users love content, so Google does too. Google make a point of telling you that all the time, and every marketing and SEO professional worth their salt will tell you the same. Sure, there are a lot of other things you can do to improve your rankings and get Google to like you, but content is the primary ingredient in the Google recipe to online success. The more high quality content you feed Google (this is another blog in itself), the more active and relevant it will see you as and the higher it will rank you in searches. Essentially, Google is essentially a giant, fat magpie, sitting in its nest and collecting interesting, relevant things from the world around it. And just like real magpies are attracted to shiny things like tin foil, Google is attracted to new content.

 

Now, both of those words are equally important. Content is a must, but the uniqueness and newness of it is also important. Google even have a name for it – it’s called the freshness factor. This algorithm basically measures all of your documents for freshness, and then scores each page according to the type of search query it would match. A former fellow from Google by the name of Amit Singhal explained this as ‘different searches having different freshness needs’, and gave some examples of what this could mean. And because I’m nice, I’ve gone and dug up those examples, so you don’t have to:

Singhal explains that there are some types of keyword searches most likely to require fresher content, such as:

 

  • Recent Events or Hot Topics: “Brexit”, “trump protest”, “celebrity death”
  • Regularly Recurring Events: “UK budget”, “Bake Off results”, “Tesla profits”
  • Frequent Updates: “Best SLR cameras”, “ford focus reviews”

 

On top of that, Google can also determined exactly which queries require fresh content by monitoring the web, and their own huge vaults of data. So they will look at factors like:

 

  • Search Volume: Are queries for a particular term spiking? (e.g. “earthquake San Francisco”).
  • News & Blog Coverage: If a number of news organisations and bloggers start writing about the same subject, it’s likely to be a hot topic.
  • Social Media: A spike in mentions of a particular topic may indicate the topic is ‘trending’.

 

Of course, many queries don’t require fresh content, but are still regularly searched terms. This is where your backlog of informative content comes in. If the search query doesn’t demand fresh, then it will search for the most relevant content instead. So fresh content is often better, but not always. The trick is to find the balance between fresh and informative, and keep it going.

 

At Eleven Eight, we specialise in creating written content for businesses in all sectors. From HGV’s to HR, marketing to accounting, we can help you meet the ever increasing needs of the Google magpie. Our experts have spent years crafting informative blogs (like this one), compelling case studies and engaging white papers, just so you can relax, put your feet up and enjoy a cup of tea while we do all the hard work. To find out more about what we can do for you, just drop us a line by phone, email or even carrier Pidgeon, and we’ll get back to you.

What Is PAS, And Why Do You Need It In Your Copy?

Copywriting isn’t a paint-by-numbers process (sorry folks!). There is no secret formula for you to follow to produce magical, compelling copy just by filling in the blanks. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t formula’s out there that can help you. To give you a...
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Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight...
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