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Error in storytelling: what is the main one?
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Errors in storytelling are something that give even experienced professionals shivers.

After all, creating communication that tells a story, impacts the public and leads them to make a decision is a challenge for companies and requires a certain amount of time and a lot of study to be done.

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So, after a lot of research and understanding your buyer persona, thinking about an engaging plot, and, finally, starting to create content that engages and takes the lead through an incredible journey, here comes the result: zero conversion.

What could have gone wrong? Some things.

But if we can give you a tip on where to start this investigation to find the story's villain, know that there is a mistake in storytelling that can undermine any marketing strategy.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y60lFd57_oE

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So, keep reading to understand what this mistake is – it is common and you can make it without even realizing it.

But first, what is storytelling?

We've already talked about this subject here at Portal Insights, but let's briefly recap before talking specifically about the error in storytelling.

Storytelling is the ability to tell stories through your brand to attract and engage potential consumers.

It’s no surprise that large companies use storytelling. A good and well-told story can awaken a series of emotions in the public and make your brands stick in their minds – like the end-of-year commercials from some banks, for example, which can move even the hardest of hearts:

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The construction of a storytelling narrative is based on the so-called hero's journey, in which there are one or more characters who represent desires, pains and the reality of the audience you intend to reach. The hero of the story needs to overcome a series of obstacles until he achieves the victory he longs for.

In other words, you hold your potential customer's hand and accompany them throughout their journey, telling a good story and leading them to the moment of purchase.

This person won the final prize thanks to his company, the heroine of the story. Thanks to you, she finally had access to the product or service she needed.

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And that is precisely where the most common error lies.

The main mistake in storytelling

When the company sets itself up as a hero.

This is the main storytelling mistake you can make when producing content for your company or for the company you provide services to.

Let's understand better. Everyone wants to be the hero of the story, the main characters of the narrative. Nobody wants to be the supporting character.

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However, many companies – especially those just starting their marketing strategies – make the mistake of positioning themselves as heroes, leaving the potential customer as a mere supporting character.

This mistake can be made even with seemingly harmless content, but which can put your entire strategy at risk.

See a simple example:

Have you ever visited a website where the company talked a lot about itself?

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  • We have X years of experience in the market.
  • We have X employees.
  • We are present in Y cities across the country.
  • We have already won Y awards.

Ok. But, after reading all the company's merits, were you able to discover what it offers? More than that: do you feel motivated to buy from it when you read about its merits?

It is not wrong to include these characteristics that prove the company's relevance in the market, but they should not be highlighted as the main copywriting argument for conversion. And for a simple reason: they don't work.

Errors in storytelling are very subtle. We make small mistakes all the time in our brand discourse, but when we take the focus away from the customer and place it on the company, we lose a great persuasive tool.

Many large companies have already understood this error in storytelling and do not position themselves as heroes.

See how Nike describes itself on its official website:

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Free translation: Our mission: Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. *if you have a body, you are an athlete.
Free translation: Our mission is what drives us to do everything possible to expand human potential. We do this by creating innovations in sport, by making our products more sustainable, by creating a diverse and global creative team, and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.

So, what can you do to avoid making this mistake in storytelling?

Whenever you create some publicity, produce some content, never put yourself as the hero of the story. This will drive away your potential customer.

The tip is the same as what you learn when you start studying marketing: the focus should always be on your persona. Never take away her prominent place. She should be your hero of the story – and the reason is simple.

When we are the heroes of the stories told to us, we feel identified with them. Since they are written to reach us, if we are the heroes, we identify with the desires, pains and needs portrayed. Then we will see the product/service offered as a prize.

If you sell cosmetics, you don't sell them just because they are state-of-the-art and have beautiful packaging. You sell them because your customers identify with the story that the brand has been telling – a story in which they are the main characters and the focus of all company communication:

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Another very interesting example that has been marked in the history of marketing is that of the company Dollar Shave Club – in fact, this example was also told in the book Copywriting, by Paulo Maccedo, which we reviewed here on the Portal.

Dollar Shave Club is a Californian company that started out selling monthly subscriptions for razor blades. These blades were of lower quality than their competitors, including Gilette, which was the leading company in the segment.

But the company was very successful – do you know why? Because they launched campaigns using a lot of storytelling in which the hero of the story was the person who wanted to shave, but thought it was unnecessary to invest so much. She wanted to shave, but without paying so much to buy the blades.

Focusing on this customer pain – the high price of blades – the company started working on storytelling focused on this: “you will solve your problem and still be cool, because we will sell you a razor blade that only costs 1 dollar”.

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In fact, the brand's most famous advertisement had the following title: “A fantastic shave for a few dollars a month.”

It was a resounding success. The company did not surpass Gilette, but after reaching 3 million subscribers, Dollar Shave Club was purchased by Unilever in 2016 for the sum of 1 billion dollars.

Therefore, you can no longer make this mistake in storytelling. The focus of all your content needs to be your customer. Your company needs to step out of the lead role and take on the role of mentor, leading the potential customer through the hero’s journey.

Finally, whenever you produce content – ​​any type –, remember David Ogilvy’s teaching:

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“If you are trying to persuade people to do something, or to buy something, it seems to me that you should use their language, the language in which they think.”

If you have any questions about the subject or want to share your experience with us, leave your comment!

Take advantage of the fact that we are talking about storytelling and learn how to use archetypes in digital marketing, which are essential for building good plots and engaging our personas.

If you want more tips on digital marketing and business, subscribe to our newsletter using the field below.

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Error in storytelling: what is the main one?

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