Three types of story-based content that you can develop now to inspire, motivate and connect with your customers to increase sales. Educational, inspirational and personal (experience-based) content. And as a bonus, we add a fourth, data-based insight content!
Educational content (that you can’t Google)
If you’ve done a Google search lately, the results, shown right in the Google search engine result page (SERP), are taking over. The “Alexification” of search – smart speakers speaking your result – is taking a lot of traffic from your website. The way around this is to create content that can connect with customers so they click further to read. Educational content that transcends the two-inch search engine result block is just this kind of content.
Educational content is the kind of stuff that people search for when they are looking for help with something. There are several ways to display this, video being the most helpful. A short 2-3 minute how-to video that helps the customer solve a problem (hemming with knit fabrics! Creating an Instagram landing page!) But you should not overlook a written blog post with photos, either.
Creating a rich how-to experience with video, photo and written content with a heavy sprinkling of opinion is the kind of rich content customers want to read and watch. Some prefer to experience it as a video, others prefer to read it. But putting it together AND using search-engine (and human!) optimized titles is a win-win for driving traffic to your website.
Inspirational content: eye candy
Inspirational content is all beauty and customers love it. Countless artists, designers, and even coaches and consultants produce content that is heavy on the visuals and light on the words and data and customers love it.
Consider using photos that you wouldn’t think would resonate, such as nature, art, outdoor experiences, indoor spaces as inspiration to share with your customers. Even if you work in your office, a pretty outdoor photo on a hike can be woven into a blog post about business.
A visually rich photo-heavy blog with content works for this inspirational content. You can either hire a photographer or take them yourself. Be sure to notice background details, color, layout, arrangement, use preset filters when you’re done taking the photos.
Inspirational content gives your audience a moment of zen in their day. A blissful retreat. They might not take direct action that moment, but it’s content they will return to. Keep the sales copy light here – a text link at the bottom and in the middle of the blog post is all that you’ll need. Something like “inspired? Get started here.”
Personal content developed from your lived experience
This content is the good stuff. You can Google a resort, but having an opinion piece with photos of a gorgeous beach, the best food and drinks to order at the restaurant, and off-the-beaten-path experiences puts that content way above just a simple review page. Same, too, with products. Your lived experience using something, creating or designing something and sharing those details is rich with insight into what the customer will experience.
If you, for example, develop a sewing or knitting or crochet pattern on an e-commerce site, and share a how-to article AND a lived-experience article, these two work together to provide the customer with a unique insight to how using your patterns betters their life experience. For instance, sewing a dress is a process (an educational one), but wearing it while traveling is an experience. Sharing these insights with your customer transcends just a product description. Even better, use user-generated content (photos from your customers), and share your customer’s lived experience with your product and you have a powerhouse of experience-based content to share with others.
It doesn’t have to be personal – that is, you do not have to bring in your own personal life to have PERSONAL content. You can bring your professional experience to the table here, but talk about it in a real, authentic way. If your professional experience is stated this way “the rules say X but we say Y and here’s our rationale” you have a way of giving more than just the facts or an answer anyone can give.
Personal content also lends itself to video very well. Sharing yourself (or your screen, your work table, or your space) with others brings them into the experience, and adds a whole other dimension to their connection. The more authentic this is, the better it is, so don’t think that you need to invest in professional video (much harder to do during the pandemic). The more real you this video is, the better it will resonate with your customers.
Data and insight with proof
Data and insight with proof is the more hard-sciency type of content. For those in the service business, particularly the professional services or coaching, showing data about how something works with insight and proof into its success is a great way to share content. Your audience looks for you to curate content from your area of expertise. They WANT your expert opinion.
If you’re a health coach, summarizing the (cutting edge) data from your industry for your customers is a great service for them. They don’t have the time to cull the internet for breaking information, and your insight into why the data shows X or Y and how to use it helps them understand it. This data insight with proof works very well with health educators, life coaches, health coaches who come across new research all the time.
Each of these content frameworks can work together to help you connect, inform and be present with your customers, especially at a time where they are spending more time online consuming content, looking for inspiration or distraction. Video is a richer, more connected experience, but don’t overlook written blogs with photos, or even blogs with data, charts and information.
Bonus: checkout our Instagram Landing Page how-to: Whether you’re using a SaaS commerce app like SquareSpace or a WordPress site, these Instagram Landing Pages help you showcase the great content you’re developing in either a button-based or gallery-based way. They are the upgraded “link in bio” option that makes it easy for your audience to click through to your content. You don’t need a separate service like LinkTree to do this, your existing website has all the tools you need (bonus, it’s easier to update, and offers a lot of creative visual presentations of the Instagram Landing Page.)