Stop Selling and Start Captivating
Content Marketing, Then and Now
Consumers are smart to marketing, and they want brands to acknowledge that. Desensitized by the millions of ads, gimmicks and sales pitches each day, consumers are inherently equipped with blinders to block out shallow attempts at attracting attention. Hence, to truly connect with today's tech-savvy consumer requires honest effort and meaningful interaction. 
Think of the Geico caveman who makes car insurance look easy; the Chick-Fil-A cows and their never-ending plight to stop us from eating beef; the genius babies that use eTrade; and the infamous Taco Bell Chihuahua on his quest to find crunchy, cheesy goodness (“Yo Quiero Taco Bell?”). No matter what the medium, consumers still want to be swept up by a story. 
Storytelling Gone Digital
As Christopher Butler of Newfangled Web Developers puts it, “Relating to characters and their stories is essential in order for people to make an initial connection with brands.” And even after this, Butler notes, “People need to connect with a story in order to believe that a product or service matters to them.”
While storytelling is nothing new to marketing, social media has provided brands with the tools to build a captive audience. This means that brands have the luxury of spending less energy on establishing an audience and more time on using digital outlets to tell compelling stories complete with interactive visuals, dynamic characters and episodic plots that build equity. But for large businesses this still requires a sizable budget to fund the campaign process which 
For large businesses, digital marketing does not eliminate the need for the campaign process (and a sizable budget) in order to convey the value of the company's product or service in a unified voice. Small businesses, on the other hand, have a huge advantage when it comes to digital marketing.
A small business does not need to come up with a fictional character to serve as the face of the company; all they have to do is simply make themselves visible. With the use of social media platforms, small business owners can effectively and inexpensively tell their company's story and establish that crucial initial connection. 

“Every product or service’s value can be expressed as a story. The difficulty is in framing that story for the people that you know need to hear it.”

Non-Linear Social Media Marketing 
A common misconception with web marketing is the decreasing attention span of the online reader.  Businesses who base their web marketing think online web ads with bite-sized information that are easy to swallow are the best way to reach online consumers. However, the power of the story is undeniable. This means that as long as the content reaches the right market,

4 Steps to Effective Social Media Storytelling:
1. Creating a Content Strategy – finding practical methods through which to tell your story – be it Facebook, Twitter, a blog, Google+, Pinterest, Houzz, etc.
2. Paying Attention to Web Design Details – establishing platforms that are aesthetically pleasing and easy to use (usability)
3. Determining Tones & Personas – this can only be done through good writing and quality content 
4. Facilitating Engagement – Leaving room for 2-way conversation can create a similar but more engage effect of episodic storytelling



Article Source: “Storytelling is the Future of the Web,” Christopher Butler, Newfangled Web Developers, June 2010.

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