3 Effective Ways To Leverage Storytelling In B2B Content
Updated: May 9, 2022
B2B content is notorious for being bland and dry. But in this week's episode of the Marketing Bound Podcast, George Chasiotis, Managing Director at data-driven content marketing and SEO agency, Minuttia, gives us a breakdown of exactly how to take our B2B content to the next level.
Here is what you can expect:
3 proven storytelling frameworks that Georgios uses every day
The format you need to tell a story. Is storytelling just for blogs?
If you prefer to listen to the tips, be sure to subscribe to the Marketing Bound Podcast on Spotify or on Apple Podcasts.
What companies get wrong about B2B content
Laura L. Bernhard: Hi, George. Thank you so much for being on the Marketing Bound podcast.
George Chasiotis: Hello, Laura. Good to be here. Thank you for hosting this episode.
Laura L. Bernhard: Absolutely. I'm super excited. We're going to talk about storytelling and let's just dive into it. So the first question I have for you is why do you think storytelling is the future of content marketing?
George Chasiotis: I think that we see a tendency, especially if you think of content marketing from a search standpoint, we see a tendency of content essentially be the same in the search results and companies and brands have a false understanding that in order for them to succeed, they have to do pretty much the same things that other brands and websites are doing.
And this creates the issue of what's called a copycat content, which essentially means that you see content that looks very much alike what's already out there for specific topics. But if you think about it, in most cases, this content hasn't been written by people who are actual experts on the topic that they are writing about. And obviously this raises questions, like, can we really trust this piece of content? Can we really accept the fact that and the messages that it tries to convey?
And the answer in many cases is no, there's definitely an issue with trustworthiness. When we are talking about content that's been written by people who are not real experts in the topics that they are covering.
And so I would say that inside this issue of copycat content what could be that the solution is trying to add perspective and trying to serve your real and honest opinions and your experiences about things instead of just trying to do what everyone else is trying to do.
So this is why I believe that storytelling definitely belongs to the future of content marketing and that it's, it's definitely a solution for brands that want to stand out and make a difference.
What is Storytelling in Marketing in 2022
Laura L. Bernhard: Especially, in industries where all the information is very much the same and you can use storytelling as a way to stand out.
So that's, that's very, very true. Traditionally storytelling is done through like use cases. You know, like through clients and their successes with the companies. How would you describe storytelling today?
George Chasiotis: I would say that you have to put yourself in the position of the person who is going to read the story. Try to make something that will resonate with them. Yes. It's good to, you know, cover a story by a customer that you had a success story and so on and so forth, but there is way more, many more things that you can do in order to create something that will truly resonate with your audience.
Laura L. Bernhard: And that comes down to really understanding your audience and the first place.
Do you Need a Villain in Your Stories?
Laura L. Bernhard: In every story there's a villain. There's like this bad guy. Do you need that in your storyteller?
George Chasiotis: I would say that this is a very interesting question. I would say that you don't need it. You don't need a bad guy. Obviously in a story, for example, where a personal story where you describe something you know, that happened to you and how we managed to overcome an obstacle in your life or something like that.
You could say that the bad guy could be let's say yourself in a, in a version that you would like to go away from but in general, in the stories that we create for our clients, we don't really look for a villain and we don't need a bad guy. But I suppose that having a bad guy could work in some cases.
Laura L. Bernhard: Okay. Can you give me an example of one of the stories for your clients without a bad guy, because do you know what Duolingo is.
George Chasiotis: Sure.
Laura L. Bernhard: Okay. So Duolingo is like a, an app where you can learn languages for anyone who doesn't know. And I follow them on TikTok because who doesn't these days and in a lot of their videos, their villain, or they always go against, Google translate.
George Chasiotis: Okay, that's interesting.
Laura L. Bernhard: So they're like, they're like people who use Google translate to learn languages, like instead of using an app that is meant for learning a language. So they always use Google translate as the villain. Like they don't explicitly say that, but I can see what they're doing. So I want to know an example without the villain.
George Chasiotis: Sure. That's a very interesting example, by the way, the one that you said, I would say we are doing a piece of content for one of our clients. It's an outreach software. And essentially people are using the software to reach out to other websites and ask for a backlink, you know, link back to this resource that I have created and so on and so forth.
And if you think about it, what's the best way to describe the value that people can get out of your product than saying that, you know what we have used our product and this is what we have achieved. So what we do for our client right now is create a piece of content that essentially the title, if I'm not mistaken, is something in the lines of how we manage to build X backlinks in X months and raise our traffic by, you know X percent.
And these, even though, you know, it entails a storyteller. It's also at the same time, the best way to prove the value of the product without, you know, without needing to have a villain in this story.
Laura L. Bernhard: Yeah, I like that. I can see how that works. I've seen that for a few blogs as well. I think it was CoSchedule. I'm not sure if you know them, but CoSchedule I've seen them use that often, too.
Storytelling Framework 1: Personal Storytelling
Laura L. Bernhard: So how do they get started in storytelling? Do they start with blogs? Do they try to put it everywhere? Like what is the first step?
George Chasiotis: For the record, let me just set up the CoSchedule is an amazing website and they are doing a tremendous work with their content marketing for anyone who is listening, go on and visit the website, their blog. Really amazing work when it comes to content.
So the first step you have to start with what's easiest and obvious. If there is a story to tell about something that you've experienced yourself. So the first step is personal storytelling.
And this could be anything from how to overcome an obstacle, to a failure that you may have, because people love to talk about wins but they hate to talk about failures, especially nowadays.
And so I would say that you have to start by telling stories that you have experienced or talking about the conflicts the business has experienced.
And just to give you an example here I really love this example by Groove HQ. One of the personal storytelling examples that they have published many years ago actually is why I turned down VC funding.
It's written by the founder and CEO, why I turned down an X amount of million dollars from a VC. A venture capital firm, which is great.
You know, if I was a subscriber at the blog or if I interacted in any way with the company, I would like to hear why they turned down an offer from a VC firm.
It's a personal storytelling example. It's powerful. And at the end of the day, it's not difficult to write it. You don't need anything else. You just write the story.
Storytelling Framework 2: Storytelling Through Data
Laura L. Bernhard: Yeah. That's so true. And another storytelling, like piece of advice you have is like storytelling through data. Can you give me an example of what that is.
George Chasiotis: Storytelling through data is a very powerful. The argument here is that, you know what, it's difficult. We don't have enough data, like, especially we're talking about let's take a software company as an example.
What we hear as an excuse very often is "we can do that." We don't have enough data, but guess what? You don't always need to have a massive tremendous database in order to create a data storytelling piece of content.
And the reason why this piece of content works great is because people nowadays, they are searching for content they can refer, mention, and link back to when they are creating a piece of content for their own blog.
Data storytelling resonates so well because you are there essentially to help them, to find a source for what they are trying to convey.
An example here could be a piece of content was written in in 2018, if I'm not mistaken by Ad Espresso we have analyzed you know, a massive number of Facebook ads.
Here's what we learned. And this is not powerful only in terms of people are searching for, you know data around Facebook ads and link back to Ad Espresso, but also it has a value on a product level as well, because if I was a user of Ad Espresso, I would like to know what you learned from analyzing this tremendous number of Facebook ads in order for me to integrate that in my strategy.
So that's a great example. And I would say that in general data storytelling is really, really powerful.
Laura L. Bernhard: Especially when you have some data, that's the key, I think, in that storytelling perspective, but I can definitely see how it's very powerful. I've seen blogs like CoSchedule do things like that as well, because again, super powerful.
Storytelling Framework 3: Network-Based Storytelling
Laura L. Bernhard: And then the last type of storytelling is network-based. So what, which one is that? And can you give us an example?
George Chasiotis: Get on an interview with other people. Someone you know already or someone who has a great story to tell and ask them you know to tell their story, especially if there is a very specific thing that they have achieved.
We've had a lot of success interviewing people about their wins and their failures. And what we learned from this failure and so on and so forth. Once again, very easy to do. You just have to jump on a call with another person, and ask them to tell their story, and especially if you find a way to integrate that naturally into your content marketing strategy so that it will resonate most likely with your audience.
That's a huge success. And I would say that there is a not so obvious benefit of that as well. The fact that you establish stronger relationships and connections with other people, an example here could be a piece of content published by Leedfeeder which is a software as a service, a SaaS company.
Once again. They published a piece of content a few years ago, if I'm not mistaken, how ConvertKit, which is another company, grew from X to X in monthly recurring revenue by doing 150 webinars in one year.
That's powerful. You could say the argument could be, why should we write something about another business?
You know we should write about our own business, but think of how powerful this is. Like if I was in their audience, if they're in their email list I would like to know how ConvertKit managed to, you know, achieve that growth by doing 150 webinars in one year.
Laura L. Bernhard: I want to know how did 150 webinars in one year. That's what I want to know. (giggles)
So, that's a great example. So network based, personal story, data telling story, and sometimes even a combination of all of them.
George Chasiotis: Definitely.
How To Get Started With Storytelling
Laura L. Bernhard: Someone listening to this is like, wow, I love this. I'm interested in every single thing that George is bringing up. How, how do you get started? Do you have steps on where to start? Do you just dive in? Do you revisit other articles? Like w what, what's the plan?
George Chasiotis: I would say that that's a good question. I would say that obviously you should start with what's easiest and we mentioned that the easiest of the three is personal storytelling and network based.
And I know that for many people and for many companies it's not, it's not easy to kind of expose themselves and say what they have learned, what they have managed to do right and wrong and so on and so forth but storytelling is powerful for a reason.
Once you overcome this barrier and this fear of is it going to be okay that we're going to expose ourselves. You will see that indeed there is a tremendous benefit there. So I would say, and I would suggest that you start with the easiest things to do.
And at the same time, you should try to find examples in your industry. You could take a look at other industries as well in order to see what they are doing and how they are doing it in order to learn from them and try to replicate their success, obviously without stealing, but try to do it in your own way.
Is Storytelling for Blogs Only?
Laura L. Bernhard: So I've seen some of these articles that you're talking about, and generally from what I've seen, I might be wrong. They're quite lengthy blogs. Is that like the generic, like the standard for these storytelling pieces?
George Chasiotis: I wouldn't say that it's the standard, because really you can as deep as you want with it.
If you feel that your story can be sad in like 500 words, then go for it, just do that. If you feel that you have to do to tell your story in 2000 words, then go for it. I feel that there should be no limits. There is no rule.
In order for your story to be successful, it has to be to have a specific number of words. It all boils down to how many words do you need in order to tell the story in full.
This is what I would advise people to pay attention to, and be careful without caring so much about hitting a very specific number of words or whatever.
Laura L. Bernhard: I think that's great too, because then people can apply the strategy to maybe their social media, to other formats other than just blog writing. Cause sometimes when people hear blog writing, they're like, oh my God, no, I can like, no, I can't do that. But I think that with all this advice that you've given today, that it could be applied to every piece of content marketing, which is great.
George Chasiotis: That's exactly right. What you mentioned is really important because you're telling stories.
If you are not serving these stories in on LinkedIn, for example, then you are missing out on a very big opportunity. Because people love stories. They, they want to hear what other people have experienced. They want to hear what other people have to say, and they will most likely interact with that.
And so I would say that you shouldn't be limited under no circumstances on your blog, social media and so on and so forth, you have to take it where you feel more comfortable. Like being in front of the camera and tell stories, using your camera, that's fine. If you feel more comfortable writing blog posts, then do that. But I would say that you shouldn't limit yourself.
The One this George Wants You To Take Away From This Interview Is...
Laura L. Bernhard: So just before we end this conversation. If there was just one thing that people took away from this conversation, what do you want it to be?
George Chasiotis: Sure. The one thing that I would, I would like people to get is don't be afraid to expose yourself. Don't be afraid to talk about failures. Don't be afraid to talk about things that you don't know. No one expects you to be perfect. And at the end of the day, you see that when you serve a piece of content that's really good. That has a really good story to tell people interact with that because you understand that at the end, it might be things that maybe they struggle with as well. This is things that it could contain things that they fear of themselves, and this is why it resonates. And this is why it's so powerful. So don't be afraid to tell your story.
Laura L. Bernhard: And I feel like going off what you just said, that's also how you build a community because you attract the people who are not only interested in what you're saying, but who've probably gone through something similar.
George Chasiotis: Definitely. And you know what? There is a lot of content out there. People don't want to read another one-on-one guide on how to create, create a blog post. They want to hear the story of, we wrote 1000 blog posts and here's what we learned about blogging. That is the story they want to hear. They don't want to hear a step-by-step process of how to do this or that. And this is why storytelling is so powerful.
Laura L. Bernhard: Well, George, thank you so much for being on The Marketing Bound podcast. If people want to reach out to you, where can they find you?
George Chasiotis:Sure feel free to check our website, Minuttia dot com with double T. And if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, this is where I'm most active on search for George Chasiotis, I would love to connect.
Laura L. Bernhard: I am going to link all of that below, so it's easy for them to find you, but thank you so much.
George Chasiotis: Thank you Laura.
Did this boost your storytelling skills? Stay in touch:
To get Marketing Bound Resources in your box twice a month, subscribe today.
About the Marketing Bound podcast:
Helping new B2B marketers look good at work. Tune in to the Marketing Bound Podcast to develop your marketing skills, navigate the corporate world like a pro, boost your confidence in your role and access the greatest minds in B2B marketing. Join Laura L. Bernhard every week to fast-track your career in B2B. Subscribe to the Marketing Bound Podcast on Spotify or on Apple Podcasts.