How About Story Listening?

Conversations are a dying art. At some point in time we’ve all found ourselves stuck in conversations that didn’t exactly hold our attention—the friend you bumped into at the grocery store who waxed eloquent about his career accomplishments or the new dog mommy in your apartment who endlessly bragged about her pet’s antics. But why is it that certain conversations don’t appeal to us? Well, it’s because everyone wants to be listened to, but no one wants to listen. People are so engrossed in telling their story that listening seems like the hardest thing to do.The same holds true for content marketing. B2B organizations today talk incessantly about their products and services, sometimes mindlessly shoving communication about their “next-gen” solutions down the customer’s throat. Little do they care to find out if the customer is remotely interested in the glorious origins of their product or if their story is of any consequence to the customer? A survey by Meaningful Brands, 2017 pointed out that 84% of people expect brands to provide content that entertains, tells stories, provides solutions, and creates experiences.

Story listening—the missing piece of corporate storytelling

Without storytelling, our civilization wouldn’t exist, neither would great brands. Organizations are increasingly hopping on the storytelling bandwagon, but let’s take a step back. While your customers do care about your story, they want to hear how it makes a difference to them, how does it add value to their life or business. The key lies in telling the right story.

And how do you know if you’re telling the right story? You just must listen. You can’t tell a story that relates to your audience from behind a computer screen, merely based on a few Google search terms. The real stories are outside the walls of your office. Meet your customers face to face.  Listen to them, understand their pain points, and learn what they care about. Those are the stories that will spark conversations and even insight.

How can brands practice being good listeners

Being a good listener is a simple process.

  • Empathize: Listen intentionally and learn what your customer is really saying—how do they feel about the situation or product? Also, understand what they aren’t saying.
  • Accept: Understand your pre-conceived notions about your brand or solution.
  • Affirm: Summarize the essence of what your customers are saying. Ensure you’ve truly listened without imposing your perceptions.

Now move on to the content creation process, a.k.a., storytelling

The Red Book of Content Marketing 2018 reveals that customer acquisition is the main purpose of content endeavors for 66% marketers. It is no surprise that engaging with your audience with content that resonates, connects, and inspires action is crucial. Create a panel of subject matter experts from various backgrounds who can help you tell diverse stories—stories that matter. Now create your story—one that is based on what’s happening in the world of your customers. Ensure your customers see how a story about the present connects with their past and impacts their future. Don’t forget to make your story as authentic as possible. It all boils down to the fact that your customer is your protagonist in this story, so make it about them and not the other way around!Redbook of content marketing

Web Design Hits you Square Between the Eyes Sudhir RamachandraTen on Ten 0