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Businesses with an online presence publish all kinds of content. Some of it serves to inform about who they are and about the services and products that they provide. Often, informative content is published in an effort to develop a relationship with the reader. The idea behind informational content is that the visitor will benefit from reading it, and will come back for more. With time, a relationship will form between the author and the reader. The relationship is based on the principle of reciprocity: by giving to others, you will also receive. This is effective, but there is still another method of building relationships that many website owners aren’t using in their content development. This is the use of storytelling.

 

Storytelling has been with us since man first discovered fire, when evenings were spent sharing tall tales about hunting exploits. Listening to stories in these intimate settings meant that you belonged. It meant that you were part of the tribe. Parents often sit with their children and read stories to them. When a parent and child sit together like this, and a story is told, bonding occurs. Storytelling has always been the glue of relationship building.

What kind of stories should a website owner use to build relationships? To start, the owner should know the demographics of his market, and have a good idea of what type of person his ideal client is like. This process is similar to forming a relationship with someone in person. It’s much easier to do if you know the person’s interests, problems, and goals. This knowledge enables you to tell an appropriate story that the person will relate to.

There are two broad classes of stories. One type, tells your ideal client more about you as a person. This is important because the Internet by nature is an impersonal medium. People won’t do business with someone they don’t trust. Your story doesn’t have to reveal deep and dark secrets. Instead, you should reveal the same things that you would when making small talk with someone.

The other type of story is geared towards causing the reader to conclude on his own, that your product or service is the solution to his or her problem. This could be a story about a previous client. You should focus on the client’s learning experience as he overcame obstacles in achieving his goals. Somewhere in the story, your type of service or product should be instrumental to his success. This type of story works even better if your client is telling the story himself as a testimonial to your product or service. If none of your clients want their stories told, then you can retell the story of a successful and well known person whose story is already in the public domain. The story should relate how he or she benefited from the type of service you offer.

People buy on emotion and justify with logic. Your informational content about your products and services will help the prospect’s logical mind to do its justifying. However, first his emotional mind has to be convinced to buy, and that’s where a good story comes in. If you have any questions about content development, contact us.

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