By Posted in - Marketing Advice & Insight on December 10th, 2018

By Yawen Li, Marketing Analyst APEC

How to enhance your reputation and grow your business using search dynamic storytelling.


To improve search rankings for content it is no longer good enough to concentrate solely on the number of links or keywords – OR STANDARD CONTENT CHURN i.e. a conveyor belt of ‘SEO’ engineered blogs and social posts.

To rank higher in organic search websites must produce not just more content, but more relevant, holistic content. This includes Semantically Comprehensive Content (natural language that answers specific questions that people have as they relate to the keyword); Long Form Content (1500 word plus articles written for the web and designed for high engagement); Media Enriched Content (video, eBooks, interactive infographics, digital quizzes etc.) -Easy to read content (for humans, not search engines).

This is the way to improve your SEO rankings, but the absolute primary focus for content … is quality storytelling. The formula for success is this simple equation.

Creative power of storytelling + the science of search + customer persona data = emotional connection.

Emotional connection works at both ends of the sales/marketing funnel. We still need the ‘gravity’ of the funnel to pull prospects out of their awareness orbit and down towards evaluation and purchases, but great content is needed to get their attention, get them motivated and persuade (nudge) them to start their journey down the funnel (slide).

The gravity is the prospects initial motivation (their needs, wants and desires). We provide extra motivation (gravity) through conscious triggers (benefits, features) and non-conscious triggers (liking, mental attraction, emotional connection). Only friction will now stop them from buying your product service i.e. how easy or difficult it is for them to transact with you.

One of the reasons why the creative power of storytelling approach works is that our brains are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long. Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories. According to Jennifer Aaker, a marketing professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, ‘a story is a journey that moves the listener, and when the listener goes on that journey they feel different and the result is persuasion and sometimes action.’

Aaker carried out an experiment that had each of her students give a 1-minute pitch. Only one in 10 students used a story within his or her pitch while the others stuck to more traditional pitch elements, such as facts and figures. The professor then asked the class to write down everything they remembered about each pitch: 5 percent of students cited a statistic, but 63 percent remembered the story.

When evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features and facts). The emotion of “likeability” is the measure most predictive of whether an advertisement will increase a brand’s sales and positive emotions toward a brand have far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments, which are based on a brand’s attributes.

The human brain does not distinguish between reading or hearing a story and experiencing it in real life. In both cases, the same neurological regions are activated, but being told a story drastically changes the way our brains work. When people are being told a story, the language processing areas of the brain are activated along with other sensory areas being used to experience the story.

If, as marketers, we continue to use neutral words and phrases that lack narrative, the minds of our buyers will continue to simply process and forget them. Stories stimulate the mind and we (marketers) need to send consumers on journeys that lead them to solutions that solve their problems.

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