How Education Companies Use Storytelling for Content Marketing
Last week I was scouring Pinterest for activities to keep a quarantined preschooler busy. I found an activity where you tape letters to a wall, and the child takes the tape off the letters. Then they find the matching letter on an alphabet poster and place it down. When I explained this activity to my son, I could have given him those directions. But I knew that wouldn't get him excited enough to want to try it.
Instead, I created a story. I told him he was a superhero, and the letters were trapped! He needed to save the letters and bring them back to their homes. He loved it! He saved all 26 of those letters. He liked it so much that he played it two more times that day. (That's a huge parenting win!)
Adults also enjoy a good story. We like watching movies and reading books because of the journey they bring us on. That is storytelling. And the concept of storytelling can be applied to a company's content marketing to showcase your products in an engaging way.
So what is storytelling for content marketing?
When you talk about your company, you can get right to the point and explain your products and their unique features. But people don't want to hear about a company or a product. It's just not that interesting. They want to hear about people.
Just like reading a book, storytelling for content marketing brings people into a scenario that they can visualize. That scenario has a beginning, middle, and end. For a company, the beginning starts with an insight about your target audience. What motivates them? What's the situation? The middle of the story brings in an antagonist: their pain points. And in the end, your company comes in as the hero to solve their challenges.
Bringing your audience through a relatable story will draw them in to read, watch, or listen to your content marketing pieces. So if content marketing is a part of your marketing strategy, incorporate storytelling to increase engagement and time spent with your company.
Here are some storytelling content marketing examples from education companies.
Case Studies by Labster
Case studies are the most obvious way to tell a story in content marketing. Case studies are true stories with a clear beginning, middle, and end about a person and how the company helped.
Labster, which provides virtual labs to universities and high schools, has many case studies on its website in various formats: 2-page PDFs, videos, and blog posts. They all explain the situation, the challenge, and the results. And they show photos, stats, and quotes to bring the stories to life.
eBooks by eLearning Brothers
eBooks are PDFs that go deeper than a blog post on a topic. Like a fiction book, eBooks bring to life a company's story. They highlight a consumer insight or pain point and the company's solution to solving it.
eLearning Brothers, an elearning company, has eBooks in their content marketing strategy that use storytelling. For example, in their eBook about virtual reality in corporate training, they start with facts about the advantages of using VR in training. The story continues by highlighting mini case studies about how various companies have used VR, including photos to help tell the story. The eBook ends with how their company can help develop VR training with a free trial offer.
Social Media by Bloom Institute of Technology
Social media is an effective platform for telling stories about your company because people can respond directly to you. Storytelling on social media works best coming from a person's social media account, not the company. Most commonly, it's the CEO's social media account. They share stories on social media just like they would if they were having a face-to-face conversation with someone.
For example, Austen Allred is the CEO of Bloom Institute of Technology (formerly known as Lambda School). They are an online coding school with income share agreements for their students. He shared a quick story about how students are benefiting from the school on Twitter.
Podcasts by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The number of people who listen to podcasts has increased in popularity over recent years. For a company, podcasts are a powerful way to share stories. Bring guests on to talk about a topic related to your company. As the host, you'll be associated with these stories.
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has a podcast, Teachers in America, where they bring educators on as guests to talk about what they're doing in the classroom for their students. The podcasts are housed on the HMH website as a recording and a written blog post.
Everyone loves a good story, whether it's a preschooler or a school administrator. Incorporate storytelling for your content marketing strategy so that you're explaining what your company offers in a relatable and engaging way. Bring people to the forefront, and your company will be seen as the hero.