You need to tell your company’s story well — now more than ever. Ten tips.

Editor’s note: HRxAnalysts just came out with a white paper, “10 Ways to Effectively Market Your Business With Social Media,” that was sponsored by HRmarketer | SocialEars HR. We are doing a series of blog posts covering each of the “10 Ways,” providing deeper coverage and analysis. Today, we continue the series with No. 3, “Become an Expert.”

Ernest Hemingway filled his books with five-, four-, three-, two- and even one-word sentences. The much more long-winded William Faulkner wrote a 1,288-word sentence in his novel “Absalom, Absalom!”

As these iconic early 20th century American authors show, there is more than one way to tell a great story. There are, however, many more ways to tell a story poorly.

It’s vital for businesses to tell their stories well. Businesses that effectively communicate their brand in a clear, consistent, engaging fashion, and back it up with quality products, get more sales. Apple is an excellent example of a corporation that has succeeded at this, but the same principle applies if you’re selling bagels or HR technology software.

Perhaps that is why the popularity of content marketing is surging. According to a BtoB Magazine study released in September, 34 percent of marketers are “very” or “fully” engaged with content marketing his year, up from 18 percent last year. And 66% expect to be “very” or “fully” engaged in 2013.

With the Internet and social media, there are millions of articles and blog posts to compete with, making it harder to get your content noticed and read. And with content marketing getting more and more popular, the competition for readers is only going to get fiercer. How do you win it? By telling, and marketing, your story in a highly effective fashion.

In other words: You need to tell your company’s story well — now more than ever.

As John Sumser notes in “10 Ways to Effectively Market Your Business With Social Media,” becoming a good storyteller takes practice, ideas and inspiration. It’s commonly held that a great way to learn how to write well is to both read and write often. Writing provides the practice. Regularly reading the content (extending from 10-word tweets to 10-page white papers) of social influencers and companies that tell their stories well can provide ideas and inspiration, both for individual pieces of content and overall strategic plans.

So can current events and trending social conversations. Both are taking place all the time, and have the important added benefit of being what people are talking about. So, if you can relate your story, or some aspect of it, to these hot topics through your content in a non-promotional way, you can significantly increase your likely audience, and their engagement in your content.

So what makes a good story? As the contrast of styles between Hemingway and Faulkner suggests, there is no magic recipe, but here are 10 suggestions for B2B content (see below):

Use SocialEars HR to monitor trending HR topics by industry sector: e.g., Labor Law

Use SocialEars HR to monitor trending HR topics by industry sector: e.g., Testing & Assessments

Uisng SocialEars HR, click a trending HR topic (e.g., video interviewing) and see popular content being shared on social channels and the HR influencers who are sharing it.

  1. Write about what you know. Or, piggyback on a trending topic (see above) and relate it to what your company does.
  2. Write about things that will solve customers’ and potential customers’ pain points.
  3. Write in a tone, attitude that is consistent with the image you desire for your business. For example, if you want your business to be edgy, don’t write conservatively, and vice versa.
  4. Identify the audience for which you are writing, and write for it.
  5. Have a clear argument/point.
  6. Be non-promotional.
  7. Use a story structure that is easy to follow, and make sure to have a beginning, middle and end for longer content pieces.
  8. Tell specific anecdotes (your experience or a customer’s). This is especially important with longer pieces.
  9. When possible, provide specific details and statistics, but don’t overdo it.
  10. Have an experienced editor examine the content.
And lastly, lean toward Hemingway in style. Few, if any, can write like Faulkner, so don’t even try (especially on Twitter). 

Download the "10 Ways" white paper for more great ideas on using social marketing to improve your marketing.

Post written by HRmarketer / SocialEars HR team member Eric Anderson.

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