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Telling a Consistent Story Across Multiple Channels

Mar 8, 2021
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When it comes to marketing today, we have access to a number of different channels and platforms that we can use to share our brand story and connect with customers. Each is useful to potentially bring in new leads who could become customers. Regardless of our choice in channel it's important that we have a cohesive story. In this episode, we're going to look at how we can tell a consistent story across multiple channels, no matter where we are online.

 

Video Transcript: 

As I said in the opener, we're going to be looking at how we can tell a consistent story across multiple channels. So when it comes to marketing today in the digital world, we've got a number of channels and platforms that we can use to share our brand story, connect with customers, and bring in new leads that could be potential customers for us in the future. But each of these platforms has a different set of rules. It's got a different group of people. There's different ways to interact and engage. But it's important that we have a cohesive story, no matter where we are online, and this is why we need to take the time first to develop our story and understand it, and then second to really understand the platforms that we're using and how we can build a cohesive message across all the channels so that we meet the right people, with the right message, at the right time.

To start things off, let's look at the goal of a story. Now, this is coming from Bernadette Jiwa. She is an amazing storyteller. She's got a lot of great books on marketing and telling stories within your marketing. This is something that I picked up from the story skills workshop that she did that's a part of a collaboration with Seth Godin. So if you're interested, go Google search that. I'm sure you can find some awesome information on it. And I highly recommend it.

When we look at a story, we have a couple of goals that that story should meet along the way. The first thing a story needs to do is it needs to engage the audience. It has to arouse the audience's interest and get them to care about what happens next. If we don't do that early, then people are going to leave. There are so many things competing for our attention, and it's not that we have short attention spans, which we do, but it's also that we're competing against so many other messages. This is why we really need to make sure that we hook and engage our audience and really arouse or build their interest in what it is that we're telling.

Then next we have to show the challenge. People like a story that has meaning, a story that drives them deeper, a story that is something that they can look at and compare to their own life and say, "Yes, me too. I've had those similar experiences, or I'm having one right now and I don't know how to get through it." This is how you make people care. So once you've engaged, you have to have them emotionally invested in what you're doing.

And the last thing you have to do is show change, spark insight, get them to say, "Aha, this could work for me." This is those powerful contrasts of what life was like before to what it is now. A story should do all three of these things, and when it does that, it moves people into a new place and it moves them into a place that allows them to change or grow.

A basic breakdown of a story is really this simple. You have a character who is in a situation, and they're facing choices. Everybody experiences this every single day of their lives. We look at all great stories. It starts out in a very similar way, with a character in some kind of situation, facing choices, and how they respond to those choices determines how the story goes. So this is the basic platform that we're working with, whether we're talking about individuals or whether we're talking about businesses and brands. It's the exact same thing that we're doing here.

The first thing we need to do is develop our story and build our story for our business. I did a whole video going very in depth on this, which you can check out here on this channel. We're going to make sure there's a card here for you. That way you can click right over to that, after you've watched this video, of course, and then go a little bit deeper into that one, where we walk through creating and telling your brand story.

This is a very important place to start. You can't just start publishing content and putting things out there unless you know the journey you're going to take people on and why they should go on that journey with you. Take the time to build your story, take your time to get a story that is persuasive, that moves people to action. And once you have that, then you can start using that story across your platforms.

Once you have your story, now you need to know where you're going to place that story. You need to understand those platforms. Some of these platforms are yours. They're platforms you own, while others are platforms that you don't. It's rented space. Each platform has rules and expectations, and you've got to make sure that you follow the rules. If you don't understand the rules, you may get into these instances where you're creating friction within the community, and they're going to reject your message. You need to come across in a way that meets the expectations or exceeds the expectations, and also in a way that is comfortable to them on the platform. And once you understand your platforms, then you can leverage them more fully. You can find out other avenues within those platforms to extend it and share and integrate your story.

So now let's take a look at a couple of those platforms and how we can use them to tell our story. The first place that we can do this on is our brand's website. So the cool thing about your website is that you own it. You get to set the rules. And this is a place where you can tell your entire story, and each page should either tell the whole story or at least parts of that story as it moves people through an engagement and an interaction with your company. As you can see here, we start right off addressing our consumer, saying, you are the expert. We know that you know everything you need to about your industry, like you are the person that people should go to. But what we want to do is make sure that other people know. We want to help you tell the world about how awesome it is that your company does X, Y, or Z.

And then how do we do that? We do that through leveraging the power of data, and creating digital strategies that deliver results. And then we give people choices to make on our website. And we also talk a little more about our business, and how we build those plans and how we personalize them and how what we do is going to help them reach their ultimate destination.

As you can see right here on the homepage, we're crafting and we've integrated our brand's story, but it doesn't just stop on our website. It also can show up on things like search engines. Now, this is a great, powerful medium. It's our number one source of traffic for our business. But our control over the search engines is very limited. What we can do is optimize our titles and our meta descriptions and optimize for rich features and more, so that we can showcase our brand story a little deeper.

Now, you can see here in the first listing, it's our brand and who we are. We're a data driven SEO and digital marketing agency. And as you can see, the meta description is what we do as far as building inbound services and SEO and website design.

Sometimes Google will use their exact title tags and meta. Other times, Google will change that. They will put on the search results what they believe matches the intent of the searcher. As you can see right below that, we have our about us page. And then you can see our Facebook page, our Better Business page, a Clutch profile, an article we were featured in, and then our LinkedIn profile. Each one of these is an extension of our brand. Each one of these is an extension of our brand's story.

Now, as you can look, there are some that fit really well, and there are others that maybe aren't telling our story as great. For instance, we've got the Better Business Bureau one here, and the first thing you see is web design. That's one thing we do, but that's really not the main thing that we do. That's an opportunity for us to go in and optimize our story on that specific platform to influence how people see us on the search engine platform. And if you look to the right side of that, you'll see a knowledge panel. In this case, it's a local one. It's got things like our address and a little about our business, but those are areas, too, where you can expand, visually tell your story. You can do it with your products. You can do it with questions and answers and engaging with people right there at the search engine. So there's a lot of ways for you right here to optimize your site and the visibility of your brand with your story within search engines.

LinkedIn is another place to do this. It's similar to a lot of other social platforms, but again, we don't own this platform. Now, you have the about us section at LinkedIn, and this is a great place to tell your story and define who you are, but it doesn't stop there. You've got posts on LinkedIn, too, and you want to make sure that things you're posting reflect your brand's messages and your brand's story, as well. So you don't want to have a disconnect. You want to have it all integrated and connected. Don't post just to post, but make sure that the content reflects your brand story, reflects overall who you are, what you're trying to reach, how you're trying to create change, how you want to help others, how you're going to engage with them, how you're going to help them reach their goals.

You also notice that we use very similar fonts and very similar branding across multiple channels. And this is also very intentional, so that when people show up on our website or on a social platform, they know that they're still connected with the same company. And we have to make sure that our language is the same, as well. And we also make sure that we have to follow the rules.

With LinkedIn, you're not going to be able to get as fluffy, right? It's a business platform, so you want to be able to approach it from a much more business case standpoint, but you can still tell a story in a way that engages businesses. You don't want to share dog names, but you do want to share things that are personal to your company and things that you're doing to help other people achieve their goals, and connecting with your customers on LinkedIn. You want to make sure that your language is the same across all those platforms, but also following the rules and the etiquette of the specific platforms.

YouTube is another great channel that you have to tell your story, where you can do it not only with words, but visually. This is a channel that obviously I use quite a bit. You're watching this video on YouTube most likely. But again, I don't own this. If you really get down to it, YouTube owns the platform. I have a space on the platform to share my story. So again, I can use the about us section on our channel to tell that little bit about our story, but I can also use our video content to tell that story and share a little about who I am, the ethics of our company, why I do what I do, the descriptions of those videos. Everything in the channel, the visual side of our channel, whether it be our logo or our headers or our YouTube thumbnails, all of that is going to convey message. All of that's going to convey stories.

Even the setup of our channel, when you go to our channel page, taking time to tell the story on that page of the things that we do and what's most important to us, and what we believe is most important to help you with, a lot of brands just leave their page what it is, maybe just like the latest uploads. But if you look at our page, we've broken it down into playlists. And those playlists are smaller stories of our broader story of what we do in building a digital strategy for the companies we work with.

And lastly, we've got email. Email is a powerful platform. And again, this is typically something that you own. You own the email address, and you use email providers to get that story out. This is an area where you can tell that full story, and you can do it in smaller chunks. This is where we use sequences like the soap sequence, which was developed by Russell Brunson. It's a great sequence, something that we do quite a bit. We even have a template on our website. And I have another video that you can check out that we will link to here, to learn a little bit more about understanding those soap sequences.

But these are important because you can segment, you can personalize, you can go deeper, but email also allows you to tell the story, to engage people all the way through the process. And this is really important. A lot of people just typically use email for newsletters or one-time blasts, but email can be a really powerful way to engage your user base. These are people who have opted in to say, hey, I want to hear a little bit more about your business, and you want to take that seriously. You don't want to abuse it. You don't want to overuse it, but you also don't want to under use email. A lot of businesses under use email, and they have bad results because of that. Build those expectations, deliver a ton of great value and results to the end user, and email can be an extremely powerful platform.

We've walked through five different ways and five different channels in how we can use our brand story on our website, within search engines, on social media platforms, as well as email, and how we can integrate it and leverage the different platforms, the rules on the platforms, and the types of content that's expected in order to cohesively tell our brand. Now, keep testing, keep tweaking, but make sure that you're being consistent, being true to who you are, and leveraging these platforms to tell your story in a way that these people can engage with you, so that you can drive deeper meaning and deeper connection.

If you've got any other questions or maybe other ways that you've been using other platforms to tell your brand story in a cohesive way, please share it below. We'd love to continue that conversation with you. Until next time, Happy Marketing.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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