Successful marketing requires expertise and experience in a variety of fields. In particular, you need knowledge in fields such as digital content strategy, social media marketing, advertising and content marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO), to run a successful marketing campaign. Next to these factors, one very important factor is storytelling marketing, meaning the ability to create ‘stories’ within your content.
In marketing, this is referred to as storytelling marketing. Storytelling marketing is necessary to capture the attention of your readers and potential customers, and to persuade them to read your content, or to purchase your products and services. However, of course you want as many people as possible to see your storytelling content.
In this post you’ll learn about SEO copywriting techniques that you’ll need as part of your storytelling marketing to expose your stories on search engines like Google more effectively. In particular, we’ll introduce three different SEO storytelling formulas to improve your storytelling content.
From an SEO perspective, storytelling marketing must overcome three challenges.
First, the headline. Since the headline is what attracts users to click on your site through search engines or on other platforms such as social media, the headline needs to draw the attention of the readers.
Secondly, the first paragraph. Since the visitors determine whether to keep reading the story after reading the first introductory paragraph, you need to communicate the value of the story well within the first few sentences.
Finally, you need to be able to get your readers to keep reading without losing interest, which will increase the time they spend on your site. As a result, you’ll be able to get more exposure on the top of search engine result rankings.
Each of these three elements is important for driving more traffic, extending average time a visitor spends on your site, promoting social media sharing, and achieving higher conversion rates. All of these factors have a huge effect on improving your ranking on search engines. Therefore, in order to solve the storytelling marketing challenges from an SEO perspective, it is necessary to optimize the headlines, the first introductory paragraph, and the style and structure of your story.
To help you with this, we developed three different SEO copywriting methods to overcome each challenge, the ‘Headline formula’, an ‘Introduction formula’, and a ‘Body formula’.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how storytelling marketing can be improved with SEO.
Statistics show that eight out of ten people only read the headlines. What does this mean for your story content?
It means that while the content is very important, you’ll have to spend a lot of time on creating and intriguing headline to attract readers. That doesn’t mean you have to fill your headline with the latest trending keywords that are actually irrelevant to your content, or the name of a celebrity whose popularity is rising. No, always beware of keyword stuffing!
The key is to come up with compelling headlines that describe your content well and that people can’t resist clicking on at the same time. Easier said than done, right?
Here are some tips for creating eye-catching headlines: Create concise and interesting headlines, and make good use of negative words and numbers. The most well-known headline formula is as follows.
Headline Formula = Number + Adjective + Target Keyword + Promise
For example, ‘3 Top SEO Tips To Boost Your Content’, or ’10 Easy Ways To Lose Weight’. While this is an easy formula to use, you need to remember that all of these formulas need to be applied flexibly and will not work if they’re used too often.
That’s why you always want to check out your competition. If every post on Google about a specific topic uses headlines with a number in it, then you probably don’t want to use a number in order to stick out from your competition. Try to generate a unique title, and never forget to include your target keyword in your heading.
In case you don’t have a target keyword list yet, find out how to use a keyword tool to do keyword research for your website and content.
If you’ve succeeded in driving clicks with eye-catching headlines, the next challenge you’ll have to address it to make readers keep reading your story. People in this digital age are struggling to find the information they need on the internet without drowning in the sea of information.
That’s why people often decide whether to continue reading an article or to press the back button within less than 10 seconds. Hence, the first introductory paragraph is a very important moment for decision-making. Brian Dean, an SEO expert, suggests the following formula for your introductory paragraph to reduce your bounce rate.
Introduction Formula = Agree + Promise + Preview
According to this introduction formula, also referred to as ‘APP Method’, the first introductory paragraph should include at least three sentences that contain the following:
First, the first sentence should be a statement that anyone can agree with.
Next, the first paragraph should include a statement about how the current situation can be improved (promise).
Finally, the end of the paragraph should briefly introduce what the story will be about (preview).
The ‘Agree’ part is for evoking the reader’s empathy. The ‘Promise’ part is for expressing the benefit to the reader, and the ‘Preview’ part will make the reader more inclined to read through the introduction and the following content.
A first paragraph like this grabs your readers’ attention and informs them about what they can learn from your content.
You surpassed the first two obstacles, good job! The third obstacle, however, is probably the biggest challenge. So, how can you get your readers to read your story until the end without losing interest?
To achieve this goal, traditional copywriting uses the concept of ‘Bucket Brigades’. A commonly used definition of bucket brigades is ‘words, phrases, or sentences that encourage readers to keep reading’. Some examples of bucket brigades are: ‘Think about it:’, ‘And the good news?’, ‘Here’s why:’, ‘On the other hand’, etc.
From an SEO perspective, these bucket brigades don’t offer much value, but of course they are a great way to keep your readers engaged.
For your SEO storytelling however, we want to introduce the following ‘Body formula’, as a helpful technique that gets readers to easily read, enjoy, and keep reading your content while ensuring that search engines can easily understand your content.
Body Formula = Headings + Images + Links
In order to get visitors to keep reading your content without losing interest, make sure to divide your content into shorter paragraphs which are divided by headings and subheadings. To ensure that search engines can understand what your content is about, use HTML tags such as H2 and H3 in your headings.
Another major factor are images. Good images will be helpful for your readers to better understand your content and will also increase the time they spend on your webpage (Dwell time). To optimize your images for SEO, make sure to add ‘Image Alt Texts’ that describe your images to search engines.
In addition, internal links that drive more traffic to other internal pages of your website are a great SEO technique that also creates your other content at the same time.
As many people agree, it is difficult to leave a strong impression on your customers with only general information about your brand or product. To make your company stand out from plenty of competing products on the market, it is very effective to create content that includes memorable stories. In order to maximize the effectiveness of your storytelling, you need to find a story that engages your customers.
In addition, SEO will be necessary to expose your content to as many people as possible.
We hope this article will help you achieve your storytelling marketing goals and will inspire you to apply SEO storytelling techniques to your content creation.
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