Bringing Storytelling to B2B Marketing: Using the Seven Basic Plots
In our last blog post, we discussed the theory of the Seven Basic Plots and how storytelling can transform your content into something memorable and impactful.
But understanding the differing plots isn’t enough – you must be able to apply them. Fortunately, there’s a variety of ways that you can use the story types in B2B content. Let’s take a look at two use cases to get a better understanding of what the story approach looks like in action:
Use Case 1: Case Studies
Good case studies are integral to persuading B2B buyers to purchase your products or services. According to a survey from Demand Gen, when asked about the most valuable content formats or sources for researching B2B purchases, 35% of B2B executives pointed to case studies.
One way to make your case studies stand out to buyers is to approach them through the ‘Overcoming the Monster’ story type. To do so, you’ll need to separate your case study into three sections:
Section 1: Background & Challenge. This acts as the exposition of the story. Share relevant background information on the company, including the company name if permitted, and explain what challenge or ‘monster’ they were facing that led them to work with your organization.
Section 2: Approach. This is where the meat of the plot and the climax happens. Explain the approach you took to defeating the ‘monster,’ including concrete steps and actions where relevant.
Section 3: Results. Now we reach the resolution or denouement. Detail the results the company saw from working with you, including as much qualitative data as you can.
As you create your case study, think about the words you can use to convey a sense of adventure and action. Words like “challenge,” “threat,” “journey,” and “duel” can invigorate your content — just make sure your language is in keeping with the tone of your brand!
Use Case 2: Nurture Streams
One major advantage of the seven stories method is that it offers you a foundation from which to build a simple nurture stream out of three content pieces.
Begin by splitting the story into three parts: the exposition; the action and climax; and the resolution. Each part aligns with a stage in the buyer’s journey. There are different ways to look at the buyer’s journey, but for our purposes, we will think of the journey as having three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. Now see how easily they align: the exposition and awareness; the action and climax and consideration; the resolution and decision.
Once you see how these align, it’s easy to build content for each phase of the buyer’s journey so that the entire nurture stream tells the story you’ve chosen.
Let’s take a look at an example. Suppose you work at a company that wants to sell its telehealth system to major healthcare providers across the U.S. You understand that many of these providers regularly use telehealth, but their current infrastructure is less than ideal, which causes frustrations for both clinicians and patients.
First, you choose a story type. You decide to tell a story based on The Quest because you envision your prospective clients on a quest to choose the right telehealth platform.
Next, you use the buyer’s journey to come up with content for each stage of the content funnel. That gives you a diagram that looks something like this:
|Buyer’s Journey / Story Stage
|Awareness / Exposition
|Introduce the Quest. Healthcare providers are on a quest to find telehealth platforms that are easy to use, reduce the burden on clinicians, and improve the patient experience.
|Short Article: 3 Reasons Your Telehealth Platform Needs an Upgrade ASAP
|Consideration / Action & Climax
|Explain the Challenges on the Way. There are tons of options to choose from, making it difficult for providers to get the most bang for their buck. Plus, once a platform is chosen, there’s the issue of successfully integrating it.
|Mid-Length Article: Top Challenges to Choosing a Telehealth Platform – And How to Overcome Them
|Decision / Resolution
|Complete the Quest. You explain the unique benefits of your platform and detail your integration support services.
|Sales Brochure: The [COMPANY NAME] Approach to Telehealth Success
Now all that’s left to do is add in the right supporting assets, like CRM emails and paid social ads, to create a simple but effective nurture stream that guides your prospects to a telehealth platform purchase.
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These are just two ways that you can use the story approach. There are infinite possibilities for the approach, depending on what content you’re working on at any given time. You can use the plots to create brand stories, demos, webinars, interactive content, or even social media posts. The only limit is how much you’re willing to experiment.
By Rona Vaselaar
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.