Storytelling has become a buzzword in marketing—but it is a very powerful part of content marketing!
Storytelling is a powerful way of persuasion.
As enrollment marketers, we need to move our engagement with students from transactional to engagement to persuasion.
The good news is that colleges and universities are story-rich environments.
Alumni and students have so many incredible authentic stories to tell about their colleges and universities.
However, the bad news is that higher ed marketing teams can sometimes get in their own way by curating those stories till they’re just another batch of overly processed advertisements.
People want to hear about real experiences. But if schools want to share those stories, they first have to find them.
In this episode, Chris shares with us why messy, organic stories are what audiences crave in today’s attention-seeking social economy and how higher ed marketers can find them.
The Power of Storytelling
Storytelling is probably one of the oldest forms of communication.
Since our ancestors sat around the fire, storytelling has been a crucial part of the way we transmit our values, identity, and information.
In our conversation, Chris shared why this communication art form is still relevant for enrollment marketers
[Storytelling is] delighting your audience with the thing that they really want.
What people want these days—especially in this crazy “attention economy” that we live in right now, which [makes] things more difficult than ever to stand out—is authenticity.
They buy products because they want a product. But they invest in colleges and universities because of people.
It’s about authenticity.
Stories, when collected and told ethically, are the most authentic thing that there is.
Being able to collect, chronicle, and share those stories about people is key to marketing success in enrollment.
The Difficulty in Storytelling
While the idea of storytelling isn’t hard to conceptualize, implementing it into our marketing processes is not easy at all.
The hardest piece of it all is collecting the stories and organizing them.
Collecting [stories] is really the essential part of it.
A lot of organizations just don’t have the money to send somebody out to all these people [to collect their stories], especially if you’re a university with alumni all over the country or all over the world.
How do you collect [these stories] at any sort of scale when you’re geographically separated?
You’ve got to set everything up to empower the storyteller to tell the story the way that they want to tell it, which is probably in the comfort of their own home in a nice, safe setting where they feel comfortable.
We’ve had a lot of success with people just contributing stories on their own. It’s just so difficult to do if you’re trying to do it at any sort of scale without digital tools.
This is where MemoryFox can help.
How MemoryFox Works
I’ve been using MemoryFox to try and capture stories from our former guests on The Higher Ed Marketer podcast so I can share their experiences on our show with others.
It’s been amazing how many people have participated because they can easily respond back just by recording a video through the MemoryFox tool, and it uploads directly to the platform.
Now all of a sudden, I’ve got all these videos in the platform that I can download and utilize in my content.
MemoryFox also allows them to leave an audio message, and they can also write a quick comment about it.
Several times, I’ve been able to ask them questions or prompt them to go a little deeper by following up with them through the platform.
I love the fact that in all of this, MemoryFox helps me keep it all organized.
Build Your Story Bank
Organizing the stories you capture is also a very important part of the process.
The better you can organize your stories, the better and more efficiently you can publish those stories as a part of your content marketing.
Organizing your storytelling process is what Chris calls “building a story bank.”
My best piece of advice [for any enrollment marketer] would be to start building a story bank.
Keep it organized. Make sure you know who’s in it, [and that each story] is approved for use.
[If you start now collecting stories], within a year you’ll have a story bank that you could use for all kinds of different situations!
You can use some on social media, some you could mash up and use in annual reports. Some you could use for specific donors who have specific missions they support.
But by having that story bank, that evergreen story bank, [you’ll have] content that is reusable, time and time again.
[This is especially helpful if] you don’t have a lot of resources and time. By [building a story bank] you save yourself a lot of time and resources in the end.
To learn more about how MemoryFox can help you leverage storytelling in your content marketing, please check out my affiliate link here.
Discover more when you listen to the podcast!
Like all of our blog post reviews of The Higher Ed Marketer podcasts, there’s so much more to learn in the podcasts themselves.
Listen to our interview with Chris Miano to get even more insights into:
- Delighting audiences with authentic storytelling (5:59)
- Why stories matter in spreading brand awareness (12:36)
- The difference between self-promotion and a conversation (21:23)
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Featured image via memoryfox.io