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Using content arcs in your marketing is a simple way to tell a story, entertain and provide value to your customers. But do you know how to create a story?
What exactly is a content arc?
If you’ve ever told anyone about that crazy thing that happened to you at Walmart last year, you realize that people love a good story. Content arcs are just drawn out stories for the purpose of selling a product or service. Like any good story, there needs to be something more to it than, “I’m selling fudge now.” While that’s factual, that’s a pretty flat story. What makes it a good story is adding in all the details.
“These things only happen to me, I swear!
I went to Walmart because I’m making fudge and I didn’t have condensed milk. I’d heard that there was a sale going on there, so I went. Of course, when you walk into Walmart, you can’t just get the one thing you need. You have to spend $100 minimum just to walk through the doors!
So, I wandered into the candy isle. Do you know how much they want for premade fudge? It’s ridiculous!! My recipe costs 1/4 of that and tastes amazing! My daddy taught me a long time ago how to keep it so the sugar doesn’t crystallize. Smooth as butter every time.
Anyway, when I was in the candy isle, this woman walked up to me and asked me if I was there to buy fudge. I told her I was actually on my way to get the ingredients to make my own and she got excited! She went on and on about how she’s been trying to perfect her fudge for years. I was really surprised, but she gave me her secret ingredient after I gave her one of mine…. Well, we got talking and turns out, our secret ingredients together make THE BEST FUDGE!
We decided to go into business together and sell it! Isn’t that amazing?!”
Isn’t that a way better story? Now, obviously this story is a little much. They don’t all have to have such an amazing ending. Usually they will end with your product or service.
What kinds of things can I sell using content arcs?
Oh, friend. The possibilities are ENDLESS! Everything you or your company offers needs to be marketed- individual products, sets the company puts together, set you put together, host specials, join specials, guest specials… everything.
In the example above, this gal is announcing that she has a new product- the most amazing fudge. In direct sales, we have so much more to offer than just our products. We can offer our hosting opportunity and even the business opportunity. Have you ever considered writing a content arc about becoming a consultant with your company instead of just sharing the join special or kits? *mindblown*
Traditional marketing would have you hanging out and waiting for people to have a need that you can fill and hoping that they think of you, and your company, as a means to solve their problem. With content marketing, we are going to be skirting around the edges the whole time, providing value that customers didn’t know they needed and then offering products and services they didn’t know they wanted. This is why content arcs with stories are important.
Where and when do I use a content arc?
A majority of what we post in our customer groups on Facebook, to our Instagram feed, and even send in our email marketing, should be part of our content arc. How will our customers be able to find the Wizard if we don’t pave the street with yellow bricks? (side note: one of my favorite movies ever)
Because we live in a time of social media engagement being king, we need to make the content engaging enough to receive sought after like or, even better, a comment. This means our content needs to actually be curated. Thought needs to be given and intentions needs to be clear when posting. You need to know “why” you are posting that particular thing at this particular time. Posting willy nilly will get content out there, but it doesn’t lay down a clear roadmap to what you want your customer to do.
Great, but this all seems overwhelming.
I know. Trust me, I know. It totally feels like a lot of pressure to put on a funny meme you’re about to post to Facebook. The good news is, memes have a place in your arc!
It took me months of training to wrap my head around how to utilize content arcs. But once that light bulb lit… man, it all made sense! This is just part one of the content arc explanation. The next post gets into the actual process of creating one. Subscribe to this blog to get notifications of the rest of the series so you can put the pieces together!
Before you head over to the next post, go ahead and sign up for your FREE Social Content Planner. When your light bulb goes off, you’re going to want it.
Drop a comment if your light bulb went off!