Warning: Your readers don’t trust you (Backstory Series – Part 1)

Why You Need a Backstory for Truly Amazing Content

Build trust and go viral - Why you need a backstory for truly amazing contentInteresting background information in the form of a backstory is almost never included in most content. If your audience rarely gets to see or understand the origin or context of what you are promoting, they’re may not fully trust you. Too bad.

A backstory can be the most engaging and influential part of what you write. It’s your experience. It’s genuine. It’s reality. It’s you.

Plus, it can work for any type of content you create – email campaigns, product launches, press releases, blog posts, white papers, etc. A story improves almost anything where you are exposing your opinions, values or knowledge.

Your Advice (While It Is Excellent) Doesn’t Matter

I am sure your how-to content and lists of valuable insights are excellent. Your readers, however, are likely to think it’s just okay. They’ve probably read dozens of similar articles, emails or guides.

I used to fall into this trap with a lot of my product marketing deliverables. I was just delivering well-trod features and benefit statements. I did this even when writing case studies – which are meant to be stories. Yeesh.

These case studies had the requisite proof points of amazing ROI and a glowing customer quote. But they never really told the history or backstory that led to the customer’s achievements.

Over the years I learned to write case studies that were essentially short stories. I added more context and background on how and why they got to where they are. Now the facts and quotes had more meaning. As a result, case studies became the best sales tool we had.

With a backstory, your work can become so much more. Your content will truly blossom.

Why Your Content Needs a Backstory

A backstory typically involves the history of the individuals involved, their environment, critical moments and other not-so obvious details. That’s the good stuff. You are promoting interesting elements of your history that puts your information, insights and recommendations in a favorable context. You are telling a story. You are enhancing your existing pitch.

Scene from NewsiesWhy does this work? Inserting a backstory into your content marketing has some distinct advantages:

  • Build trust with your audience – You are exposing yourself which inherently opens the opportunity to establish a trusted connection.
  • Stand out from the crowd – You demonstrate that you have actual experience. Your competition looks like they just copy/paste the same “Top 10 Ways to…” content.
  • Increase likelihood of getting press coverage or going viral – News outlets crave interesting stories. That’s how they are successful. Add a backstory and you are much more likely to be picked up.
  • Influence your audience to interact with you or share – Your audience now knows you’re human, not just a company or bits on a computer. This triggers our social nature and increases the desire to participate as a community.

You can apply a backstory to any content you develop. Doing so helps you avoid the tendency to just promote the value of your idea with features and benefits. Your backstory can help you connect with your audience better and give them something buzzworthy to share. As a result, your campaigns are more effective and you enhance your relationship with your readers.

This post is Part 1 of a quick 3 part series that will explain how to create backstories that will wow your readers.

Come back again for:

7 Questions That Help You Develop an Exceptional Backstory (Part 2)

6 Types of Backstories Your Readers Will Love (Part 3)

Image: Greg Stands Alone by wolftone

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