It’s official. The backpacks are packed, the lunch boxes are in hand, and the cute kiddies are piling onto school buses and into carpool lanes, embarking on yet another school year. While some things never change (like high hopes at the beginning of the school year), some things do, especially if you’re in content marketing. In this Friday Fix, we reveal that 2017 is shaping up to be a big year for native advertising. We also look into the emotional storytelling power of VR, emotional arcs in storytelling (and why you should care), and how microbologging sites are changing to better lend themselves to brand stories.  So, grab a cup of coffee (or do a yoga pose, which apparently is just as effective at boosting energy or so some say) and sit back and get a helping of the Friday Fixings.

What Happens When You Combine Virtual Reality and Cause Marketing?

If your mother ever told you to try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, you knew that meant that you were supposed to try to imagine what it was like to be that person. Well, now, thanks to virtual reality (VR), you can practically experience what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes without moving from where you’re sitting. Per Taylor Mallory Holland in this piece, forward-thinking entities are using VR to tell new stories via cause marketing. Not only does this bring important stories into greater focus, it also has a huge payoff for the brands.

How Emotional Arcs Can Help Brand Storytelling, as Revealed by AI

Rather than focusing on plot lines, as it turns out, emotional arcs play a bigger role in our attraction toward certain stories. In this fascinating read, Krystal Overmyer discusses research conducted in which a machine conducted a keyword analysis of various stories to net six common story arcs, which they were then able to connect to common archetypes. What’s cool is that this research provides a different way of thinking about storytelling for content marketing.

Virtual Reality is Becoming the Next Great Storytelling Canvas

While conceptually, the idea behind storytelling remains as unfixed as it did the first time a caveman grunted out the first narrative (or at least, we can assume this is what happened), the way stories are told is on the cusp of revolution. As Gian LaVecchia articulates in this piece, virtual reality reinvents our ability to tell “emotionally immersive” and “culturally aware” stories on a new canvas that piques our curiosity.

Real Connections in a Virtual World

If you don’t know anything about GE’s Director of Marketing Innovation, Katrina Craigwell, let Carrie Kerpen introduce you. In this piece, Carrie unveils not only what Katrina’s learned in her professional journey to where she is today (such as trust your team and be legitimately enthusiastic about what you do) but also how she’s able to make human connections using “passion points” to tell stories via social platforms.

Marketing to Millennials on Snapchat

Different platforms have different features and their reach varies. Per John Ring, Snapchat, which you’ve surely heard of, has already outstripped Twitter in terms of the number of users, and while there are changes on the horizon, the storytelling platform’s ephemeral quality attracts and engages that elusive yet critical population, the Millennials, in a wholly unique way.

Twitter Opens Moments to Brands, Creating a Storytelling Opportunity

There has been a lot of shift in social media platforms lately, hasn’t there? They’re increasingly lending themselves to facilitating storytelling. In recent Fixes, we’ve chatted about what Facebook and Instagram are doing, and here, we look at Snapchat and now, in this piece by Alison Kanski, we gain insight as to how the original microblogging platform, Twitter, aims to use Moments to tell longer stories and to ultimately engage a broader generation.

6 Companies that are Setting the Bar in Native Advertising  

If you’ve ever had a server crash due to ads, then you can relate to what many audiences encounter (and thus understand their frustration). Of course, as Eli Schwartz point out, this means that it’s become necessary to find new ways to reach target audiences. If you’re floating along in this boat (or are just curious as to what amazing native advertising looks like) then look no further than Netflix, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, and others for inspiration.

The Future of Content

So, hopefully you read the previous piece because this article by Rohinee Mohindroo on the future of content expands on the same issue of ad blocking and what this means for content marketing.  Rohinee states that while content marketing will still be about communicating with customers (because, obviously), the type and method of connection will change. Among other things, Rohinee reveals that native ad revenues are expected to hit $17.5 billion in 2017.

Breaking Bland: Adding Personality to Your B2B Content Marketing

If Sirius Decisions’ statistic that 60-70% of B2B marketing departments’ content is unused isn’t traumatic, then let Imani Mixon further horrify you with a spot-on description of how most B2B content is presented and shared.  Thankfully, there are ways to shake things up; in this piece, Imani brings in real-life examples from actual companies that are “breaking bland” when it comes to B2B.

How to Avoid Being Too Aggressive in Content Marketing

Respectfully, we understand that there are times where all you want to do is run up to your audience screaming, “Love me!” because you know from all of this lovely rhetoric that the relationship will ultimately (hopefully) result in mutually beneficial goals for you and your audience. In this article, Lindsay Sakraida provides infinitely more useful advice on how to attract an audience (spoiler: running up to anyone screaming, “love me,” is almost always guaranteed to have the opposite effect.) 

If you’re a company looking to engage audiences across multiple platforms and in an authentic voice, contact us, The Storyteller Agency; we have the experience, expertise, and integrity you want when telling your brand story.