Victoria Oakes is the Storytelling & Digital Destinations Lead at Microsoft UK. Her aim is to put people at the heart of all she does, whilst keeping a commercial focus to drive effective decision making and leadership. Victoria is really passionate about empowering people no matter their background and spends her time working for various charities. Outside of work, she is a board trustee at Launchpad and a mentor at The Prince’s Trust.
Stories are part of human nature – a way to connect with others and make sense of the world around us.
We’ve all grown up with stories. When you’re little you get sent off to sleep with a bedtime story, and as we get older we tell stories to share experiences with friends and family. Yet, as marketers, we often try to engage our audience with product specifications, data and stats, going against everything we’ve been taught.
The average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase, so we must find a way to cut through the noise and grab their attention. Good stories build connections between you and your prospects.
At Microsoft, we take a customer centric approach with our content, aligning what our customers need, with what we want to say to drive our commercial goals. We don’t create content to sell products, but rather to add value. Your content should be useful and answer a question that your customer has.
“We can build the best tech in the world, but unless our customers are using it and changing how they’re delivering their service than it’s just a bit of cool tech,” says Michael Wignall, UK Chief Technology Officer.
The proof is in the pudding.
By using customer insight to shape our content strategy and focussing on telling stories rather than selling products, our conversion rates have quadrupled, and the average time customers spend across articles has increased by 200 percent.
On the back of the success we’ve seen, we wanted to share our experience and the journey we’ve been on to change the way we talk to our customers. The Little Book of Storytelling is designed to give you some hints and tips on how you can tell great stories to better connect with your customers and drive stronger results from your content.
Remember that storytelling is not just the role of one, it takes an army of many.
Share these insights with your team and think about how you can build a storytelling community in your organisation. At Microsoft, we’ve created advocates in the business to contribute content in their areas of expertise, through our ‘Art of Storytelling’ podcast series and our Microsoft Blogger Series.
Take a look at some of our storytelling highlights: