Today is World Storytelling Day, which gives B2B marketers all the more reason to look at some of the great storytellers for inspirational ideas on what makes a compelling piece of content. Twain, Faulkner, Steinbeck—they all had lofty notions about the business of storytelling, but it was American crime-fiction author Elmore Leonard who put it best when offering advice to writers: “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”

In other words, don’t be boring—it’s a lesson that B2B marketers, whose industries are often times less flashy than the B2C space, would undoubtedly benefit from.

While most marketers will likely never harness the power of the written word the way Leonard did, one thing they have that he did not is interactive content. The digital landscape has never been more inviting, with potential for appealing to audiences via multiple channels.

B2B marketers need to leverage this content for all the entertainment value they can, and here are some simple ways to achieve just that.

Whet the audience’s appetite

There are few ways to prime a target audience better than showing them how much money they could be potentially making with your product. As one of the most authoritative names in marketing, HubSpot understands this more than most.

To help sell their inbound marketing software, they created a simple ROI calculator that visitors to their site can use to determine where their metrics are falling short.

 

After plugging in some basic figures (monthly visitors, leads, customers, etc.), the calculator then projects how much more revenue your operation will see after a year of using HubSpot software. It’s quite a persuasive argument when you see those growth-rate figures shoot through the roof.

Educate your audience

The number one reason you want to educate your audience is to alleviate any paint points on the purchase path. However, many marketers struggle to realize that just because we say “education,” that doesn’t mean it has to be stuffy and academic. There are great examples of brands telling their story in creative ways while helping potential customers down the sales funnel.

Take a look at Paradigm Life. There are few sectors out there more esoteric and cumbersome than the financial sector. And for many folks, financial planning can make your head spin. To alleviate the tedium Paradigm incorporated gamification in the form of a quiz to help educate their potential customers.

 

The questions aren’t that difficult, which means anyone can participate. By the end, the user can see his or her score and glean some insight into basic financial matters. It primes the user to go further down the funnel by clicking on the “free webinar” link the company provides at the end of the quiz.

Not only is this content interactive and interesting, but it also keeps the customer at the focus, which is something marketers need to hoan in on throughout all their interactive marketing efforts.

Make customer assessments fun

Just like you should tell compelling stories when educating your potential customers, you should also be dynamic when assessing those targets’ needs. GoToMeeting, the popular video conferencing app, did just that with their “Are You A Meeting MVP” campaign.

The campaign included various types of interactive content, but for their interactive customer assessment, they went full narrative style. First, they did what any good storyteller does and established a theme, and in this case, it was a football/sports theme.

The potential customer assumes the role of the athlete as he or she answers questions based on their conference needs. The scenario may be a little far-fetched, but that’s precisely the point—it makes nature of meetings more engaging. By the end of the assessment, the user is so involved that they’re interested to know what their ultimate score is.

Of course GoToMeeting leverages this engagement by offering a downloadable tip sheet at the end of the assessment. It offers actionable advice on what the prospect can do to increase productivity and efficiency, but it makes sure to include the real kicker: a CTA compelling the prospect to start a free trial.

Go visual

According to Forbes, over 500 million people watch videos on Facebook every day. On top of  that, people watch over one billion hours of YouTube videos a day. This all supports Animoto’s theory that we now live in a video-first world.

So how is your B2B brand leveraging this medium to tell your story and engage audiences? Take a look at the engaging content from Vidyard,  They are exclusively a video platform, so it makes sense that their site would be filled with video features. However, marketers can look to them as an example of leveraging interactive content,

When taking a tour, you’ll notice that while their video content is slick, well-produced and informative, oftentimes it’s also personalized to the user in question. This personalized video content even extends to their email marketing campaigns. They’re one example of a company that has gone all in on that great storytelling medium that has been with us for generations but is only now being leveraged to its full potential by marketers: video.

Conclusion

Despite technology, the goal remains the same: tell a good story and create brand awareness by engaging your audience. B2B marketers have more tools than ever at their fingertips in order to accomplish this.

 
Can you tell your story effectively enough to make that connection? Find out what content motivates millennial decision makers to interact with a brand.