4 Reasons Personal Narrative is a Critical Part of Content Marketing

by Chad Carpenter | 4 MIN READ
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Your brand has a story, from the way it was created to the way your products are changing lives and making things easier for your customers.

Telling those stories through a personal narrative is one of the most critical parts of content marketing.

Doing so helps buyers relate to your brand, speaking directly to their needs in a way that other forms of marketing simply can't.

Create an Emotional Reaction

Nothing tugs at the heartstrings quite like a personal story.

When you use personal narrative as part of your marketing strategy, you have the ability to evoke certain emotions in potential buyers. Emotions can vary based on the feeling that you want associated with your brand.

For example, you can:

  • Tell a great story about how this particular product or service came to be.
  • Discuss how your brand is donating to charity and what impact a customer's purchase will have.
  • Find that special something that gets you excited about your company every day.
  • Paint a picture of what your brand is accomplishing and how it is changing individual lives.

Make It Memorable

People remember stories. They might not be able to share the details perfectly after a single telling, but they'll certainly be able to connect with the story, remembering how it made them feel and what it accomplished.

Many traditional forms of marketing focus on pulling out details about a particular brand and sharing them in a way that will catch customers' attention. Storytelling—giving customers a narrative to focus on—will help your brand stand out in their mind (and might even make it newsworthy).

It doesn't even necessarily matter whether or not a specific narrative is true, though you shouldn't lie about your brand or your product.

The truth is that people prefer stories to facts.

Your customers' brains are hard-wired to appreciate the story that you're telling. When you tell a good one, you improve brand recognition and enhance customers' opinions of your brand.

The best stories, however, are the ones that have a ring of truth through personal narrative.

Real-Life Experience Touches People

When people open up about their personal stories, it creates a level of vulnerability that speaks to the reader.

The best stories are the ones that are true and personal. What is it about your brand that makes it stands out? How does your brand do something that really sets it apart?

These are the moments that will reach out to your audience, grab them, and make them open their wallets for your brand.

For example, do you...

  • Do incredible charity work that is changing the lives of people across the nation?
  • Have a solution for a huge problem that is impacting Americans?
  • Have a story that will resonate in people's hearts because they can identify with it?

From a rags-to-riches story of a CEO mom who created her own business out of absolute desperation to the stunning story of a company who experienced trials, but turned itself around in an effort to make a difference in the community or in the world, stories create a personal connection with people.

Every mom understands what it's like to be that struggling parent, wondering if you're going to be able to provide for your kid.

Every business professional imagines that moment when they'll be able to open the door that makes a genuine difference.

Defining and understanding the narrative that goes along with your brand makes it easier to touch people—and that means they'll come back to you to see what else you have to offer.

Personal Narratives Engage and Involve Your Audience

Marketing doesn't just have to speak to your audience. The best marketing speaks with them.

It's a conversation: an engagement between your customers and your brand.

They want to know your story. It's your goal to give them the tools to understand it and share it with others.

As you interact with your customers, you're able to better understand what they want from you as a marketer and as a company, then alter your plans in order to provide it. That doesn't mean that the narrative changes or that your story is different because of your customers, though it is. It simply means that you engage with your customers as part of your narrative.

Consider these questions:

  • What pieces do your customers have to add to your brand's larger story?
  • How do your customers connect with your brand's narrative? What can you offer them that will enhance that connection?
  • How can your customers add to your existing marketing campaign? Do their stories make your success more evident?
  • How can addressing customer failures or customers who aren't happy with the product make your narrative more attractive to potential clients?

Engaging with your customers and allowing them to participate in these personal narratives also has another bonus: they'll put forth some of the marketing effort for you!

From featuring customer stories to offering incentives to customers who are willing to share pictures and reviews, you can encourage customers to offer their narratives to build the company's larger story.

Start Sharing Your Brand's Story

Your brand has a story. By sharing it, you can connect with your customers, enhance their experience, and substantially improve your odds of creating brand ambassadors who will help increase your outreach (while lowering your cost-per-lead).

Look for ways to bring your company's personal narrative to light, and watch all the incredible benefits that go along with it, from more deeply engaging customers to creating new vehicles for conversation that will draw others to your brand.

Your narrative can't connect to buyers you don't know!

Download the Buyer Persona Creation Guide

Originally published June 30, 2016. Updated November 28, 2017.