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Community in IT: How to Use Storytelling to Stand Out As An MSP

Managed service providers have historically had trouble building a sense of community with their audience: after all, it’s a service rooted in technicalities and focused on providing results. However, the value of keeping a conversation with clients is a virtually untapped well of engagement for any MSP, especially when it comes to engagement.

Storytelling is one such way to have this conversation. By building a story about the value of your services, your MSP can connect to your clients in a way that goes past the technicalities of what you provide and engages on a personal level. This allows IT (usually seen as an impersonal and data-driven field) to become a tailored conversation your clients can enjoy.

Common Roadblocks MSP Providers Have With Storytelling

That being said, storytelling and MSPs aren’t a new combination. IT providers have repeatedly tried to leverage storytelling as a way to get customers engaged with who they are and what they offer – but usually with varying degrees of success. While the exact reason why this can be difficult varies depending on your MSP’s primary service, here are some common roadblocks that MSPs usually face with storytelling:

1) Customers looking for genuine work

Customer trust has become an essential part of selling MSP services. Today’s customers have all the resources and tools possible to do their own research: which means MSPs can’t sell themselves based on their services alone anymore. In an age where the mistakes of big tech ripple across to everyone in the same industry, MSPs need to work harder to convince potential clients that their work can be trusted.

2) Content doesn’t make an emotional connection to readers

MSPs aren’t exactly the most engaging thing to write about – at their core, they’re IT services that help operations run smoothly. Most MSPs have trouble finding the right angle to portray their services as something that resonates with their audience emotionally. While difficult, this approach isn’t impossible: it just needs an authentic, customer-driven approach to work.

3) Stories that aren’t memorable or relatable to the audience’s needs

There are plenty of stories out there about how people can find IT frustrating, but surprisingly not a lot about how MSPs have stepped forward to solve them. All too often, the focus is on how solutions can give you benefits, but not how solutions can solve problems. This causes a disconnect between an MSP’s story and their audience: the question of “how is this supposed to help me make a decision?”

4) Lack of basic knowledge on how stories should be built

Not everyone has the skills to write a well-crafted story. For MSPs, the majority of staff and resources are often on its services. This makes sense since you should allot resources to the thing that matters the most. But without a dedicated or trained content team, an MSP runs the risk of publishing bad stories. A bad story is like a bad conversation – it’ll alienate the other person and leave them with a worse impression of you.

5) Failure to showcase brand personality through stories

MSPs may offer the same services overall, but there are plenty of ways a particular MSP can stand out from its peers. Every person’s experience with IT is different, and the key to successful storytelling is in leveraging how well you can address these differences. However, most MSPs usually miss the mark on this, putting an emphasis purely on the services they provide and failing to inject their unique branding and personality.

Ways MSPs Can Leverage Storytelling In Their Content

So how can MSPs use storytelling in a meaningful way in their content? If you already have a great story to tell, all you need is the right channel to make sure your story gets delivered. For content marketing, here are three of the best channels that you can push your story:

Email Marketing

Email marketing is best suited for engagement with your community since you can send them on demand and with some regularity if enough developments are happening with your MSP. More immediate than a blog post yet not as demanding as a personal message, it’s a great way to inform your clients about things that they need to know about.

You can use email marketing to:

  • Inform them of new services that your MSP may offer
  • Updates on your MSP's social advocacies or other similar activities
  • Sharing personalized, quick takes on industry insights
  • Keeping them up to date about news in your industry that they may find relevant

By using storytelling in your email marketing, your MSP can engage with your audience regularly, building up trust in your brand’s engagement and basically kick-starting any essential conversation you may need with your customers.

Articles/Blogs

Writing articles and blogs is one of the best ways for your MSP to showcase its services: essentially, telling your audience how you can help them. The possible long-form nature of some blogs and articles can give you a lot of room to tell an engaging story about you or your services, allowing you to give your customers a reason why they should engage with you.

Articles and blogs can:

  • Help establish the nature and necessity of MSP services for your clients
  • Inform them about issues in your industry that may be relevant to their business
  • Serve as an easy-to-understand knowledge hub that your audience (or your employees) can consult
  • Builds up authenticity, credibility, and trustworthiness in your field
  • Showcase your brand’s personality and evolution throughout the years.

Aside from SEO optimization and other ways to make your content better, storytelling through blogs and articles is far more natural. And with consistent posting, it can be a great source of leads for your business.

Case Studies

Case studies can be considered a special, in-depth look at how your services have helped a specific client – kind of like a personalized article/blog about your business. It’s an excellent way to show your capabilities as an MSP, with the addition of overall context in a real-life application.

Case studies are great since they:

  • Show proof of concept that your services can work for your audience
  • Can be verified by your audience on their own
  • Permits a data-driven look at how your MSP operates 
  • Personalize your services to a specific audience
  • Offer the possibility of constructing an engaging narrative about your company

With case studies, you not only get an opportunity to tell your story, but you also get the room needed to prove to your clients that your story is worth listening to.

Create Stories Worth Listening To With Writrly

Storytelling is a powerful narrative tool that isn’t limited to creative companies alone – even managed service providers can benefit from their strong engagement potential. By using storytelling in your content, your MSP can go beyond the impersonal surface of the IT industry and speak to your audience on a personal level, creating a connection that can be used to further grow your relationship together.

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