If you were lucky enough, like me, to have parents and grandparents who actively participated in and relished their roles in your childhood, then you may have been thrilled by hearing a great bedtime story or two.

Your tiny body tucked under the sheets. Your untamed imagination left open to explore endless possibilities. Yes, story time could make bedtime less a disliked routine and more a time to cherish.

Storytelling or, more accurately, great storytelling can be a magical way to make an emotional connection. And that is true whether you are a six-year-old full of wonder, a six-figure-salaried CEO full of worry about profitability or a simple consumer wondering which products, services or businesses are the best to pursue.

Storytelling, more than ever, is an invaluable tool in today’s modern marketing world. Storytelling is an essential content marketing strategy that powers the connection between brand and consumer. When told effectively, a good story leaves a lasting impression and creates a memory unique to your brand.

In their book, The Elements of Persuasion, Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman define a good story as a “fact, wrapped in an emotion that compels us to take an action that transforms our world.”

Remember, the facts tell, but a story sells. And, in order to compel people to take action, a story needs to focus on what people want to hear. As Steve Jobs said, “a lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

With any business, you need to find a way to meet the needs and wants of your customers – even before they figured it out –  in such a compelling way that you impart both value and urgency to your customer leading to immediate action.

How? Rather than explaining what services you provide, talk about the ways your services will make things better for your customer. Instead of listing the features of your product, explain how a customer might use that product to solve a problem or find a solution. Find the story your customer wants to hear, make it unique and, seemingly, needed and tell it in a way that is memorable.

There are many more “stories” to tell about storytelling and how it can and should be used in your content marketing strategy. Remember this: If you can master the art of storytelling,  your chances of executing an effective content marketing strategy should comes as easily as a six-year-old falling asleep at the end of their favorite bedtime tale.