People remember a good story long after it’s been told.
How do you tell a good story? How do you make a memorable moment for your reader? Here’s 10 essential tips for effective storytelling.
Every story has a purpose/problem: If you are not solving a problem, then you do not have a story. In fact, if you are not solving a problem you do not have a product. Most products may solve more than one problem, but you have to figure out the one problem they solve that is the most common between your target market and that what makes your unique.’’(i)
Your product is the character in the story, make sure to give it personality: Your product has to align with your brand, values, etc. This is how you give it personality. People become loyal to products with a personality because they like the way they are marketed, what they represent and the solution they bring. If your brand does not align with your product, you are not creating advantage. (ii)
Tell the story they want to hear: As a digital marketing agency, we tend to use a compelling stories to showcase our clients’ businesses, products and services. We know this works because more people don’t want just the good stuff. They want:
Start telling that story and you will have an audience that will be on the edge of their seats. (iii)
Study comedians: The best stories, jokes or anecdotes have an unexpected punchline or twist at the end. When creating content, whether for your website, blog, or social media channels, think in terms of story arc and find a way to work in a punchline or creative twist. Things that are unexpected can be very entertaining, engaging and can go far in terms of emotional appeal. (iv)
Write the way you speak (while knowing the grammar rules well enough to break them): Of course, this varies based on the audience and platform. However, adopting this strategy helps ditch passive voice, excessive formality, and dryness. (v)
Know the difference between a story and an anecdote: An anecdote is simply a ‘’slice of life’’. It might be amusing, sad or tragic. It might take you 15 seconds or 15 minutes to tell it. By contrast, a story has an official, literary definition: a hero or heroine struggles to overcome obstacles to reach an important goal. And that definition makes all the difference! If you want to reach your audience at all levels, tell a story rather than simply an anecdote. Stories touch both the mind and the emotions, tugging at the listener’s senses to make your story memorable and engaging. The listener struggles right along with the hero to reach the goal and feels the same sense of satisfaction as your hero at the end of the journey. (vi)
Tell your story, don’t narrate it: Bring your characters on stage and let them talk. Set the scene, and use present tense. Narrators tell the story in the past tense. They put themselves in the middle – between the audience and what’s happened – as if they saw something earlier, which they are relaying. (vii)
Know your audience: It does no good to tell a wonderful story, if your audience doesn’t get it. Storytelling in the context of content creation for the internet is mostly about marketing. Spend time getting to know your audience before you try to market to them. (viii)
Write fewer words, but make those words powerful: Have you ever listened to a child describe a special experience? The words rush out. They don’t leave you in suspense or waste breath on adjectives. They get right to the point. People seem to lose the ability to convey a succinct message with enthusiasm [especially when writing] as they get older. So, write fewer words, but make those words powerful. Compel your audience. Don’t waste the precious few seconds they’re giving you [while reading your message] with tired phrases, empty words and clichés. (ix)
Solve a problem: Dissatisfaction with the status quo is a powerful vehicle for storytelling. All readers are dissatisfied in some way. By using that, you can uncover conflicts other than ‘’good vs evil’’. When you’re creating stories around products, focusing on dissatisfaction can help you present the thing you’re selling in a more compelling way. (x)
– This post was written by Emma Vince – former Digital PR Lead at Tinderpoint.
(i) Andres Tova, Chief Commercial Officer, Noetic Marketer
(ii) Andres Tova, Chief Commercial Officer, Noetic Marketer
(iii) Marc Ensign, CEO, LoudMouse
(iv) Maree Jones, Publicity and Communications Specialist, Luckie & Company
(v) Jessica Mehta, CEO, Mehtafor
(vi) Dianna Booher, CEO, BooherResearch
(vii) Dianna Booher, CEO, BooherResearch
(viii) Kate Walker, SEO and Content Creator, Get Better Traffic
(ix) Elizabeth Gibson, Chief Content Officer, ezLandlordForms
(x) Tara Duveanu, Content Strategist, Nollar