Did you know a healthy adult takes 12 to 16 breaths in one minute?
But have you ever thought about what can actually happen online in this single minute?
Okay, I will give you an idea… take a look at these numbers from Smart Insights:
- 4 million search queries per minute
- 1,388 blog posts are published
- Facebook users share 3.3 million pieces of content
- 205 million emails sent
- 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube
- Twitter users tweet nearly 422, 340 times
- Instagram users post nearly 55,555 new photos
Given this crazy amount of activity going on every minute, of every day, the real question is how your content will grab the attention of your target audience. If you really want to attract people, you need to tell a genuine and interesting story.
Stories are a great medium to express your views, impress people and make a human connection with them.
We, humans, are social creatures and we are attracted to stories. Everyone has a story and everyone loves a great story. It gives us a reason to communicate and engage.
Why storytelling is important
In recent years, “storytelling” has become a buzzword in marketing and the corporate world. Stories are an integral part of our society and culture.
You will find stories are everywhere – movies, books, news, media, music, religion. But did you know that this isn’t a new concept, and is as old as humanity?
90% of our purchasing decisions are influenced by emotions. So, It’s very critical to engage with buyers online. You can only connect with your buyer’s emotional sense with compelling photos or visuals, an interesting product description, and an attractive but genuine story.
Storytelling isn’t just your company history or journey; you can use it in all content formats like blog posts, emails, videos, ebooks, product guides, case studies and more. Your story must appeal to your audience.
Remember, If you can’t properly convey a relevant story then your product or service is not going to appeal to your audience.
If you are a content marketer, you need to learn how to deliver a great story to your prospects. Once you learn to tell a good story, your audience will attract to you. And, they will turn into leads, your leads into customers, and your customers into happy customers.
Philip Pullman said: “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
We connect with stories emotionally. In the beginning of this article, I told you some quick facts, right?
They look impressive, but do you connect with them emotionally?
And there is a chance you will forget these numbers by the time you finish this post. Right?
People don’t remember facts, they remember stories. It’s easier for us to recall stories than facts.
Watch this video to know more about the science behind storytelling.
You need to think about what emotion you want to communicate and then craft your story to support the emotion.
According to Scientific American:
“Stories stimulating positive emotions are more widely shared than those eliciting negative feelings, and content that produces greater emotional arousal (making your heart race) is more likely to go viral. This means that content that makes readers or viewers feel a positive emotion like awe or wonder is more likely to take off online than content that makes people feel sad or angry.”
See this visual to know how storytelling affects the brain:
Image Source: SEOPressor
If you want your content to go viral, make it emotional, make it positive, and embrace storytelling. Storytelling is crucial to your content marketing strategy.
How to create an engaging story (a magic formula)
Now you understand the importance of storytelling, you need to learn how to create an engaging and appealing story.
I’ll discuss 3 key elements that make up a story. These elements will help you prepare for effective communication that inspires others to act!
Elements of an engaging story:
First element, Character. Every good story has a compelling character. And you need to craft the whole story around this character.
The Character is a connection between you, and your target audience. You need to choose a character which your audience can relate to easily.
For this, you should always listen to and understand your audience’s needs and problems.
Second element, Drama. Set a drama which fits your prospect’s problems, needs, or buyer’s journey. If it doesn’t fit, how will they connect?
If you want to have a better idea, spend some time understanding your buyer’s journey and their problems.
Storytelling is all about what you’re telling and a little drama or conflict helps to build an emotional bond with your audience.
Remember, your story must have some drama but don’t over do it, make it genuine.
The last element is Resolution. Where there’s drama or conflict, your audience will naturally want some sort of resolution.
Good stories surprise us. They don’t always have to be a happy ending. The resolution should wrap up the story but should also clearly call your audience to action. It fulfills the purpose behind the story.
Resolution should make them think, make them feel.
Before creating your story, plan out the character, create some drama, create emotional appeal, be authentic, and reveal the resolution. Keep your story clear and concise.
Read what Dale Carnegie said:
“Your purpose is to make your audience see what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt. Relevant detail, couched in concrete, colorful language, is the best way to recreate the incident as it happened and to picture it for the audience.”
Watch this video from Fusion 360 to help you become an effective storyteller:
An example of storytelling from this blog
Let’s take a look at this piece of content and see how Jeff Bullas did with his storytelling.
He created this blog post: How I Used Marketing Automation (and Twitter) To Grow My Email List By 10,000 New Subscribers
Right from the title you can tell what the conflict is – Using marketing automation to grow your email list.
Remember, a title isn’t always going to be about the conflict. Sometimes, it might be about the resolution and other times it might summarize what the blog post is all about.
Let’s dig deeper. Who is the character? From the title, it appears like the character will be the storyteller (Jeff Bullas). And, the audience or the reader who wants to grow their email list through marketing automation will easily connect with the storyteller.
As you’ll see, Jeff continues to use this point of view throughout the blog post.
And finally, the blog post provides the resolution. Step-by-step instructions on using marketing automation to grow your email list.
The story is clear and concise and ties back to their purpose – Jeff uses relevant screenshots and engaging language.
To be successful in today’s business world, it is critical to effectively build your story and deliver it in a compelling way.
Now it’s your turn…
How do you use storytelling in your content? Please share your views in the comment section below, I’d love to hear them. :-)
Guest Author: Pawan Kumar is a Certified Inbound Marketer and Content Creator at Sarv.com. He is a learner of digital marketing, story-teller, and movie geek. Don’t hesitate to connect with him on social media.