Everyone loves a good story. Stories do something to people that other resources and means can’t. They take us way back in time. They’re sorts of time machines that everyone want to hop on. They infer to the future that can be created, a process that can be replicated and provoke emotions that cause people to stop and listen.
But things weren’t always like these…
“Wait, what happened?”
“You said things weren’t always like these?”
“Oh, I did?”
“Seriously, what happened?”
This conversation isn’t calling for an answer to the question, ‘what?’ It’s calling for a story. We missed something and we want someone to take us back in time so we can have an idea of what went on.
The art of storytelling has been an interest for marketers for quite some time now. Roughly, 15000 years to go by the figures. Before, we used words, paintings and encryptions to tell a story. Today, art, motion graphics, animations, movies are more prominent means that people use to tell a story.
It sounds complicated, but regardless of the means chosen by a story teller, the art of storytelling boils down to three key elements.
Use the table of content below to jump to specific sections of the article. I'll cover:
Elements of a good story
To understand elements of story telling, let’s have a look at the fictional character Emily and her story below:
Be an Emily!
Emily grew up believing that she had the entire world under her feet. She, however, doesn’t look like a type of a girl who would smash you right on your face if you mess up with her. Rather her perfect figure embodies confidence, believe and faith
However, like most people who end up in the blogging industry, things weren’t going as fast as she had anticipated. To meet her blogging costs, which are by no mean feat, she had to find a side hustle. She opted for freelancing, as an article writer.
As if odds were not on her side, she got scammed her hard-earned money several times, and when she got paid, it was nothing but pennies.
Maybe it was time to give up the freelancing world and go find a payday job.
This kind of thought wouldn’t sit well with Emily. So instead, she rolled up her sleeves, and determined more than ever, she dived in to find everything she could about blogging and freelancing.
That’s when she came across The Penny Matters, a website that helped her with great actionable tips in running a successful blog and maintaining a promising online business.
The truth is, finding a website that is generous with unique and tested tips is hard. The Penny Matters exists to power the entire content creation process and put a smile on the faces of people like Emily.
If you read through the story above keenly, you will find three important elements of storytelling in the content creation process.
The challenge: This is a question that creates curiosity in the mind of your readers. ” Would Emily finally find a breakthrough?”
The Struggle: This element offers an emotional experience as the protagonist (Emily) faces obstacles and eventually overcoming the challenge
The Resolution: As the story comes to an end, the protagonist finds a light in this story, or suffers for their lack of proper judgment etc. You can, of course, bring a few unexpected twists and turns through this element. This is also a perfect stage to weave in a call to action that relates to the story. For instance, I am, in the story above, intellectually inviting people to visit The Penny Matters, without actually asking them to.
Overview: Art of Story Telling
Everyone loves a good story, everybody would fall in love with a great epic story that relates to them.
The magic of stories is that they have the ability to connect with people emotionally.
While the art of storytelling is something that takes time and commitment to master, it’s not rocket science. By nature, we are storytellers.
We report events, narrate stories and relive memories every day.
To tell a great story, you need to tell it from your heart and in your own unique manner. Just as people don’t experience life the same way, stories cannot be told in the same manner. The stories could be the same, but storytellers are not.
Turn Your Reader into a Protagonist.
To effectively implement the art of storytelling in your content marketing strategy, you need to view your reader as a protagonist. Protagonists are always on the people’s side.
They are initiators. They want to build something but their efforts are always counterattacked by their antagonists. In my story above the antagonists are the scammers, and the low paying clients who want to rip off our protagonist- Emily (my eventual reader) of her hard earned money, which slows down her ultimate blogging goals.
You can create a great story for your blog/website as well.
3 Moments to Travel Back to Get Inspiration for Your Next Story
- Your most embarrassing moment.To make it relevant, extract the most embarrassing moment doing what you are doing. For example, my most embarrassing moment in the blogging industry could be within the time when I was running my first offline training/workshop. Retracting that, and telling it with emotions that come with, can help me relate with my readers.
- Your most surprising moments.Have you experienced a really surprising, moment in the past? Well, that’s a super awesome story to tell.
- Your most Frightening Memory.Ever been so frightened and freaked out before? Recall that memory and tell it the way it is.
The problem with many narrators is that they tell great stories while always stripping them of the emotions that come along with.
We love stories. A good story can convey a message, entertain, or ignite a fire within your audience.
You don’t have to create all the stories by yourself. You can find great stories to share and retell them to fit your audience. Start with simple tales with simple elements.
” A good story has a single theme, which is well defined with a good plot. With a dramatic appeal, it’s faithful to the source. It should bear good characterization and be appropriate to its listeners.”
Adapting to the audience is a very critical strategy towards effective storytelling. Honing your story telling skills take time and requires great investment. Copywriters collect copy, storytellers collect stories.
Mastering the art of storytelling
Want to create and tell a story that your customers will care about? Here are some of the things you need to do in order to tell a great story that will help grow your business
1. Understand your audience/readers.
As a content marketer, you need to know your customer to the very core. If you can’t tell what their challenges and aspirations are, however great your story could be, you’ll never be able to tailor it in a way that it connects with them.
By understanding your readers, you will know which stories to tell, and how to tell them so as to fit your particular readers.
2. Make your readers care.
We are in a century of skimmers and the world of scanners. Why should people care about your story? If you take time to make your story to be more about them, they’ll care, and depending on how you choose to deliver it, you can actually have them hooked, or not. This is simple. They will definitely care if the story is about them, or it relates to them in some way.
3. Know your punch lines.
Your ultimate goal in incorporating the art of storytelling in your blog strategy is to sell a product/service or ask people to subscribe to a list or become vivid readers of your blog. However, when storytelling, it shouldn’t feel that way to your readers. A good story is natural, timely, relatable and relevant.
You’ll have to keep reworking on your story until it’s clear to you. Until it is, no one will ever care about it.
4. Tell an authentic story.
Don’t promise heaven, or create a selling proposition on something that has never been achieved before. A good branding story is one that goes about the fails, trials, struggles, wins, strategies and a promising future. Your brand message should and what you stand for should be clear from your brand story.
5. End with a good finale
A good story leaves its readers with a sense of awe; that sort of feeling you get when you leave the cinema after a really great film.