Do you ever wonder why some stories draw you in while others don’t? In our day and age, stories are presented in the form of blog articles, TV shows, movies, or a good old fashion book. Regardless of the platform in which a story is delivered, well presented stories have a few key elements that make a big difference to the audience.
Long before the Internet, and even the typewriter, storytelling was a primary vehicle for engaging and connecting people. These days, well-crafted stories that resonate with an audience and compel people to an action are fundamental to most content driven marketing initiatives. The key here is “well-crafted,” and in my opinion storytelling is an art form.
Storytelling as an Art Form
I recently watched a documentary about The Beatles called “Eight Days A Week.” I had already seen most of the photos, interviews, and Beatlemania footage. But the way their story was told in this film was pretty remarkable. I think that the reason it was so good was because Ron Howard directed it. Ron (Opie), in my opinion, is one of the best storytellers of our time. He is great at connecting an audience to the characters and plot in a manner that compels you to engage with the heart of the story. That ability to engage and connect on an emotional level is at the core of great storytelling.
The Art of Storytelling in Marketing
At The Squad, we were an early adopter of inbound marketing, which is based on the methodology of telling our clients’ story in order to attract, inform, and retain customers. About six or seven years ago, most marketers and business owners had a hard time seeing the connection between storytelling and lead generation. However, today storytelling seems to be a buzz word in marketing and most agencies put it in their suite of services or at least mention the idea of it in their value propositions.
With everyone jumping on the “storytelling” bandwagon there has been in influx of content on the web over the past few years in the form of blogs, videos, podcasts, etc. While the volume and quantity of content is increasing, the quality is decreasing and creating a lot of noise without much value.
Google is in the business of delivering relevant content in the form of search results. Their algorithms are designed to cut through the clutter and serve up the most helpful content possible relative to the search term or phrase. This is a good thing for those that are creating remarkable and helpful content. This is also one of the reasons that organizations should focus on producing content in which there is a smart balance between quality and quantity. And when in doubt – focus on quality.
3 Fundamental Elements Found in Good Storytelling
Open by sparking curiosity
It is very important to articulate the opening paragraph or scene in a manner that sparks the reader’s curiosity. This leaves them wanting to continue in order to resolve the issue that has been in place in their mind. Murder mysteries almost do this by default and Stephen King is the master in this regard. You can grab your audience’s attention by taking up this style as well in your storytelling marketing.
Conflict or problems that need solving are typically at the heart of great storytelling. Whether it is Robinson Crusoe or Gillian’s Island, trying to solve their problems around being stranded is what kept an audience engage.
Chances are, your customers come to you because they have a problem you can solve with your products or services. Buyers in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey have the symptoms of a problem, so craft your story to help them define their problem, which could lead them to explore your company for a solution as well.
Resolve the plot
As the plot unfolds it should address the questions that have be planted in the reader’s mind and answers should lead to some type of resolution. These questions don’t have to be fully resolved but without some type of resolution the audience is left unfulfilled. Even if there’s going to be a sequel or a series, there needs to be some new awareness of the resolution. Stage your storytelling to point your audience towards the solutions your services and products offer.
Telling your story is a great way to connect with and attract new business. But make certain it’s being told by someone that understands the difference between simply producing content and the “art of storytelling.”
Learn more about our approach to content marketing and storytelling to find out how our inbound marketing strategies can help your business.