The human spirit has always been captivated by storytelling.
Research shows that communicating with stories can lead to more retention, action, and connection, which are all essential elements of learning.
Storytelling in content marketing gives your brand that human touch. Amid a digital society of multiple screens and short attention spans, branded content storytelling is one of the top content marketing solutions today because it helps you connect deeply with your audience.
1. Stories Lead to More Retention
When we’re hearing a story we’re more engaged – often times our brain will even fire and behave as if we’re living the story. Stories also help us to better organize and remember information.
2. Stories Inspire Action
Good stories can lead to genuine inspiration. They can also remind us that struggles and challenges that are necessary for growth. Stories also provide context and show the audience how to use the tools that you’re presenting – which leads to more action.
3. Stories Build Connection
A good story brings the speaker and audience closer together. It opens up doors, builds psychological safety and connection.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF STORIES
The most effective way to engage your audience is with storytelling. Human beings are wired for them. Our brains often don’t distinguish between fiction and reality. Therefore, we immerse ourselves in stories as if we were a part of them.
Stories make us experience information, as opposed to just consuming it.
‘When we tell stories to others that have really helped us shape our thinking and way of life, we can have the same effect on them too,’ says Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich. Communicate your story right and you can get a potential client to believe in your story just as strongly as you do.
Once you have a clear narrative to share with your audience, you need to make sure that you deliver it effectively. Below are some tips.
1. Stop telling a story and start storytelling: There is a difference between telling a story and storytelling. Telling a story is something we’ve done daily for most of our lives, and it focuses on conveying facts: all of the standard who, what, when, where, why. Storytelling is about making an emotionally compelling, memorable, and relevant narrative that ties those facts together in an interesting way. Storytelling is meant to give meaning to the audience, revealing to them a new perspective and giving them the drive to think or act in a new way. Focus on the audience and what they can be inspired by in your storytelling experience.
2. Make it personal: We don’t want you or need you to be perfect. In fact, research shows you’re more likable if you spill coffee on your shirt before you give a presentation because it makes you more relatable. Vulnerability and authenticity are key to making a story interesting and memorable but also key to engaging listeners on your journey.
3. Keep It Simple: Have you ever gotten frustrated with a book or TV show because you just can’t figure out what’s happening? Analyzing storytelling skills often comes down to deducing just how effective the storyteller was at conveying their narrative, even in spite of the twists and turns that keep it moving along. Regardless of the complexity of your message, the story itself should be easy to follow, and it should never leave your listeners feeling lost and confused.
4. Give Your Characters Opinions: In stories, as in real life, people aren’t just blank slates that things happen to; they’re dynamic, dramatic beings who react to the scenarios they find themselves in. Briefly but effectively tell your audience how your characters feel about the situations they’re in to give your story more substance and dimension.
5. Read, Listen, Watch, and Learn: If you want to know how to improve storytelling skills, look no further than those who have already mastered it. Read books and essays, listen to podcasts, and watch narrative-driven films to absorb the qualities of good storytelling and discover for yourself what gets an audience hooked.