You research the topic, write vigorously, edit rigorously and create an amazing headline. You market the content all over the place and then you wait….
People open your content, skim or read through, say to themselves “oh nice article” and just close the tab to move on with their daily chores.
Why is this happening you wonder? You spent days researching the topic, get all the valid data, craft a compelling headline but still get no traction.
The answer to the question is the world’s second oldest profession: Storytelling.
We are emotional beings that use logic, not the other way around. Our primary decision-making system is based in our limbic brain and that brain is in charge of our emotions.
Sure, we do use logic, but only as a support statement. We try to logically reason with our decision that is emotionally made; it’s like a negotiation in our mind. And logic loses because it didn’t learn how to negotiate.
The fastest way to the emotions (who are in charge) of your brain is a story.
When your content is trying to reach to your customers, it fails to pull them in. It needs a story where the people reading experience an emotion.
Different parts of your brain react differently when they read “almost” the same sentence.
Sentence A: “He had strong hands”
Sentence A: “The singer had a pleasing voice”
Sentence A activated Broca and Wernicke’s areas of the brain. They are in charge of speech (language). It is just mere text to comprehend.
Sentence B: “He had leathery hands”
Sentence B: “The singer had a velvet voice”
Sentence B activated our sensory cortex. It is responsible for perceiving texture through touch.
And the difference is just one word. Let’s look at one more example and you can answer the question in the comment.
Which sentence painted a worse picture on your head?
Sentence A: “The child got burnt”
Sentence B: “The infant got scorched”
You can tell me the answer in the comments.
Okay, moving on to a brighter side of storytelling.
Have a conversation, don’t sell. People hate being sold to. But they love having a conversation. And your stories should do exactly that.
Your readers don’t want to hear how your new copy machine can perform 300 copies in 1 minute or how it never breaks down.
They want to hear how one of your customers, Jim, was running through his office. Late to an important meeting with potential clients, he forgot to print out his material for the meeting.
He quickly turned to the copy machine and started to print his material. The machine jammed and Jim almost lost it, along with his job.
He continued running to the meeting again but saw one more copy machine in the main hallway. This one looked different than the one before.
With an already defeated look in his eyes, he took 3 seconds to go there, thinking that he didn’t have anything to lose, and tried to print the materials.
In a blink of an eye, the materials appeared in his hands alongside the new clients he closed at the meeting.
The copy machine saved Jim and it could save you too.
Now, this doesn’t look like a pitch. It looks like a story.
The people reading your content want to be drawn in, experience the story, the rush, the nervousness Jim had, the fear of losing the clients and his job with it.
And creating stories is quite easy. Creating great stories is difficult.
But don’t despair; there are steps that you can take to become a great storyteller and engage your readers.
There are 4 easy steps to create great stories:
Emotion aligned with the company brand
- The Message
- The You story
- Call to Action
You need to decide on the emotion that the story will carry. The emotion is what separates a story from bare news or information.
The emotion needs to be aligned with your brand, and you should choose between these emotions since they inspire sharing of stories:
You need to have a message behind the story. Why are you telling the story? What do you want to evoke in your audience?
Is it informational or you want them in the buying mode?
Or it’s just to create trust?
What was the point of the story?
Your content needs to be written in a conversational manner. Use you and we instead of me and them, because we have the same problem (you feel what the customer feels and vice versa).
What do you want your audience to do at the end of the article? D you want them to subscribe or to leave a comment? What is the action that they need to do? This is also how you can measure the quality of your article; by the number of people who have engaged with your content (social shares, comments, subscribers etc.).
The story is like a joke; it has a twist, a point, and a hero. Jim was the hero of that situation.
Who is the hero of your company’s stories?