Why Storytelling is a Critical Part of Your Content Marketing Plan
According to many content experts, storytelling is the future of content marketing.
37 percent of marketers say visual marketing is the most important form of marketing for businesses, second only to blogging. Other sources, however, contend that storytelling is Number One. As one expert notes, “visuals are great, but simply not enough.”
Why is this?
Stories give your content life.
Quite simply, stories make content engaging. They connect it to the undeniably critical human element, taking it from a boring recitation of facts to flesh-and-blood people, their problems, their challenges, and their triumphs.
Not to mention, sounding too sterile, obtuse, or promotional is off-putting.
The above-referenced article lauds National Geographic as the most adept at storytelling. The author also references the popular website, book, and social media account Humans of New York. What makes these sources so compelling, the author notes, is their use of captivating images to pull readers in, followed by stories that are richly educational, emotionally evocative, or just plain interesting.
A good story cuts through a glut of information
Author and blogger Bernadette Jiwa said: “If you don’t have a story, you are just another commodity.” Indeed, a compelling story cuts through the clutter of information in a digital world that is increasingly crowded.
A recent article explains the science behind storytelling. Stories are effective in marketing because, as the author notes, “human brains are hardwired to remember them.” In other words, people will remember a compelling story more than an advertisement or sponsored post, because they can connect the stories to their own lives and experiences.
The TRUTH Test in Storytelling
Media Mogul James Lush of BBC devised what he calls the TRUTH test: a five-factor process in effectively using storytelling in marketing.
T - Topical.
Is it the right time to tell the story? In other words, is the story seasonal or time-specific?
R - Relevant.
Is the content of interest to the particular audience you are trying to reach?
U - Unusual.
Does the content sound like a boring recitation of facts, or does it recount an event, law, or update in a unique way or from a new angle?
What conflict are you addressing? What makes it relevant? Interesting?
H - Human.
Does your content show the humanity behind the writing? Will real people be able to connect to it?
Never “fake it til you make it.”
Above all, commit to authenticity in your content and in your stories. Your audience will detect dishonesty and can easily sniff out the disingenuous.
As a starting point, share something you know in a new way. For example, instead of writing about a legal issue as though you are drafting the facts section of an appellate brief, start with a story. When did you first learn about this particular legal issue? Was there a case or client that brought it to light for you? Why do you think it matters to real people? Did you used to find it confusing, frustrating, or obtuse? What do you think about it now?
Practice this a few times, and before you know it, you will become comfortable writing in this fashion.
After all, lawyers are natural storytellers. Our legal educations involve an immersion into a world of stories. The dusty casebooks that were our companions for three years are filled with stories about real people and real legal issues; real judges and real courtroom dramas. Every time we present a case in court or correspond with opposing counsel, we share our clients' stories. When we mentor younger lawyers, we tell them stories about our career paths.
We are naturals at this. We don't have to fake it til we make it - we are MADE of stories. Now, it is time to use them well, so that we can connect with our clients in a truly interesting, authentic, and richly human way.
If you liked this post, check out this recent article on creative content marketing methods.