You can talk about how important it is to write content and copy, easy-to-read web pages, and even books, and some of us do that. But what does all of this stuff around storytelling and marketing communications and story branding have to do with that? Meaning and connection.
Ultimately, this is it, right? You want to connect with other people. People who share your views, experiences, desires, wishes, sense of humor. The list could be quite long.
You want to write stories that reach people who need the information so they realize a transformation, connection and meaning, for having read it.
Stories Increase Meaning and Connection
You want to make a meaningful connection.
Don’t forget this when you’re wondering if you should use a semicolon between two independent clauses, or not because they’re rapidly going out of style, and you’re a trendsetter, not a Luddite.
Or if the call to action you put at the bottom of your blog post is really what you want people to do. Or . . . . . and the list goes on.
Come back to the basics every so often so you can see what a tiny miracle storytelling really is. A miracle of data and information wrapped in language that can be so extraordinary it can move mountains. Literally, mountains.
I know you’re nodding your head while reading this, or at least I hope you are, because you have seen firsthand how well stories connect you to people, places, and things all the time. We humans, and everything else on earth, live in a story galaxy. Every day, multiple times per day, we tell, hear, listen to, live in, or ignore stories. It’s why people lean in when a story is being told—we are wired to hear it, love or hate it, and offer an opinion. We live by the power of stories.
Think now about the way stories have affected you from your earliest days. How stories affect you every day whether you want them to or not. Writing content for your blog posts is about offering stories for people to respond to, for better or not. Humans are trained by the lives we lead, and the stories we hear daily, to tell stories well, and we do.
When You Can’t Think of a Topic, Tell a Story Instead
When you’re at a loss for topics or content, go to the stories you’ve lived or heard in recent days. How can you show a story’s universality, or use it to teach a lesson? Does the story act as a metaphor for something you teach yourself?
Stories have a basic structure here in the West, one that was invented by Aristotle, and we learn over years of hearing stories to recognize a story when we hear one. An anecdote is an almost story, meaning it has some, but not all, of the elements that qualify it as a story. We all hear and share anecdotes every day. An anecdote is something that happened, but we don’t learn the consequences of what happened, who was involved, how the anecdote was resolved.
A story has a structure of something happening, an inciting incident, which starts a series of conflicts that cause an increase in tension as you read. The story reaches a climax of tension where all is revealed, and then comes to an end through resolution. We see this story structure in books, films, t.v and internet shows, even comic books.
Write and tell more stories, add anecdotes to increase the tension, and allow the stories to create both meaning and connection to your audience.
What do stories mean to you? How do they help you make a meaningful connection with your clients?