Well-crafted stories elicit emotion and give context to the most complicated ideas. They can also create a powerful connection between the storyteller and the audience. Below, communications coach Bronwyn Saglimbeni explains that good storytelling actually takes over our brains.
That’s why it’s often a potent element in branding and marketing strategies. Storytelling not only gives you a captive audience, it can compel your audience to align with your message and can be a powerful way to get your audience to share it with their own circle. It’s why videos become viral, it’s how content permeates social media. So how can you harness its power?
Here’s a quick-hit list of three ways to maximize the power of storytelling.
1. Find Your Motivation
Actors ask themselves this question when preparing for a role, and you should be asking this about your audience when creating content. Understanding your audience’s motivation not only leads you toward addressing the right questions, but also how to ask them. If your audience is frustrated (think Help or Customer Support content) strike a reassuring tone. If they’re just trying to get something done, write short and to the point.
Genevieve Conti at Zapier writes, “There’s a reason why UX designers turn to tools like user personas and journey maps before they go to the drawing board. These tools harness the power of empathy through storytelling, giving designers a greater understanding of what people want and need, what their pain points are and what brings them joy.”
2. Use Visuals to Make Your Story Stick
With infographics, interactive web experiences, and even traditional media like picture books, storytelling is more than what you hear, it’s also what you see.
John Medina at Brain Rules writes about how harnessing the brain’s love for visuals helps comprehension, because “when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.”
Got a complex story to tell? Pair it with visuals to really make an impact.
3. Connect the Dots
There’s a reason that flat-pack megastore IKEA is famous for their assembly instructions. Their entire business model relies on trusting customers to put together their own furniture. One false move and everything can fall apart (literally).
According to recent research, “people following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations.”
IKEA transforms their assembly instructions into a story, utilizing every trick in the storytelling book (empathy, mirroring, firm foundations) to leave their customer with a great experience, and sturdy furniture. Think about how this translates to your messaging and how you can better provide context for your readers, making your overall content more effective.
You don’t need to be an expert writer to craft an impactful story. You already have all of the tools at your disposal; motivation, visuals, and a dash of mind-control.
Let us know below if you have your own storytelling tips to share!