Storytelling is the bread and butter of content marketing. Great stories are memorable, emotional, engaging…the list goes on. Of course, you know this, but you’re no Pixar, Disney, J.K. Rowling, etc., so how do you create stories that move audiences? The answer is easier than you think. Apply tried-and-true storytelling techniques to your blog posts, and audiences won’t be able to click away.
Show the Problem
Start by establishing a problem that needs to be resolved. What’s the issue and how do we fix it? Your problem should be framed in a way that the answer is not immediately obvious (hence the motive to read on).
Ex: Another blog, another story. I sat at the computer, fingers poised to write and nothing happened, but I had to write.
Establish the Stakes
What happens if you don’t solve the problem? These are the stakes that keep the reader engaged until the end. In the example above, there’s a lingering question of why? Why does the protagonist have to write?
Ex: I had to write something good, or I’d lose my job.
With clear problem and stakes, your goal is to build and to hold the tension until the conclusion. Tension is the obstacle that keeps your reader hanging on.
Tip: A ticking clock adds instant tension.
Hit Plot Points
Every story needs a clear beginning, middle, and end. The middle is the bulk of your story. It’s where your protagonist establishes new status quo, battles the obstacles, reaches low points, rallies, and ultimately triumphs (climax).
Tip: You should be able to clearly identify what happens at each plot point.
Appeal to the Emotions
You can have a great story (think Harry Potter), but without the emotional appeal, it’s not as likely to be memorable or relatable. Emotions are often best-established through the characters in your story and their circumstances.
For example: It’s one thing for your protagonist to take a journey; it’s another (emotional) thing for your protagonist to take a journey to be reunited with his service dog after they were separated during combat.
Create Relatable Characters
The characters you create should be people your audience sees themselves as. In marketing, your protagonist should represent your audience (it’s their story, not yours). Your characters can also represent characters your audience cares about.
For examples: Stories with animal characters tend to win big because animals appeal to the emotions and are cared about by most audience members. (Remember the Budweiser “Puppy Love” #bestbuds commercial? (**wipes tear**))
Use Sensory Detail
Establishing setting helps ground your readers; what’s more, setting can have as profound an effect on your audience as characters. Use sensory details to establish the setting (sight, smell, sound, etc.).
Tip: Visuals can quickly help put your readers in the story’s setting and can help set the story’s tone.
Have a Clear Theme
Plot is what happens in your story, but theme is what the story is about. What’s your purpose for telling the story?
For example: In “Puppy Love”, the theme was that true friendship can surmount any obstacle.
Conclude with a Resolution
Your blog’s story ends when the problem’s solved. Your audience should walk away somehow transformed. Either they have new strategies for solving their own problem, or they have learned or experienced something that benefits them.
Ex: Was it my best writing? No, but I pushed through the writer’s block using tried-and-true techniques and produced something that was clean, focused, and useful. I still had my job, and tomorrow would be another day to prospect for storytelling gold (grabs pick and shovel).
Need help figuring out how to tell great stories in every blog post? Let us help you! Contact The Storyteller Agency and learn more about what our talented team can do to transform your business.