Want to Create Viral Content? Write Like a Storyteller

Published on January 18, 2017

What’s better than sitting at the bar or in a corner booth at the diner, swapping stories with your best friends? Maybe going to the movies or to the theater, seeing epic tales of love and betrayal made larger than life. Or cracking open Anna Karenina or a Tom Clancy paperback and being transported to a whole new world, without ever having to leave your apartment.

What do all of these things have in common? They’re all about storytelling.

As a culture, we’ve always been obsessed with stories. We used to sit around the campfire and trade tall tales. Now we share stories about Chewbacca Mom or Damn, Daniel, but the principle is the same. We admire, trust, and enjoy storytellers. We spread their messages far and wide. We make our favorite narratives go viral.

So why is so much of the content marketing that brands produce dry and impersonal?

For a fresh approach to content in 2017, don’t think like a marketer – think like a storyteller. The results – in terms of engagement, brand recognition, and social sharing – could be enormous. Ready to get started? Here are four ways to harness the power of stories for your marketing:

1.) Get Personal

Use the first person (“I” statements) and second person (“you” statements) to appeal to your audience personally – appeal to their humanity and sense of self, and humanize your brand in their eyes. Paint a vivid picture that lets your audience envision themselves as heroes and heroines. And be truthful! Don’t just invent narratives, but draw from your real life and tell the true, nitty gritty stories behind your business. You’d be surprised how quickly audiences can spot the difference between the real stuff and phony puffery.

2.) Be Emotional

Awe. Fear. Nostalgia. Excitement. Inspiration. Audiences crave these feelings, and there’s no better way to serve them up than in a good story. Appeals to logic only go so far; to clinch a deal and inspire true engagement and loyalty, consider appealing to your audience’s deep-seated sense of wonder and joy.

3.) Solve a Problem

People search the internet to solve problems. They want to answer a question, they want to find a solution, they want to increase, to decrease, to change, to produce. Figure out what your audience wants, and tell them the story of how you can help fulfill their needs, possibly by recruiting an expert and having them provide guidance. For a more grassroots appeal to your users, employ user-generated content! When in doubt, remember that audiences tend to trust positive word of mouth from their peers above just about any other source.

4.) Bring the Data

For great stories, think like a journalist! While few people like dry recitations of facts and figures, audiences do crave substance. Use your narratives as a way of highlighting key facts and statistics that may be hard to present otherwise. Use a story to personalize your dataset in a way that makes numbers come to life. And no matter your subject, do some deep research and make sure you’re getting your information straight - this will go a long way toward making you seem more trustworthy in the eyes of your users.

5.) Use Visuals

Storytelling isn’t just about words! Instead, bolster your copy with exciting visual elements, from stunning photos and galleries to interactive multimedia elements and GIFs to embedded videos. A great story is all about creating a sense of adventure – and what could be more exciting than beautiful, colorful, sharable visual content?

Ready to get started crafting unique and remarkable content for your company? Drop Geek a line today to see what our content team can do for you! We're more than happy to swap stories. 

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