We’ve all been mesmerized by good storytelling – when we were kids, when we were in preschool to grade school and even up to college. Just listening to someone narrate an unfolding story lets our imagination run free and transport us to wherever the scenario is. It is giving us the opportunity to be in a place and wanting to listen to some more. Such is the art of good storytelling.
This art form has come a long way since the time of the cavemen and their drawings on walls, from common folklore being told on lazy afternoons, to buzzing news and wonderful books to all the other forms of stories told through different ways in the Internet.
Yes, this thing called storytelling is here to stay.
The Internet has become the most popular source of stories and the most popular method of telling and communicating a message. For business owners, they have found a new and faster avenue of getting their message through to their customers in the most engaging way – just like how it was told when we were kids.
There are many ways to tell your story online and one criteria people want to see is how entertained they will be while reading. Stories should appeal to their emotions or else, the will find entertainment elsewhere. Let’s have a look at the most common ones:
- Through text
A story in its simplest form – through text. Think of it as a novel without illustrations. It’s all text and we are left with our imagination to come up with our own visuals. Some businesses work very well with textual content. It can still be very effective. This form comes in blogs, eBooks, or essays.
Textual content is the easiest to produce since you won’t have to employ experts in video or audio creation. But the downside of an all text story in today’s short-attention span generation of web users, is that it is not attractive a.k.a. boring.
You see, users tend to read only, on average, a quarter of the words on the pages they visit. They just merely scan the page, read a few texts at the beginning of the story and then move on.
So while it may be the most popular way to present a story, it isn’t the most engaging and entertaining. Blame it on the people’s seemingly declining love for reading. We need to change this love, (or lack of it), and give readers a reason to stick around and read some more. And the best way to do that is to change the way you’re telling the story. Repackage your product, your brand, your customers – whatever story it is you want to tell.
Make it fun yet appropriate, witty yet entertaining, hard-hitting yet valuable, personal yet relatable. In other words, make it anything but boring.
- Through Images
A picture paints a thousand words so why not use it? Images are more efficient than plain text in online storytelling because our brains tend to process an image faster than just words. Telling your audience about your product, how it works, how it can help them can be more effective by showing images and pictures of people using your product. Instantly, readers visualize themselves holding that paint spray or handling that lawn mower. It can be more relatable.
You can use photographs, sketches, graphs, background images and infographics in your pages to complement all the words and help readers get your story faster.
- Through videos
Probably the best form of entertainment is through videos that have moving pictures and sound. Those two together is a great way to engage an audience and make them stay longer. Imagine telling your story (your product) through a short film with someone actually using that product. The possibility of a purchase just shot up.
The downside is that it will take more time and budget to create a good film. But its effectivity is far bigger.
- Through Audio
This is one of the oldest forms of storytelling. Stories told through song are easy to remember; therefore the story sticks with us longer. Most of today’s Billboard songs have a story to tell and people love listening to that.
Websites can have an audio clip included. But be careful in using one. Not all visitors are auditory so make sure it isn’t just noise.
- Through social media
The ever growing popularity of social has transformed the modern storyteller. It has made companies connect better to their customers through one form of engagement or another. It is easier and faster now to give feedback, suggestions and reviews and companies can respond faster.
The best part is, social media users and business owners now have the power to create their own stories, share them and interact with each other.
The power of online storytelling
It is undeniable that the internet is really a powerful and convenient way for businesses to tell their story through one of these methods – text, images, audio, video and social media. Used individually, using all or a combination of ways, as long as it is done beautifully, businesses can reach more people around the world at any and all times.
Learn the art of storytelling and your audience will be hooked at your every word and will keep coming back, expecting the next chapter in your company’s “adventure.”
Chief Content Officer
Annie has 19 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.
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