Tag

storytelling Archives - STRYDE

The Science of Storytelling [Infographic]

By | Content Marketing | No Comments

I came across this fantastic infographic posted by Kapost yesterday and felt it was right in line with our blog post from yesterday about storytelling and content marketing.

storytelling and content marketing

The main points of the graphic are as follows:

  • Stories Trump Logic – Persuasion is most effective when people are “transported” to another place using a story.
  • Language Is Powerful – When we hear a story, the areas of our brain we would use to experience the actual events of that story are activated.
  • Cliches Kill – The frontal cortex – the area of your brain responsible to experience emotions – can’t be activated with cliches.
  • Music Matters – Our brain uses two different areas to identify the meaning of words – one identifies the mood from the melody and intonation of the words and one identifies the actual message.

Telling stories isn’t a waste of time. It’s how you connect with your audience on an emotional level, which makes it easier to get them to take action. Which is why companies engage in marketing.

Storytelling & Content Marketing

By | Blogging, Content Marketing | No Comments

Last week at a marketing event, one of the presenters showed a BMW commercial and a line from that commercial really stuck out to me. It was something I already knew, but for some reason the reminder really hit me and has stayed with me. That line, paraphrased a little bit by me, said, “What you make consumers feel is even more important than what you actually make.”

stryde

This line rings true with storytelling.

Storytelling is an essential part of content marketing. Its main focus isn’t on the language you use, but on how you craft and tell your stories to your audience in a compelling way. So storytelling isn’t so much what you say, it’s how you say it.

Determining how you craft and tell your stories depends on your target audience. Your story must align with your customers. You need to know their needs, what they’d want to hear and share with others and what their emotional triggers are. If you craft your stories around the personalities of your target audiences, you’re thinking strategically about your storytelling and therefore are in sync with your customers. When you’re in sync with your customers, you’re able to make an emotional connection through your story that also allows them to connect with your brand. You make them feel something, and that emotional feeling is what causes them to change their views on a particular topic or change their behavior and makes them want to talk about and share your story with their family, friends and coworkers.

What makes a good story?

Word count isn’t what makes a good story. Just because a piece of written content is 1,000+ words doesn’t mean it’s a good story or that it even tells a story at all. Facts and features are two other things that don’t make a good story. While sometimes those things need to be told to let your audience know about your product, they don’t provide an emotional connection. Like Bryan Eisenberg has said, “Facts tell, but stories sell.”

stryde1

Good stories take consumers on an enjoyable narrative journey. They have a beginning, middle and end, while subtly revealing your brand’s message somewhere along the way, creating a more powerful, memorable and shareable piece of content. They have relatable characters, a setting, a structured storyline and inspiration from a personal experience of yours or someone you know to help make the story more applicable and personable to your readers.

Good stories also need to have accompanying images and/or videos to help show rather than just tell your story. Images and videos are needed allies with written stories simply because they’re moving and help create and reinforce that emotional connection with your target audience.

And lastly, your stories need to identify and answer the Five W’s: who, what, where, when and why. The why is especially important. Your story needs to show why you’re telling the story and why your audience needs to care.

When it comes to good storytelling, here are some things your story can and should be:

  • Entertaining
  • Creative
  • Genuine
  • Engaging
  • Valuable
  • Relatable
  • Inspiring
  • Informational
  • Authentic
  • Funny
  • Consistent with your brand and others stories you tell
  • Paced correctly so your target audience doesn’t lose interest or get overwhelmed

In order to be successful, your content marketing efforts need good storytelling. Good storytelling is the content marketing tool that entertains consumers while solving their problems, encourages consumers to use their critical thinking skills and sparks discussions amongst consumers online and offline.

STRYDE | How To Structure Writing To Evoke Emotion 3

How To Structure Writing To Evoke Emotion

By | Blogging | No Comments

We recently caught the redecorating bug around the Stryde office. Bare white walls are now covered with scores of decals. Including our mission statement and a collection of our favorite quotes. Inspiration should be all around you, right?

One of my favorite quotes we’ve stuck on the wall is this:

“Good stories and storytelling last forever.”

So, I got to thinking about storytelling as I was munching on my Friday morning donut. A search for “storytelling 101” on Google turns up a whole host of content marketing blog posts about the topic. But, not in the sense I was expecting. All of the articles surrounded basically the same theme: evoke emotions, make people feel something.

I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. The greatest stories ever told have stood the test of time because they conjure real emotions.

Photo via Giphy

Photo via Giphy

Kinda easier said than done. Evoking an emotion is tough, no matter what that emotion may be. But, a simple revisit to English class will shed some light on how you can achieve just that. And hopefully give you some insights on how you can take the tried-and-true writing methods and apply them to your next blog post.

The Common Thread

99.9% of the books you read, movies, and TV shows you watch follow the essentially same basic format. This will most likely look familiar to you, depending on your recollection of your Junior High English class. It’s the good old Plot Diagram.

plotstructure

While there are mild deviations to this structure, you’ll find that most stories have this basic format.

The 7 Pieces of the Plot Diagram

First, we’ll go into the explanations of each of the 7 main points of a plot structure. Then, we’ll explore how we can apply these concepts to evoke feelings from our own blog posts.

  1. Exposition – The exposition is also called the introduction of the story. Here’s where author introduces the characters, setting, and lets the reader know of the main problem looming in the distance.
  2. Point of Conflict – Dun, dun, DUUUNNN. The point of conflict is where the story says, “Fasten your seat belts! We’re in for a bumpy ride!”
  3. Rising Action – The suspense builds and the problem only seems to escalate. The author may give the reader brief reliefs in action, only to lift them back up again with more suspense.
  4. Emotional Climax – AKA what you’ve been waiting for! Typically, this is the most exciting part of a story.
  5. Falling Action – This part of the story can be swift or drawn out, and it’s meant to ease the reader off of the extreme emotional high they just experienced from the climax.
  6. Dénouement– I jump at any chance to use fancy French words. Essentially, the Dénouement is the “Technical Climax” of the story. It’s where the logistics are hashed out in a way that isn’t clouded by raw emotion.
  7. Resolution – That’s all folks! Here’s where all of the loose ends that remain are tied up into a neat little story bow by the author.

Plot Diagrams and Blog Post Structure

“Awesome, Emily, I can use this to write a novel. We’re here to talk about blogs.” Hold your horses there, bub! You can apply each of these aspects to your next blog post. Here’s how:

  1. Exposition – Instead of introducing characters and setting, you’ll be introducing the topic at hand. Whether that’s about Google’s new algorithm or the latest Facebook user experiment, draw your readers in with clearly describing the facets of what you are going to discuss.
  2. Point of Conflict – Here’s where you’ll tell your reader exactly why they’re taking the time to read your piece. Why should they read on? What’s in it for them? Express that clearly, and succinctly, at this point.
  3. Rising Action – Everything you decide to include in the rising action section should directly support what you told your readers in the point of conflict. Showcase your numbers, raw data, and evidence here, and it will function as the “body” of your post.
  4. Emotional Climax – You should carefully craft this as the “Ah-ha!” moment for your readers. Create a point in your post where everything comes together for the reader, make that light bulb turn on in their head.
  5. Falling Action – As with the falling action portion for the original plot diagram, use this time to ease your reader off of the “Ah-ha!” moment. Reinforce why your point makes sense and prepare the reader for the wrap-up.
  6. Dénouement – The dénouement is the real kicker in evoking emotions through your blog post. You’ve just lead the reader on quite the journey, and they’ve even learned something! Now, you drive the point home again with an angle they hadn’t previously thought of or a statement to make them delve deeper on their own about the topic at hand. Be controversial. Be memorable.
  7. Resolution – Again, just as with the original plot diagram, wrap up your riveting blog post in a pretty little bow for your readers. Remind them what they learned and how it can help them.

Bringing It All Together

Hopefully, now you won’t look at the prospect of evoking emotions as such an insurmountable task. If you can remember to apply the basics of writing, your blog posts will be much more successful in achieving your goals.

Take your readers on a journey. A journey that makes them laugh, cry, angry, uncomfortable, or even pensive. I find another great general tip to ensure your writing has feeling is to actively and purposefully feel how you want the reader to feel as you’re writing. While that may seem strange at first, your inner emotions can’t help but be expressed through the words you put onto a page. If you’re creating a post about how much you love a new Pinterest feature, FEEL that love as you write!

My one caveat to my aforementioned statement is similar to what the great Ernest Hemingway once said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” But, in this case, “Write with feeling, edit without.” Always make sure you’re proofreading and editing without the cloud of emotions. You’ll avoid many careless mistakes this way!

How are you telling stories? Share your methods in the comments!

Photo via Giphy

Photo via Giphy