Storytelling and Content Marketing: 3 Benefits of Turning Your Content Marketing into Stories

storytelling - once upon a timeOnce upon a time, an entrepreneur faced 3 challenges. …

February 26 was “Tell a Fairy Tale Day” so I wanted to share some ideas about how – and WHY – to turn your content marketing into fairy tales or other classic stories.

We are all familiar with “Once upon a time.”  Those words immediately let us know that a story is about to begin.

That’s a very positive feeling, associated with all those times that our parents, grandparents, older siblings, babysitters, and teachers read stories to us.

Even as adults, when a story begins, we relax and prepare to be entertained.

Our brains love to feel familiar with whatever information we encounter! 

Whenever we’re learning new concepts, complex or abstract ideas, or information that is challenging or threatening to us in some way, it is especially important to create a feeling of familiarity, safety, and comfort.

content marketing storytellingThis is one good reason to use a classic story structure in your content to help your audience be more receptive to your message by framing it as a story.

If the information you’re offering your audience implies any kind of change they need to make in order to solve their problem, then they will likely have some resistance to your message.

Stories help to reduce resistance.

We stop worrying about whether the speaker or presenter is going to try and sell us something and instead we just allow ourselves to get absorbed in listening to, watching, or reading the story.

As audience members, when we enter a kind of “story listening trance” where we also become less critical of the speaker, presenter or author. We are less quick to disagree with something they tell us and more willing to consider that there might be some validity to the new ideas they are sharing with us.

Think about the experience of watching a movie in a theater or on television.  If you really get wrapped up in the story, aren’t you more likely to overlook any discrepancies in the plot or in the setting, scenery, or costumes?  We sometimes refer to this as “suspension of disbelief” and it happens because of the story listening trance.

Stories are also the best way to learn almost anything. 

storytelling increases learningThis should be no surprise since, for thousands of years, oral storytelling was the main method of passing information from one generation to the next.  Stories help our brains to process information and to retain it – much more than factual information!

Scientists speculate that this storytelling advantage may be part of the reason that human beings were able to survive and thrive.  We are the only animals capable of telling stories, which helps us to learn important lessons from others without needing to experience that learning for ourselves.

Think about the huge benefits in learning from someone else’s story — without needing to experience first hand the dangers they encountered or the difficult challenges they faced.

Fairy Tales for Content Marketing

While we sometimes think of fairy tales as being children’s stories, many fairy tales were originally dark and even violent stories told around the hearth or in taverns — before Disney sanitized them for PG viewers.

Because of that dark under-current (which we’re all aware of, even if it’s only at a subconscious level), fairy tales can provide a useful structure for content marketing stories that address a major problem your clients and prospects want to solve.

Some of the common script or content formulas call for agitating that problem first – helping your audience really get in touch with the pain or fear or other dark emotions associated with that problem – before beginning to talk about the solution you have to offer.

The quest or challenge is a common element in so many fairy tales.  This can also be used in content marketing stories, either to acknowledge the struggle your prospects have already been facing or to help them see the challenges they may have ahead of them as they implement your solution to their problem.

fairy tales process dark emotions

Next Steps

Story content can be much more engaging and attractive to your clients and prospects.  This can help your content to stand out in the flood of free but boring, dry, factual content on the internet.

So how can you actually turn your informative blog post, article, or e-book into a story?  I’ll be sharing more ideas about this over the next several weeks – here on my blog, as well as in video, slideshow, infographics, and social media posts.

Plus I will introduce one approach in my training hangout on Creative Marketing TV on March 5th when I kick-off my celebration of “March Multipurposing Madness.” Learn more on the Google+ Event page.

To learn more about turning your content marketing into stories, click here to sign up for my free email course.  Each lesson of this course, “Taming the Content Marketing Dragon,” will teach you a concept (written in the email and sometimes including a link to a video or other content).  There will also be an exercise or assignment for you to complete.  You’ll receive 3 emails per week for 4 weeks that will guide you, step by step, toward creating your own storytelling for your content marketing.

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