There’s a lot of corporate interest in storytelling – and that’s an understatement. It’s not surprising – social media has opened up a two-way conversation around content and following that comes the need to do something compelling with the content itself.
While content remains king online, pushing, or just plain broadcasting, content won’t cut it with readers, listeners and viewers who are able to do so much more with it – share, recommend and compliment or ignore, criticise or complain.
The purpose of content has changed and continues to change – something marketeers, for example, have responded to with the advent of content marketing. The core concepts of content marketing are powerful as – if we have any web presence at all – we are all publishers now. Although that can be a double-edged sword (http://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickspenner/2012/08/29/content-marketings-dirty-little-secret/).
Organisations need to understand how content can be used to interest people (clients, prospective clients etc.), to demonstrate we have good subject knowledge and know what we are talking about and to have something useful and relevant to say.
Cue storytelling. Telling stories is a great way to say something in a way which might actually interest people. Why? Because stories can be far more persuasive than presenting a logical argument. This post (http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/persuasive-stories.htm) by Roger Dooley shows how, highlighting the six factors that make stories more persuasive:
- Delivery Counts
- Vivid Imagery
- Realism and understandability
- Context and surroundings
And Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal, says that science tells us that stories are the most powerful means of communicating a message (http://www.fastcocreate.com/1680581/why-storytelling-is-the-ultimate-weapon).
“Until recently we’ve only been able to speculate about story’s persuasive effects. But over the last several decades psychology has begun a serious study of how story affects the human mind. Results repeatedly show that our attitudes, fears, hopes, and values are strongly influenced by story. In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than writing that is specifically designed to persuade through argument and evidence.”
It is understandable that the corporate content zeitgeist is to tell it as a story. The challenge is to then find the storytellers. Are they the comms team, the PR team, the marketing team or just plain you and me?