When you think about the greatest reading experiences you have, what do you remember? Maybe you remember the fully fleshed-out characters. You may also remember the fantastic, unforgettable setting of the story, and the places and sights from the book that felt so real it was as if you were there yourself. Maybe the ending was a real gut punch, a shocker, a bolt from the blue that you never saw coming. Chances are the journey of the protagonist was so beautiful and inspiring that you couldn’t stop beaming about it for weeks. But most of all, you probably remember how it made you feel.
That is the power, the undeniable power of a great story – the power to transport the reader into the universe or the setting of the piece. But good storytelling is not restricted to novels. The best articles or blog posts you’ve read also employed the same basic structure. They drew you into the narrative, even if the article was about home loans or eating better food. So it’s fair to say that having a great narrative can greatly enhance the impact that any of your written communication has on your readers, even if it’s just a simple blog post or an email. So, what can you do to draw on the power of the narrative to spice up your content?
1. All great stories have great character arcs.
The hero’s journey and ultimate redemption is only satisfying if it feels earned. If the character is a godlike creation that eliminates every obstacle in his path with the nonchalance of swatting a fly, you are not going to root for him. In your content, you need to remember this basic fact. If your topic pertains to a certain category of individual, you can make a short story about a person who might be facing the same challenges as the reader.
For example, let us consider that you are writing for readers who want to lose weight. You can use a character to exemplify the process you would like your readers to undertake. This fictional person would be an embodiment of a reader who is otherwise intelligent and highly successful in most areas of his life, but struggles with his weight. The character arc would lead to this person hitting rock bottom and finally deciding that he would do whatever it takes to lose weight. He would stop making excuses for himself, start exercising and eating healthy. The story would culminate with him losing a healthy amount of weight, and gaining the admiration of himself and his peers.
This kind of storytelling is more likely to resonate with your audience than a simple article which simply states facts. The audience is more invested in following a character through the arc that led to him finally conquering his issues.
2. Use stories about yourself or people you know to drive your point home.
Whenever the setting of your piece permits it, you should use a personal anecdote or incident to connect with your readers. Reading an article or an email by someone who has gone through the same problems as the reader is more likely to generate trust and interest. The reader is invested in the story that you are telling because they want to believe that if you could overcome the particular problem, they can too. In addition, they are hearing about the problem from someone who has actually gone through the process themselves, rather than an armchair motivator who doesn’t understand the specifics of the problem.
3. Mention how meeting a guru or an expert in your particular field made all the difference.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or start your own business, there are people who have done it before, and have invaluable advice to offer you. People who are experienced in a particular field can often enlighten you about things you didn’t even know you were missing. Meeting an expert or a seasoned professional in a given niche can knock off months, if not years off your learning curve. Mention your inspirations to your readers and give them the resources to gain this information for themselves.
When you mention a personal story about someone whom you met who changed your life for the better, your readers are more likely to listen to you. After all, if you learned from the experts, you are automatically more trustworthy than the layman.
4. Tell a story about your journey, or the inception of your company.
People love a great success story. We all love to read about folks who denied overwhelming odds to create the defining products and ideas of our age. If you’ve managed to create a successful business or lifestyle, write about your journey. Write about the challenges that you encountered when you first started out. What were your tipping points? What were the pieces of information or advice that made all the difference? What is the driving philosophy behind your brand or your company, and how did it come to be this way? Make sure your readers know.
In a nutshell
There are various ways you can use the power of narrative to make your content really stand out and leave a mark in the hearts and minds of your readers. If you manage to emotionally engage your readers in addition to informing them, they are guaranteed to come back for more. The power of a good story is tremendous. Make sure you use it in all your written communication to skyrocket the success of your brand.
Over to you…
Do you employ strong narrative in your brand story? How do you use it in your content marketing strategy? Share below…