Good storytelling is the core of content marketing. However, we're still trapped in the pitfalls of click-bait headlines and articles that have been repetitive over the past years.
Yes, there is a need for to tackle and revisit pointers in social media, but this year, it has to be more advanced, more enticing.
To help us craft a better storytelling, Joe Lazauskas co-author of book The Storytelling Edge: How to Transform Your Business, Stop Screaming into the Void, and Make People Love You, reveals the science behind the process.
Lazauskas said we are all receptive to a good story. Our eyes light up and we get excited. We see this in really good films or captivating novels. However, our own inclination to stories started from the early adaptation of human language.
During the early days of campfires and nomad traveling, we, humans have always been inspired to tell stories. It's our way of connecting to each other. Stories also empower how we use our imagination. Through the spoken words, we have narrated our ancestors' tales from one generation to another.
We know that this connects us as humans. Our stories define us, our history and our future. So, when it comes to storytelling, we have to understand that there is another real person on the other end of it, perceiving what you have to tell.
When it comes to approaching storytelling from a humane perspective, there should be a sense of relatability. People need to relate to what you're saying from a personal level or else it wouldn't matter.
It's the same as hit songs like the one composed by Ed Sheeran, Shape of You, (and basically all of his other hit songs). The reason why his love songs are mostly sung during weddings is because the story struck the couple. The message relates to them. Ed probably don't know every couple who used his songs in their weddings, but it matters because it's relatable.
Ideas & Possibilities
Understanding how humans consume and tell stories is the key to creating your own content structure (Image via Thinkstock)
In telling a great story, there has to be novelty. As Lazauskas noted, "relability isn't very good if it’s all boring, it’s generic, it’s the same thing that we’ve seen over and over again, right."
Our brains also light up when we see something that’s new. It was a survival mechanism from prehistoric times when we saw something new.
Because of the excitement in the idea of something happening other than the reality, it piques our minds to become more engrossed in what's happening.
This is also the reason why gossip and reality TV are so popular. It shows us ideas and possibilities that don't necessarily happen in our lives. We won't have a Kardashian-type afternoon where you ponder all day about drama and still do so in style. (For me, my afternoons are all about boring white tees and jeans with my computer and 2 cups of tea).
Just like in a good story flow, there's a beginning, a climax and an end. The climax is a necessary part of the story. The tension is what keeps the audience listening and reading more. This helps them create their own scenarios and think about the reasons why certain events are happening.
As Aristotle said, the job of storyteller is to create a gap between what should be and what is, and then continue to string the reader along closing that gap between what should be and what is, and reopening it over and over again until that gap is closed and the tale ends
A good tension keeps the readers on high alert. There should be a tease and an uncertainty that will push them to finish the story to the very end.
Balance & Fluency
Some think that the only way to really be great is to use confusing jargon (only to sound just a little bit smarter than everyone else). However, it has been found out that best-selling writers in history like J.K. Rowling use recognizable, conversational words.
At the same time, there just has to be a balance in the other three elements, relatability, ideology and conflict, for the story to connect. If you make it too far-fetched, nobody will understand. If there's too much conflict and no resolution, it would leave the audience hanging.
In business, we use storytelling to create effective ceontent marketing. Though it helps to use the proper lingo (KPIs, metrics, storyscaping, etc.) when we're talking about content marketing, but we have to know how to strip it down to basics.
The point of content marketing is to create stories that matter. If your story doesn't affect them or improve their lives, it makes no sense.