The fabric of the world is made of stories. Stories are how we interact with and relate to others in the world. The same is true online; each time we visit a website, we’re reading a narrative of some kind. Usually those narratives are sales-oriented, but many are personal stories written by people who have something to share. In that case, they’re selling an idea rather than a product.
Persuasive storytelling is popular because it sells
Raw data is interesting, but stories have the power to impact people’s emotions and move them into action. Every good internet marketer taps into emotion through storytelling to sell their product, viewpoint, or argument.
Commenting on how stories affect the mind, Sparring Mind says, “The reason that stories work so well on us is that we are susceptible to getting “swept up” in both their message and in the manner of their telling.” Stories, they say, transport people to another world where they’re more likely to embrace things they’d scoff at in the “real world.”
People want to hear stories about beating the odds
People love stories about triumph over tragedy; stories about people who reached the depths of despair and miraculously fought their way out. They want to hear about survivors and people born with limitations they fiercely overcame.
One such story often told in the medical cannabis industry, is the story of Charlotte Figi. Charlotte defied all odds against an incurable disease and changed the nation’s views on the medicinal use of CBD oil. Experiencing over 300 epileptic episodes each week at two years old, Charlotte couldn’t move, talk, or eat.
Her parents tried everything from acupuncture to strong drugs, which almost killed Charlotte. Her family didn’t like the idea of giving their 6-year-old CBD, but it was their last hope. However, several doctors rejected the family’s request to give her cannabis, creating a huge triumph when they finally found supporters. “This little girl, who was once catatonic with over 300 seizures a [week],” says Healthy Hemp Oil, “now had a large source of CBD oils to help her live again. Her seizures went down to one episode per week, sometimes even to one a month.”
A good story is at the heart of every winning content strategy
Rather than presenting raw data to your visitors, crafting a narrative is ultimately more effective. However, any story you craft needs to be engaging. Suspense and detailed imagery are just two elements that make a story engaging. This can be done through any medium.
- Video. Telling a story through video is a great way to make your story more engaging. Video satisfies the need for visual stimulation. You don’t even need to be an actor to produce video. Actually, it’s better when you’re not.
People consume a vast amount of video compared to other types of media. WordStream reports that 87% of online marketers create video content, and more than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day.
- Audio. Radio hosts and internet podcasts are adept at telling stories through a pure audio format. Although people love videos, there’s an equally large market for audio.
- Plain copy. Telling a story through copy may seem less engaging than video, but research shows when people are interested in your content, they’ll read your copy. Neil Patel once tweeted, “Interested people will read your entire article. Even if your blog post is too damn long.”
The reason other studies conclude short copy performs better is because most people don’t know how to capture and hold the reader’s attention.
Today, most people write their own sales copy to save money. Those who are willing to spend the money on a professional copywriter will end up with copy that keeps a reader’s attention.
Don’t get stuck trying to please everyone
Don’t allow yourself to become driven by the compulsion to make all of your visitors consume all of your content. Some visitors will read bits and pieces, and others will read everything. Your job is to satisfy the people who are readers. When you know your audience, that’s easy. Use storytelling to address their deepest needs, and your visitors will keep coming back for more.