In my previous post, I touched on content marketing and I emphasized throughout the post the importance of quality content. But what does that mean? If content is king, surely storytelling must be queen! What do I mean by this? I think storytelling is an important part of blogging. I have read many blogs, articles and as I step back to reflect on those that I would consider to be the cream of the crop, I can identify three components to online storytelling. Furthermore, each component has 6 key checkpoints. The three components are:
- The Story - the actual content and substance of the blog;
- The Goals – as it relates to the post and what you are trying to achieve with the audience; and
- The Delivery- how the content is conveyed.
- The Audience. Know your audience. As always, storytelling starts with your audience and knowing how to relate to them and how to get their interest.
- The Message. Have a clear and focused message. For each post, be very clear on the purpose and/or the questions you will be answering. The audience needs to understand the point you are trying to make.
- Relevant Information. Have relevant and interesting information. Today our attention span is so short and shorter still on-line. Consequently your content must be relevant, interesting and of value. You must have a hook or you will quickly loose your audience.
- Research. Do your homework and research your topic. I think this goes without saying. It does not have to be a lengthy ordeal however you do need to know what is out there to ensure that you are current and have the ability to bridge your thinking. Your storytelling is truly a balance between the art and science of blogging.
- Personal Experience. Whenever and wherever possible, draw from your personal experience and make it personal for your audience. It is your blog; your story to tell, put your stamp on it.
- The Journey. With every post you are taking your audience on a journey with your story. Think through that journey. The journey should have a natural flow and rhythm with continuous bait as you weave your message throughout the journey, enticing your audience to follow you to the end of your post.
There may be a number of goals that you are trying to achieve with your post. Keeping those goals in mind will help with structuring your message and consequently your delivery. The goals are usually all, or some, of the following:
- Connect. It is definitely important to connect with the audience; your story needs to be compelling to ensure that they stay with you.
- Educate. Education is often a key goal, providing valuable knowledge for your audience
- Resonate. The message of your post needs to “speak” to your audience in such a way that they can internalize it. This is a key goal for many bloggers.
- Inspire. I think we all hope we will engage our audience that will move them to act, and ultimately to inspire them. With inspiration comes support and endorsement.
- Trust. The next two checkpoints are on-going goals of building trust and respect.
The delivery is just as important as the story itself.
You may have a great story, however a lousy delivery will not bring your story or points to life. So after writing your post, consider the following checkpoints or questions:
- Is it Natural? Remember you are taking your audience on a journey and the way you lead them must feel so natural that they follow along with ease. Do not over complicate your message. Find your voice. Keep it simple. Speak with the individual. It is a conversation.
- Is it Authentic? This is a build on being natural. Here, you are building credibility. This is probably one of the most important checkpoints of storytelling. Authenticity is critical for success.
- Is it Confident? Does your post read with confidence? No one follows a leader who is not confident.The same is true for storytelling.
- Is it Passionate? There is nothing more infectious than the energy that is extruded when a person speaks or writes with passion. Find your passion and write about it. It will steer you in the right direction.
- Is it Engaging? Does your post stimulate the senses? Do you have a mixture of formats? It is important to capture the variety of preferred styles in your audience. Mix it up! Pictures, text, videos.
- Is it Entertaining? Lastly, is there an opportunity to include a little humor? Make sure you have a pulse on your audience, and choose your humor wisely. Humor can go a long way.
Photo by Jeremy Hall
Cartoon used with the permission of the Cartoonist.
- Mesh Marketing 2011: Addressing the 50 Questions Preventing Businesses from Venturing Into Social Media, Content Marketing & Klout (socialmediapearls.wordpress.com)
- 8 Steps to Leading Through Storytelling (wcntransmedia.wordpress.com)
- Social Storytelling for Business: 3 Easy Steps to Better Convey Your Message (forbes.com)
- Storytelling and the inverted pyramid (michcommunication.wordpress.com)