Storytelling (from the English “storytelling”, in translation – storytelling) – is the delivery of information to the audience through stories and stories, the heroes of which are fictional or real characters. Nowadays, this skill is necessary not only for writers who create works of fiction. Entrepreneurs, journalists, business coaches, marketers and PR people have long understood that a catchy story in which the reader can recognize himself will evoke emotions and be remembered much better than a boring statement of facts, listing opportunities and benefits.
In this article, we will look at the areas in which this technique is applied, talk about the principles and goals of storytelling, and also consider what a classic story scenario looks like.
Where is storytelling used?
In business, storytelling is successfully used both within the company and when interacting with clients and partners.
Organizations issue emails to employees with stories that reveal company value, tell the success stories of individual employees. Such corporate storytelling helps to unite the team, sets the direction of activities and perfectly motivates them to achieve high results.
Storytelling in marketing is a powerful tool with which you can create the desired image of a company, attract customers, increase customer loyalty to a brand or product, so that in the end he makes a purchase. Through storytelling, you can tell clients in an interesting way about the experience of the corporation, the history of the emergence of a certain product, and give examples of its successful use. With the help of such stories, a positive image of both the company itself and the offered product or service is formed.
Storytelling in journalism and documentary films is used as a way to tell a story so that the reader or viewer evaluates the situation from different angles, sees events through the eyes of different characters.
Storytelling is also widely used in education. The task of the story here is to motivate the student, to show the importance of learning through the example of life stories, to induce targeted action, for example, to sign up for a seminar, course or webinar.
In the field of providing travel services, stories can be used to tell about new places and routes, interesting excursions, which will push potential customers to buy a tour and travel.
In addition, storytelling is used in public speaking and commercials. Even a printed flyer or banner can tell a story in the form of texts, pictures or comics.
What is good storytelling?
You already know the definition of storytelling, as well as where and why it is used, now it’s time to talk about what a story is and what to consider when creating it.
Let’s list the main principles of storytelling:
- Every story always has at least one character. The hero of the story should be 100% interesting to your audience. Ideally, he should be like readers, so that they can “try on” all his thoughts, actions and decisions. The character of the story can be both a real and a fictional hero, and not only a person, but also an animal, a fantastic creature, an object or an organization.
- The story doesn’t have to be very long. Keep in mind that usually a person can be as focused on something as possible for 20 minutes, and after that his mindfulness decreases.
- When writing stories, it is important to carefully consider the details of the narrative: the setting in which the action takes place, the characters of the characters, their opinions, and writing out dialogues.
- In the story, there must be events and changes that are vital for the character. Add conflict, contradictions, a description of overcoming the hero of the story of some difficulties. This will spice up the narrative and make the story more engaging. Such a story will evoke emotions in readers, make them empathize with the hero. The whole story should revolve around the problem and the search for a solution. It’s great if at some point events take an unexpected turn and the plot gets a new path of development.
- Any story consists of a plot, a conflict (main part, a climax) and a denouement. There should be no open end in storytelling. It is important for the reader to get answers to questions without guessing something on his own. The ending does not have to be positive, you should not only tell stories of success and victories, often stories of failures and defeats create an even stronger effect, but the denouement should always sum up.
- The story, especially the beginning, doesn’t have to be boring. Tell the story in a way that sparks people’s interest and desire to know what happened next. Your story can evoke a variety of emotions in the audience: joy or laughter, anger or indignation, but it should not leave readers indifferent.
- To add color to the story, use metaphors, hyperbole, and other figures of speech. However, you should not overdo it with them – the main idea should not be lost against their background.
- Also, do not overuse unnecessary details and descriptions, try to keep the story succinct and clear, and also contain only details that are important for the narrative. Convey thoughts in understandable language, clearly and specifically, use living examples.
- In the process of presentation, appeal to people’s imaginations, your story should activate their senses, use imaginative thinking so that the reader can smell and taste, hear sounds, imagine what is happening, and even feel touched.
- The story should not impose on the audience the opinion of the author. Try to get the readers to draw specific conclusions themselves and want to carry out the targeted action. For example, if the goal of a story is to sell, you cannot say directly that a potential buyer needs something or has to do something. It is necessary to structure the narrative so that after reading the story, a person has a desire to have the desired product.
Remember that it is impossible to interest absolutely everyone with one story – you need to write a separate story for a specific target audience.
Each story should be accompanied by visual content: add pictures or photographs to the text, this will immerse readers in the atmosphere of what is happening and better present the material. You can also insert video or animation to make the story more dynamic and vivid.
Story scenario and storytelling goals
There are many different ways of telling stories, but almost any of them unfolds according to the classic scenario.
The story always begins with a set where you must describe the situation, give a portrait of the hero and talk about his problems. It is in the introductory part that you need to try to hook the reader, be able to arouse his interest, so that he does not turn his attention to something else, but delve deeper into the story.
Then the story unfolds: you should outline the solution to the problem, describe the hero’s path, what difficulties he had to face on this path, what experience he received, and the like.
The final part of the story should talk about the results, plans. Here it is necessary to motivate the reader to take the action you need, for this we carefully and unobtrusively apply call-to-action.
The story should be structured, united by a single, carefully thought-out plot. Storytelling always implies a purpose; while writing a story, you must keep in mind what you started the story for. Your message, the moral of the story, will depend on the goal. For example:
- If the goal is to nudge the reader into action, you need to describe some experience of successfully overcoming difficulties, solving problems, or achieving success with a specific action.
- The goal may be to tell you about yourself. In this case, honestly and openly tell the audience about your journey of ups and downs, failures and victories.
- If it is important for you to share your values with your readers, your story should touch upon familiar emotions, describe types and situations so that people can draw parallels with their own lives.
- In a situation where the purpose of storytelling is community building and collaboration, you need a story that can encourage your audience to actively discuss and share it with others.
Now you know what storytelling is. Stories can not only entertain the audience, they can help you introduce customers to the company, share experiences and successes, motivate them to learn, tell about new products and sell a variety of products. Stories evoke emotions in readers, arouse curiosity, inspire, motivate them, enrich them with knowledge, which ultimately stimulates them to take targeted actions.
Theoretical knowledge has been obtained, now is the time to write your story. I have no doubt that you will succeed!
Finally, I want to give a few more important tips:
- Avoid monotonous narration, do not delay the beginning – the story should capture from the first lines.
- Don’t use obscure terms.
- Be sure to add emotion.
- Do not advertise your product head-on.
- Do not force a purchase.
And also remember that writing for everyone is writing for anyone, so before creating a story, take the time to research your target audience.