It’s really easy these days. Anyone can blog and just start writing straight away. With the myriad of blog strategies and techniques in circulation, we have moved further and further away from what it used to be all about – storytelling. Many bloggers have a hard time telling interesting stories and that is exactly the missing ingredient in much of the content marketing.
Quite often, bloggers focus too much on information and facts. They don’t notice what’s going on around them, they don’t experience anything – they simply fill in an empty word document. That doesn’t stir up any emotions, it doesn’t create excitement.
Our virtual blogs have become dramas, when they used to be more like thrilling adventures that trigger positive emotions.
So, what’s the difference between a blogger and a storyteller?
Are these not just two buzzwords that we can no longer clearly define? I strongly feel that there is a difference: A storyteller is someone who can convey his feelings directly. Such an author allows me to feel whatever he feels.
Cornelia Funke’s books come to mind here. I used to love them as a child, immersing myself in the world of Inkheart. Cornelia Funke managed to put me under her spell. Unlike a blogger, a storyteller equally moves his reader and stirs something up in them.
Are you a blogger or a atoryteller?
How to become a storyteller
The right structure
The way you structure an article has a huge impact on the emotions you want to create. My children’s books by Cornelia Funke already used these very principles. Every good story needs a beginning, a middle section and an end.
I’m sure most of you will remember the structure of a story from high school and therefore know about the determination of the climax. “Stories” are still written this way. The digital format doesn’t change that. A story can be as short or as long as you wish, but it must follow these steps. And you can utilise it – for instance, in case studies for the client.
Every blogger should manage to build up tension and include these three sections in their story. This is the only way to connect with your reader and convey feelings. I know that sounds easy. Yet, only few do.
Are you controversial?
It’s perfectly OK to have a different opinion and to stand out from the crowd. In fact, in storytelling this is a good thing. It is the only way to trigger a reaction, to create an interest and an emotional response. I recently experienced a situation along these lines. When my article: “Vorsicht, Rabatte – Wie günstige Preise der Marke schaden” (“Beware of discounts – how cheap prices can harm a brand”) was published, there were many reactions to the opinion and story I had presented. In this article, I attempted to outline my experiences with discounts in retail and IT and I made a case against such discounts. I took a stand on a subject and developed a story. This annoyed some people and delighted others who shared the same opinion.
What does that mean for your storytelling? We only notice things that stand out, things that are different. This is why we should strive to move our readers and to call them to action. Controversial articles create tension and that is a good thing. A storyteller lives of the emotions he triggers in his readers.
Storytellers arouse emotions and they encourage us to stand up for something. A blogger, on the other hand, is often far more mechanic and focused on keywords, his “posts” don’t contain any story elements. These types of articles tend to be monotonous and they fail to reach the right side of our brains.
Does your story have a personality?
We are human. Thus, we like to identify with other humans. We can empathise with their feelings. A story about other humans is far more interesting to us. And this is what storytellers take into account when trying to make information relevant.
As soon as we give an object, or an animal, human characteristics, we can empathise and identify with them. This is a really important point in storytelling, as this is what brings a story alive.
A good writer will find a way to transform abstract concepts into something inspirational and thus trigger an emotional response. Most of us dreamed of having super powers as a child, and being able to fly everywhere. Readers want a connection and a personality. Leaving out this element will leave your blog dry and dull.
What moves you? Why does it move you? Think about these steps and use them to become a good storyteller and content marketer!
The Crispy Content Marketing Blog features many more articles on storytelling:
Inken Kuhlmann is the first German marketer at HubSpot. She is the software company’s Head of Marketing for the DACH region. Inken manages the German HubSpot Blog and works hard to raise the public profile of inbound marketing in Germany every day.