Have you ever wondered why so many of us are familiar with the fairytales of Mother Goose or the Brothers Grimm? What made these fairytales of long ago so popular that they stood the test of time? In a nutshell, it’s because they were good stories. Good stories leave impressions. They connect with their audience on an emotional level. They have aspects of them that are memorable. They keep their audience engaged.
If you think about it, that’s what our goal is with our websites, as well. Our websites are most successful when they connect with our readers and give them something that they can relate to and remember. In a day when we’re bombarded with information at every turn, it’s increasingly important to provide quality content and stories that help you stand out among your competitors. EContent states that, “A recent Harvard Business Review article discussed the issue of storytelling and its importance, concluding that during this time of information saturation, telling a good story is essential to being heard and getting your message out.” Somewhere along the timeline of search engines and blogs and web content marketing, we lost sight of this, but the good news is that storytelling is making a strong comeback! And it’s in your best interest to hop on the bandwagon and provide your readers with what they’re looking for. But how do you do this?
Focus On the What and the Why
The what and the why of your website is what we call your vision. You can have the best, most vividly detailed story on your website, but if it doesn’t adhere to the vision of your business, then you’ve missed the mark. What is the message you’re trying to portray? What are you trying to get your audience to buy or believe? Why are you passionate about this message? It’s also a good idea to use things like visuals and your tone of voice help you cast your vision.
Determine What Story You Want to Use
After you’ve decided on your vision, it’s time to determine what type of story you want to use to express it. Moz has a great blog about six different types of stories that are effective in overcoming audience objections. One of the examples used is a vision story (not to be confused with your website’s vision), which tells your reader how his or her life could be if, say, he or she used your product or booked your hotel or wore your brand of clothing. Another example is a teaching story. A teaching story gives a snippet of important information to its reader, then uses that information to direct him or her to the product or service being offered. What type of story do you think is best for your website?
Peak Your Reader’s Interest
They say to never underestimate the power of a first impression. The same holds true for your website. It’s important to wow your audience with photos and stories that fuel a need-to-know right off the bat. One way to do this is by creating stories that evoke feeling for your audience. I have years of experience in writing content for hotels. Every hotel has something to offer, whether it’s proximity to an airport or a location on a white, sandy beach in the tropics. I always try to pinpoint what it is about that hotel that makes it special and to create a story that would elicit an emotional response from the reader. For example, a tired business traveler might be looking for a hotel that’s near the airport and that has free Wi-Fi or maybe even a free breakfast each morning. With that in mind, I craft a warm and welcoming story where the reader feels as if he or she can find respite after a busy day of meetings or travel because it’s nice to feel at home when you’re on the road.
Make It Personal
Facts and figures are great for making your point, but small details and even personal stories help to cement a place in the reader’s mind and to help your message feel closer and deeper. For example, if you’re asking for donations for a cause, it’s great to include data to support your beliefs, but it’s also smart to appeal to the emotions of your reader. Include a story about yourself or someone who has been personally affected by the cause you’re promoting. Small details in a story help to create a sense of empathy in a reader, which could lead to more success for your cause.
Place Your Stories Strategically
You likely know that placing your content strategically on your website is important. The same goes for your stories. In my experience, it’s smart to include strong storytelling on parts of your website that tell who you are, such as the home page. Here, you can introduce yourself and your vision to your client and include stories that help the audience get to know you. After that, you can continue casting your vision into product descriptions and information pages throughout your website. The point is that you want to promote your story as easily and as quickly as possible to hold your audience’s attention and keep them digging for more information.
So now that you have some tools in your belt, it’s time to begin refining your storytelling skills! And, as always, if you need some help in this area, we’re glad to help! EVG prides itself on employing what we consider the best storytellers in all the land!
Caralee Culpepper – Content Creator