Guest Post by Elena Bosch
The art of storytelling is rooted in the origins of every society. As far back as history can reach, humans have used storytelling to teach the next generation, to connect with others, to protect their culture and much, much more.
According to Dr. Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston and best-selling author, storytelling is innate.
“We’re wired for story. In a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, there’s a surprisingly simple reason we want to own, integrate, and share our stories of struggle. We do this because we feel the most alive when we’re connecting with others and being brave with our stories – it’s in our biology.”
Today we have every channel imaginable to tell our stories. Yet, even as PR practitioners, we find ourselves challenged with how best to write a story. To learn how to better tell your brand’s narrative, here are four tips for curating stories in the modern media age:
1. Set the stage
When crafting your story, set the stage by providing the most compelling and vital information upfront but leave room for curiosity. Draw readers in using imagery, analogy and emotion. For example, when writing a press release ensure your headline provides enough detail to engage readers while leveraging your sub-head to deliver the scene.
2. Explain the conflict
For many creative writers turned corporate, this means using your lede to create your story arc. Connect with your readers on a deeper level by showing the conflict’s relatability. Use facts – proof points – to substantiate the issue but don’t be afraid to use testimonials, quotes and anecdotal case studies to also make the problem relatable.
3. Introduce the hero and the protagonist
Every good story needs an evil villain and a brave hero to thwart their nefarious scheme. It’s the classic good vs. evil tale. In the case of a corporate communications writer, your hero should always be a member of your organization, likely your CEO, founder or another member of the C-suite.
Use quotes, articles or other forms of creative content from your chosen leader as a narrative device to draw readers into their passion for solving the problem for your target audience.
As for your protagonist, this key character may be introduced to readers more subtly. This may be a group or organization proliferating the problem – or even the problem itself. Don’t get trapped badgering the protagonist, however. Use clear and concise language to explain how your product or service solves for the problem and move on.
4. Provide opportunity for a happy ending
Influence your audience to engage with your brand, not by creating the resolution, but by leaving your readers inspired to take action. Is your brand a non-profit looking for funds? Leave the reader feeling like donating will directly impact the characters working to solve the problem in your story in a positive way. Invite your audience to be a part of the solution after successfully telling your brand’s story and watch your audience grow.
Writing in today’s digital landscape doesn’t have to be difficult.
The brain is wired to tell stories and humans will always engage in a good plot.
Check-off these four tips the next time you’re asked to write a story for your brand and tell us how your readers engaged with the content in the comments below.
Elena Bosch is a writer, blogger and public relations practitioner based in Orange, California. For more than ten years she has used storytelling to help brands build deeper relationships with their audiences, particularly in the number-heavy world of consumer finance. You can read more of her musings at elenabosch.com and then connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.