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How to Tell a Great Story: The Science and The Method

[fa icon="calendar"] 25-Jul-2017 08:30:00 / by Iliyana Stareva

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Studies have shown that our brains are more engaged by storytelling rather than hard facts, sometimes by up to 22 times. 

In content marketing, telling stories has become a more and more sought out method. 

That's because making a personal connection rather than pushy sales and marketing tactics works better when you want to generate new business or engage your customers.

Not to mention that in our information overload era your biggest struggle as a marketer is the fight for attention. There's too much noise out there. It's close to impossible to stand out, especially when people's attention spans are shorter than those of a gold fish - only 8 seconds... 

Creating break through stories, though, is both an art and a science. You need the science and the data to tell you what your strategy should be around storytelling in terms of narratives and content types, and you need the art to be able to craft a storyline that sticks. 

We'll look at both today. 

Let's start with the science of storytelling. 

I like to rely on research and data so here I'm going to show you an infographic from one spot that has a ton of helpful information.

You can see all details below, however, this is what you should be paying attention to:

7 Quick Tips for Planning a Great Story: 

  • Keep your stories short.
  • Have a grabbing title
  • Deliver linear content with an easy to follow narrative.
  • Show, don't tell so use plenty of images or videos.
  • If you choose text, keep it skimmable with subheads, bullet points etc. and add visuals too.
  • Make sure your stories are educational and informational; then focus on entertaining and inspirational.
  • Focus on quality and relevancy. 

Take a look at all the numbers and details in this infographic. 

The Science of Storytelling: [Infographic]

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Looking at the science allows you to plan for the type of stories you want to create and the important details you need to consider before you start developing your story. 

The tricky part after that is the actual storytelling. You almost have to be a creative writer to craft a compelling story that will engage the audience. 

Here an infographic from the CMA helps us. 

7 Steps to Crafting a Great Story:

  • Understand the possible main aspects of your story from beginning to end: problem, conflict, middle, growth, resolution, solution. 
  • Craft your plot and its emotional focus, e.g. tragedy, quest etc.
  • Choose the type of hero you want for the story, e.g. cynical, tragic, loner etc.
  • Choose the rest of your story characters.
  • Observe the rule of three - make sure there's a hook with three figures, aspects etc. in your story. 
  • Choose your media (maybe it's not just social or website).
  • Give your audience 2 + 2 rather than 4 - the golden rule to let the audience put things together rather than just give it to them straight (great tip from Pixar!). 

Take a closer look at the details in the infographic. I do suggest printing it out and looking through the tips every time you have to write a storyline. 

The Method: Seven Steps To a Great Story [Infographic]

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How do you tell great stories?

 

Topics: Storytelling, Blogging, Inbound PR

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is the Success Programs Manager for the Netherlands at Cisco where she drives programmatic efforts for product adoption. In her previous roles at HubSpot, she led major cross-functional change for the global Partner Program with her detail-oriented approach to project management and advised hundreds of agencies on how to transform their businesses with inbound and digital. During that time, she earned the globally recognised Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification by the PMI. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or traveling the world.

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