Storytelling is as old as humanity itself, but still our most powerful tool in communication. What is state-of-the-art storytelling for 2020? It is always difficult to predict trends, but some narrative grips and overall trends stand out. Spoon creative, Mats Michael Olsen shares ten things to keep in mind when telling stories to engage and make an impact this coming year.
Honesty is the best policy
1. Not new, but still true: Stories must have an emotional impact. On social media, we are both overwhelmed and numbed by the massive number of messages. In order to break through the noise, we have to create things that people can care about or engage in.
2. Keep it real. Don’t create content that operates in a grey zone of fiction and reality. We need to be honest with our audience to earn their trust and loyalty.
3. Don’t be self-centered. Remember that the stories we tell first and foremost are made to engage with our audience, not our board members.
4. Find conflict and friction in history. Remember that stories need opposites – David needs Goliath. We love to see heroes overcome obstacles.
5. Think about the customer’s journey. A single content piece can be great, but as a rule, it will serve you better as part of a larger universe of stories. One single story will rarely solve all your market challenges. Divide the effort and create something that will receive wide attention, something that will attract traffic, something that will convert and something that will be loved by search engines.
6. Be conscious when you select your channels. The requirements for what kind of content and formats rewarded in different channels can have a direct impact on what stories you should tell. Make sure to cater for these channel specifics as you develop your stories.
7. Find your voice. What stories are only yours to tell, and in which areas are you the most credible storyteller? Talk about the things you are the expert in and do it well.
8. Create your story areas. Define the themes that are relevant to your audience and aligned with your offer and brand. Use these to determine what stories to tell. Not every story fits your communication.
9. Great stories are often rooted in good ideas. There are many great stories out there but collecting them is hard work. Solid and structured ideas are the key to finding original angles and unique stories. Don’t forget that.
10. Steal from everyone. Keep an eye on other great storytellers and be inspired. Steal as much as you can but in style. Stealing from everyone is smart, stealing from one is plagiarism.
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