What is the importance of storytelling in content marketing?

How to write the best blog posts possible with storytelling

What makes the best blog post, best?

Best is a subjective term, yet the title of this post implies you can follow a “recipe” to create posts of high value that deserve to be called “the best”.

To be fair, this post teaches ONE method (not THE method) of creating a high quality blog post. The article linked to in the prior sentence calls it the Deep Dive into a Single Topic. I’m suggesting you expand on that concept and publish what are called Thought Leadership Posts.

It may be helpful to think of this post as a recipe. One which results in a great finished blog post at the end, but first there are some concepts it’s important you understand.

Thought Leadership Ideas

Many blog posts on the Internet (perhaps most) reword what others have said before, and while there is nothing wrong with that, if what you’ve said has been said before (many times) why would anyone need to read your version?

If your site has a high Domain Authority, rewriting what others have said before can be very effective. Since your site ranks high, the individual posts on your site are likely to rank high.

When your site is new and has a low Domain Authority, that won’t work. You must “seed” your site with high-qualityy content others will link to.

That is where Thought Leadership comes in. The “key ingredient” of Thought Leadership Posts is analysis and perspective, backed up by data.

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Thought Leadership Format

The overall format of a thought leadership post is:

  • Provides a big picture perspective, discusses trends, new technologies, etc.
  • Is written for industry executives
  • Provides a strong opinionated perspective
  • Cites research studies
  • Contains substantial analysis as compared to simple editorial content
  • Is supported by stories and personal examples

Analysis Matters

We’re constantly hearing “provide value” and often no detail is provided as to what that means.

Not understanding what “provide value” means may be one of the reasons the Internet is awash in low quality content.

Analysis is the means whereby we extract higher level meaning from information and anecdotes.

For example….. This, that, and the other happened, and it therefore seems we are headed in this direction and need to be concerned about these types of information and events.

The key phrase in the above paragraphs is “and it therefore seems”, provided that analysis is backed up by data which in turn supports a logical argument.

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Storytelling Ideas

However…. Studies show that storytelling is the best format for helping people remember things.

For this reason, the conclusions of your analysis which are supported by data are most effectively presented to others in the format of a story (which is sometimes hard to do).

So below we discuss two storytelling devices

The “but/therefore” Rule

This was created (or figured out) by the guys who created South Park (Trey Parker and Matt Stone). The basic idea is every story consists of various elements that are strung together. When different story elements connect with either the word “but” or the word “therefore”, the story is more engaging. When different story elements connect with other words, they audience starts to lose interest.

The video below shows them explaining this idea

 

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The Hero’s Journey

This is an idea from Joseph Campbell, a lifelong student and professor of mythology. From researching mythology from various human cultures, modern and ancient, he concluded there are 12 story elements to all the epic journey narratives throughout human history. Ever major epic includes most (but not necessarily all) of these elements.

He called this collection of story elements The Hero’s Journey.

How is this relevant to writing blog posts? In your blogs which are attempting to appeal to potential customers, it’s important to make THEM the hero of the story and to position yourself as the mentor. The Hero’s Journey provides you with a structured format with which to do that.

For more information about The Hero’s Journey, click the link above, but in summary, the 12 steps are:

  1. The Ordinary World
  2. The Call to Adventure
  3. Refusal of the Call
  4. Meeting with the Mentor
  5. Crossing the Threshold
  6. Tests, Allies, and Enemies
  7. Approach
  8. The Ordeal
  9. The Reward
  10. The Road Back
  11. The Resurrection
  12. Return with the Elixir

This general story arc occurs over and over and over again in the stories we tell and hand down for generations.

How the Ideas Above are Useful

Thought leadership is a format that: 1) helps position you as an expert in your field, by showcasing your high level perspective of your industry, and 2) provides analysis backed up by studies and data. Thought leadership posts tend to make good “link bait” which is to say they are articles that people want to share and link to.

The storytelling devices of “but/therefore” and The Hero’s Journey are ways of making your articles feel more relevant and be more memorable.

The next post describes how to build such a post in layers following a structured methodology. This increases the chances of people thinking it’s good and desiring to share it.

To read the next post, select the link below.

How to… The Anatomy of writing the best blog post possible

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4 Comments

  • Mahadev Majaladar

    Reply Reply July 20, 2017

    Great tips for storytelling blogging! I like this post

    • Kevin Carney

      Reply Reply July 20, 2017

      Thank you. Would you mind sharing what it is you like about this post?

  • Writology

    Reply Reply July 21, 2017

    The “but and therefore” rule is something new for me. Thank you for this great post.

    • Kevin Carney

      Reply Reply July 23, 2017

      I love that idea too. It had never occurred to me on my own, but as soon as I saw it I saw its effectiveness.

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