What is storytelling and why should you use it?

Once upon a time, there was a young girl. She was 9 years old and her name was Wende. Wende was incredibly intelligent, yet she had a hard time learning things by heart. No matter how hard she tried, she just could not memorize the planets of the solar system. It just did not stick in her head. One day her teacher told her a story about all the planets. A story about how the sun was lonely and Mercury was his first friend. How Mercury fell madly in love with Venus and how Planet Earth got jealous. After telling her the story, Wende was able to remember all of the planets in the right order. Why? Because of the magic of storytelling. Wende could remember the story and with that, she could remember the planets.

In this blogpost, I will tell you what storytelling is and why it is an important tool to use in the texts on your website. This post will be the first of a series of blog posts about storytelling.

What is storytelling?

The word storytelling pretty much speaks for itself. Storytelling is about telling stories. It is about using stories to engage your audience, or to make something more clear. Photos, pictures and film of course really help to tell a good story too.

Stories have always been a way to communicate. Before people learnt how to write, they would tell each other stories. Stories are much easier to remember than simple facts. That’s why Wende from the story remembered the planets. Also, stories are enjoyable, they stimulate your imagination. That’s why parents tell their children stories. That’s why we like to see movies and read books. People love stories, people are addicted to stories.

Some examples of (great) storytelling

In 2017 I visited a conference and I saw David JP Phillips on stage. He talked about the magical science of storytelling. I was blown away. His tolk was such an inspiration for me. Two weeks later, I had to speak at a WordCamp and I was so very inspired by David’s talk, that I did some storytelling of my own.

Next to using storytelling in presentations, you can use it in writing. Lots of travelblogs, personal blogs or momblogs use storytelling throughout all of their posts. Geraldine de Ruyter has a really funny blog about travel and many other things. Every post is a little story on her blog. But even informational blogs could use storytelling by adding an anekdote or an example. In my post about site structure and why it is important I used the exact same story as in my presentation at the WordCamp.

Storytelling

Why use storytelling?

Using storytelling in your blog post will – if you do it the right way – make your post a more engaging one. Your blog post will become something people want to read. Stories increase the attention of your audience.

If you use stories the right way, stories will help you to make your message more clear. Stories can help you to provide proof for your argumentation. They can add clarity. My story about Alice (screenshot above) is written in order to help people understand the importance of a clean site structure. This is a rather difficult subject to grasp. A story adds clarity.

Most importantly, people will remember your story, and with that, they’ll remember the message of your post or even your brand. If you use stories in a good way, you could even inspire people to take action. Maybe you’ll inspire people to clean up their website or to get started with storytelling in their blog posts and presentations.

Up next in this series

If you Google ‘storytelling’ you’ll see amazing things. Lots of online storytelling is about brand storytelling. Perhaps I’ll write a blogpost about that in the future. For this series, I’ll be focussing on using storytelling in your writing. And, I will also focus on the topic of storytelling and SEO.

In the next post in this series about storytelling, I want to focus on how to use storytelling in a blogpost. I want to start off by discussing the elements that are necessary for a good story. Also, I will share some practical tips and examples of how to start using storytelling in your blogposts.

If you have nice examples of your own use of storytelling, I would love to see those! Maybe I can even share a few of your examples in one of my next posts!

Read more: Blogging: the ultimate guide »

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