Tell ‘Em a Story, Give ‘Em Good Content

“Storytelling” and “content” are buzzwords in business communications, with a lot of articles and studies flooding the blogosphere. Some of it seems obvious (people are more engaged by stories, information with emotional content and resonance, rather than by mere facts or reasoning). Some of it seems a bit mushy – “content” might mean one thing to a marketer, another to someone in employee comms and several other things to people who produce or manage it.

Just today, my Twitter feed brought up two articles making a connection between storytelling and brain function.

As presenters we want people to pay attention, be engaged and remember the message. The key to doing that? Science now says it involves storytelling: Stories stimulate emotions, which may be the key to better learning, attention, memory and decision making.

That’s from an article headlined The Science Behind Storytelling — and Why It Matters on slideshare.  A Forbes article touts the cognitive benefits of reading long-form narrative, like novels.

And this headline/subhead combination from the WSJ brought it home: To Persuade People, Tell Them a Story; Narrative Is a Powerful Way to Get a Message Across.

Finally, Search Engine Journal offers this intriguing post: Leading Experts Predict The Content Marketing Trends for 2014.

We all want to persuade audiences, and storytelling and content will continue to be more important in business in 2014.  Effective storytelling needs good storytellers, who know what a good story is (and isn’t), who can gather information, break it down and present it again in ways that  matter to selected audiences. To have a good story, you need good content, yes — but you also have to know how to present it, to whom and why.

Fun stuff to think about and to tackle in our work, whatever kind of stories we tell.

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