Content Marketing and the Art of Storytelling: Is Less More?

By Deanna Varkanis in Digital,Marketing

As content marketing creators, we’re often required to master the art of storytelling in the most persuasive and compelling ways, all the while keeping our verbosity and our word count to a low.

At the same time we’ve always been taught to ‘show’ and not tell, and yet ‘showing’ naturally takes a more long-winded and creative route; finding synonyms for the dull or uninspiring has become almost second nature to us logophiles (or a person who loves words – see what I did there?), and with the Dictionary app (an app!) readily available on our desktops, it has unsurprisingly become our tool of choice.

When it comes to writing content for marketing purposes (whether it be text for a website, branding, or even print collateral such as brochures, booklets, or posters) the power behind storytelling is not one to be understated; it helps us to first hook our audience, then reel them in and keep them interested. It’s not a new phenomenon that people respond well to captivation, but rather an inherent understanding of knowing what makes us tick, what surprises us, grabs our attention, or makes us nod along in agreement.

And yet, while words are a really powerful thing, it’s the way we as marketers and storytellers use them, which gives us that power too.  Not all words are created equal (remember my love for synonyms?) and in our time-pressed and technology-driven world, it’s more about finding the balance between what word to use, and when, that has the ability to direct the way our content is received. Because throwing together a smattering of flowery, fancy words will not convince your readers that you know what you’re talking about. Instead you need to be punchy and vivid with your prose, and create an experience for your audience that will illustrate your message in a clear and impactful way. By all means embrace your craft and continue to right-click for those synonyms, but never forget the age-old teachings to “show, not tell” and that less sometimes really is more.

We’ve put together a short list of tips that helps us to stay on track with our content:

  1. Brainstorm: Whether it be in the form of dot points, lunch-time scribbles or even a visual mind-map, getting into the habit of brainstorming and clearly outlining your key points will keep you from getting distracted and straying off topic. (We all have our own way with words, but need remember the time and place with which to use them!)
  2. Read Your Work Out Loud: As someone who can easily get carried away with the written word, I’ve learned that reading my work out loud helps me to hear it from a different point of view, and doing this regularly has actually improved my writing. All too often our ideas sound incredible in our head, but it’s not until we speak them aloud that we realise we’re huffing and puffing (and blowing that proverbial little pig’s house down) when all we might’ve needed was a comma.
  3. Write for Your Audience: Every bit of content we write is intended to seek out or appeal to a particular audience. Keeping their ‘persona’ in mind will help you develop a style of writing that is readable, engaging, and most importantly relevant to them. Sometimes we have to write about things we don’t know – or like – which can easily make us lose sight of our goals. But at the end of the day, our aim as content marketers is to encourage our readers to become more than just that.

2 responses to “Content Marketing and the Art of Storytelling: Is Less More?”

  1. Very descriptive post, I loved that a lot. Will there
    be a part 2?

    • jaz says:

      Thanks for your comment, we’re so glad you enjoyed our write-up. You’ve inspired us to continue with this concept, so yes please – stay tuned for Part 2! JAZ

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