Story telling is a practice as old as time itself and its core purpose has always been to pass on a message of some kind. Nowadays, any content marketer who knows what they are doing is aware of the power of story structure and its ability to make content marketing infinitely more impactful. However, for those of us who are hearing about this concept for the first time, there is bound to be a healthy amount of confusion, you might be wondering how can marketing content be written like a story? Should you be expecting a hero or a damsel in distress in such a marketing piece or not?
When it comes to story-telling in marketing, we are not talking about the traditional way of telling a story, in fact, story structure based content marketing material will hardly look like a story at all. Instead, they look more like briefings or information rich content that is meant to inform and teach the reader, but what makes the different is how they identify the basic building blocks of story-telling and how do they use them to make their content more engaging.
In its most basic form, the structure of a story consists of five parts:
- Inciting Incident
- Rising action
The first part is meant to grab the reader’s attention and familiarize them with what is being talked about by providing them with a bit of background information. Once the reader has been brought up to date and is engaged, an inciting incident is introduced; something like a primary conflict or major problem that the story is focusing on. This part of the story is then followed by the rising action phase in which the reader is given more information about the problem, what caused it, what has been done to fix it, what are its effects and etc.
The trick to executing this part of the story is to introduce elements in a manner that constantly adds tension to the content, tension that will keep the reader hooked and give them an incentive to continue reading. You keep on building tension until you finally reach the climax, the part where the conflict/problem gets resolved. The climax provides a definitive end to the main aspect of the content, and the last stage (resolution) ties up any loose ends that were left behind and provides a nice end to the content.
Content marketers follow these five steps and use them to provide their work with better structure, and as a result, what they write becomes more enjoyable to read. Content that is enjoyable is also memorable, which makes it a more effective way of marketing.
It is safe to say that content marketing is undergoing a revolution now, while normally produced content marketing material is still effective, story structure based content is capable of doing much more, which is why marketers should begin exploring this aspect of marketing since it can transform a mediocre piece of material into a great one.