So TV has been around for how long, 90 years about? In that time, it has changed the way we see the world. It paved the way for movies and shows. The BBC was the first to air a television series, and now there are enough TV series to fill all the hours of our lives and more. Movies continue to be big money-makers, but nowadays it’s serial television that keeps the public’s attention. What’s more, TV and internet have combined to bring unhindered entertainment, which itself is calculated creativity. The internet ushered in what would seem like a totally different world, but the truth is that we remain intrinsically bound to the same magnetic draw across all media. We want stories.
(Stick around, we’ll bring content marketing into this in the end).
Why we love stories
We can’t speak for everyone about why we love stories so much, but there are a lot of ideas out there that we think bear some merit.
Stories enthrall us for all sorts of reasons, but principle among them is a story’s ability to stoke the embers of our empathy. We are people, and as people we thrive on interpersonal relations. That, coupled with our ability to imagine, allows us to treasure a story’s characters whether real or unreal.
Stories also give us an out. Life is inherently monotonous for many of us. Whether it’s our conditioning or our nature, when we see, hear, or read a story which incurs all the emotions that we’re familiar with and more, it’s dazzling. We consume stories because we can use our imagination to imprint our own lives on the lives of the characters, and often these stories affect us permanently.
What is a character?
When you think about stories you know, you might picture a favorite character. Heck, you can do an internet search and look at countless images of Batman to your heart’s content. But when you see a still image of a character you love, like Han Solo or Jerry Maguire or Ted, you’re not just seeing the character’s physical attributes. You’re seeing the memories of the stories you know them from.
The story arc
The character is only pixels without an accompanying story, and the story is empty without its characters. Stories are diverse – there are so many ways to tell a good story. And not all good stories have happy endings. Just asnot all happy endings are true endings.
The story arc follows the rise and fall of a character’s journey or journeys, and it will most likely correlate with the reader’s emotional experience like the overlay of a statistician’s normal distribution graph. There’s the opening, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, the problem resolution, and the gradual or swift denouement. This is the classic story arc and the safe choice if you intend to create a story. And you need a story.
How to tell a story to your audience
So why all the talk about stories?
Today, companies are often successful thanks to the stories they tell. These can be their founders’ story, or their first customers’, or even their products’ story. In a perfect business situation you will have a story to tell for each aspect of your company’s growth, and they will all correspond to the rising action of your story arc.
If you want people show interest in your company, you need to tell its story. Content marketing will engage your readers if you have a worthwhile story to tell and no story is too simple if you tell it right. Decide who your audience is, make a list of words they may expect, define the beginning, the rise and the climax, and always end with an ongoing mission.
Ongoing, you say?
If we take note of the most successful content marketing on the internet, we see long, visual blog posts. Look closer and you’ll see elements of a story arc. But the best content marketing is infinite. You don’t want to give the impression that there’s a true end, that what you see is what you get. Instead, let’s learn from the success of television series, which always leave something for us to look forward to. An ongoing story will bring people back.
Now it’s up to you and your creative juices to decide how to create such a story. We hope this post has given you some food for thought.