The value of storytelling can’t be understated. It’s an essential part of the human experience and central to the way our minds work. It’s how we learn, pass on information and process complex ideas.
That’s why storytelling matters so much to content marketing. But getting it right can be challenging. Here, we break down a few of the most common, easy to produce, and successful storytelling formats and explain what goals each one achieves.
Numbered lists, better known as listicles or roundups, are a tried-and-true way to share information. They allow you to write short, direct and snappy content. If you’re trying to establish your voice, this format is a great choice, because it’s informal and enables you to write as if you are talking with your reader.
You can also research and use search-friendly terms in your subheads. That can help boost traffic. Plus, they’re reader-friendly and eminently shareable.
One negative? While listicles seem simple enough, they can be surprisingly time-consuming to produce, especially if you embed links and upload images for everything you list.
Good for: driving traffic, establishing your voice
This format is straightforward: Your readers want answers; you provide them. It’s that simple.
But there are some rules. For starters, the more specific you can be, the better. You should also write a clickable headline, describe the problem and what your readers will learn right off the bat, use subheads, and give readers information about where they can go to find more help at the end of the story.
You can write in as much detail as you want, but always make sure to write clearly, if not conversationally, and provide original instructions for whatever topic you cover.
Good for: generating organic search traffic, answering questions
Like the format above, explainer posts let you flex your muscles and show off your knowledge, but in this case, about your own products or services.
Again, it pays to be specific, clear, and direct – you are using this format to help readers learn more about your goods, after all. Focus on simplifying, but don’t talk down to your audience or over-explain as it can come off as patronizing.
While this format works perfectly well in the written form, explainers make for excellent video content. Watching is usually easier than reading, and videos capture emotions like no other format.
Good for: showcasing your expertise on a subject, demystifying your products or services, video content marketing
The classic blog post can be customized for all kinds of purposes. Want to tell your brand story? Write about a subject you care deeply about? Tell an inspirational tale? Entertain readers? Share new design discoveries? Develop a story around the holidays or seasons? Write about a timely event, whether it’s Mardi Gras or International Pancake Day? A blog post can instantly create a casual, intimate feeling and help yoru customers connect with your brand.
There are no hard and fast rules, but if you want to entertain readers, remember to incorporate the four core elements of a story into your writing: a character, a problem, an action, and a solution.
Good for: entertainment, product or brand stories, leveraging seasonal events
Interviews are incredibly versatile and can tick quite a few boxes. If you interview a customer, you can talk about how your product or service has impacted their life. If you interview an expert, you can cover a subject that hits close to home for you or your readers and arms them with new insights or inspiration. The people themselves, especially if they are relatively high-profile or shed light on an underexplored arena, can attract different readers, too.
These can take the form of a Q&A – arguably the fastest and easiest way to do it – or a narrative story. Last but not least, by interviewing people who align with your brand, you’ll can also leverage their following to raise awareness among new markets.
Good for: providing information, entertainment, generating traffic
We touched on it above, but customer testimonials can come in more forms than an interview.
You can invite customers to write guest posts and compile round-ups of complimentary statements. If you want more of a soft sell, you can simply weave a quote or two into one of your blog posts, too.
Good for: proving the value of your service or product
Need help telling your brand stories in a variety of formats? Reach out today – we’re here to help.