Plain language professionals and marketers know the importance of connecting with audiences in messages they can relate to. But, how do you present those messages in the most meaningful way? You tell a story. The is the marketing focus of the future. It is here to stay. So, how do you adapt your style?
Why is storytelling important?
Echostories.com points to marketing leader Michael Brenner, Newscred, saying storytelling would be the future's number one way to connect with clients. Readers and writers are noting the need to speak directly to people, and connect with them about their interests. This is a cultural change away from delivering the "I want you to buy my goods now, because our stuff is great.' message. It has to be turned around to say: 'You love holidays. Where ever you go, good luggage can make the difference. Let us help you have a smooth, secure journey.' There isn't an 'I', 'my', 'our' in the second examples. Many may find this a hard habit to break. But, the checklist to successful story writing are straightforward.
Storytelling six-point checklist
The first rule is to let your clients lead the way: it's there story, not yours. That's a tough one. But, once you've done it a few times, and had their responses, you'll see its strengths. The second rule is that it that the focus should be on benefits —60% of what you write! Most importantly your story needs:
1. context—reader relevant angle
2. curiosity factor—gets their attention
3. characters—readers relate to
4. conversational style—talk with them, not at them
5. conflict and resolution—problem-solution; question-answer; before-after
6. conclusion that calls for action—set a challenge.
Plain language storytelling
Plain language is all about connecting with your audience. Writing in words they understand. In Business2Community blog on storytelling, 'crisp' is identified as a key writing trait. Is your writing crisp? clear? concise? These are all important factors in plain language ad connecting with readers. And, that's what this story is all about.
TED Talks on storytelling - great stories about storytelling
PlainLanguageAcademy.com - online courses
Kate Harrison Whiteside has over 25 years experience in plain language, writing/editing, training and consulting.