By Georgia Kirke and Ivan Meakins
Thousands of years ago, an unknown author decided to tell a story featuring giants, lava, and a raging volcano. It was the birth of storytelling, a craft that is now embedded into our DNA, forming the bedrock of interpersonal connections.
So, how can you harness this innate skill to create impactful, engaging content for your audience?
It all begins with one step: speaking.
What does “speaking” your content entail?
Everyone has a story to tell – one that details their journey, struggles, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. But weaving these unique experiences into a well-written narrative that resonates with your audience is no easy task, even for the most skilled wordsmiths.
That’s where speaking your content comes into play.
Speaking your content goes beyond simply rambling into a podcast mic or reeling out your thoughts off the cuff. Crafting something valuable out of the raw ideas in your head demands careful planning, strategising, and a structured framework. Without a proper framework, you run the risk of churning out a disjointed string of ideas that no one wants to read or listen to.
So, where do you begin?
Here are a few tips we’ve put together to help you ignite your creative spark and structure your big idea:
1. The rule of the familiar
One thing the best speakers, content creators, and non-fiction writers have in common is their ability to anchor their content and slowly draw their audience in until they’re completely hooked. They often start with a familiar story or anecdote, tying it in with the overall theme and then using it as a vehicle to convey their unique message.
This technique does far more than just serve as an interesting opener – it makes your content memorable, imbuing it with deeper meaning, and sticks to your audience like glue. But more than that, it can provide a clear structure and direction for the rest of your content.
So, how can you nail this incredibly powerful technique?
Begin by drawing your audience in with a familiar story or a scenario they could easily envision themselves in. This could be a popular business story, a personal experience you’ve had, or even a reference to history. Once you’ve done this, think about the lessons you can draw from the story to effectively drive your point home.
Here’s a classic example of how to harness the rule of the familiar from Dan Bradbury’s Turnover Is Vanity, Profit Is Sanity:
“As I look across the table at Dave, he begins to cry. He’s supposed to cry. He has no idea how this happened.
Dave looks like a broken shell of a man. You can see that he’s ready to crumble under the pressure. He’s about to be made bankrupt; he’ll lose his house, and his wife has no idea. He doesn’t know how to break the news to her; he can barely believe it himself…”
In this introduction, it’s easy for the reader to envision a scenario where they lose everything they’ve worked so hard for. They can feel all of Dave’s emotions: pain, fear, and despair. This sets the stage for the rest of the book and makes the key message even more impactful.
2. Rinse and repeat
Most content creators tend to shy away from repetition – and for good reasons. The last thing you want is to create monotonous content that just repeats the same idea over and over again. However, when done right, repetition can turn even the most vanilla content into something exciting and worthy of note.
Georgia: “Repetition gives your content an anchor. You just have to employ it in a strategic way versus just blindly repeating yourself. So, what might this look like in action? This could mean pulling out a theme or a takeaway and littering your content with that one key sentence.”
In a previous blog post, Use These Songwriting Tips To Create Engaging Content, we explored how the chorus of a song ties everything together. The same principle applies to content creation.
As a business leader, if you can find that ONE thing – a compelling message, a key benefit, or a memorable tagline – that you can repeat over and over for your audience, you’ll make your content even stickier.
3. Get the audience involved
In ancient times, before the era of modern entertainment, people gathered around campfires to share stories and connect with one another. The best storytellers were the ones who could draw their audience into the narrative and elicit a response from them.
Obviously, this is a lot harder to pull off with written content in a digital world. But how can you recreate that same sense of connection and engagement that the ancient storytellers mastered so long ago? How can you draw your audience in and turn them from passive listeners into active, willing participants?
Here’s what Georgia recommends:
Georgia: “Rhetorical questions are a great place to start. You could also get your audience involved by disrupting your own rhythm DELIBERATELY. For instance, if you’ve been telling a story in your book, you could pull your audience out of the story by asking them a question like: ‘What did we learn from Dave? How can you apply this to your own situation?’ And then dive back into the rest of the prose.”
You could also add in tiny checkpoint exercises for your readers or create an opener for further conversation by putting your email address in the CTA. This not only gets them involved in the action but could also serve as an opportunity for you to build a living, breathing community of your own.
Keep sharing your stories with the world
As we always say, everyone has a story inside of them. When we begin to see ourselves as human books, it becomes easier to share those stories and start building meaningful connections.
Hopefully, this blog will encourage and inspire you to start doing more of that.
If you’d love to take the leap and start sharing your stories with the world, our team of experts can help. Book a clarity call today to find out more about how you can harness those ideas and create valuable content for your audience.