Once upon a time there lived a king… His name was Content...

So what differentiates a king from the rest? Since ancient times, we associate kings with their lineage, their kingdom and what they have done to make a difference in the lives of their people and upon the world. We remember kings for a wide variety of reasons -Augustus, Meiji, Alexander, Henry VIII, Leopold II. When you read these names, what did you think of? What makes them memorable? It’s their story!

 

As humans, we love stories. And that’s a fact! Content without a story is like a king without his coat of arms, his kingdom and his heritage – his story! Stories provide content with their identity and an emotional connect to the reader making the content stick.

 

When it comes to storytelling in the digital world, you can choose a wide variety of options from simple narrations to visual storytelling. The power of infographics in today’s digital world cannot be understated. A study conducted by Microsoft has indicated a decline in the attention span of humans to less than 8 seconds, which is less than that of a goldfish! This makes storytelling a critical tool for delivering your message to your audience. Visual stories have a greater probability of being shared, making your content reach the relevant audience being more palatable, stickier and share-worthy.

 

So what makes a good story for your content? Simple stories always work! While humans like stories, we like the real simple ones when the objective is to deliver content. Complex story lines often distract the reader from the core message – the content. Stories deliver your message when we use it as a medium to convey just the one idea.


When you say one thing, you say everything. When you say two things you say nothing.

 

Stories often resonate with the reader when they are able to relate to it. Empathize with your reader.  Put your readers at the center of your story. A good story not just delivers content but also delivers the message of why they need to read this and how this content will make their lives better. Authenticity is key to a good story. Authentic stories contain verified information, attributed to reliable sources. They present expertise over opinions and rhetorics. An authentic story ensures trust and an emotional connect with your readers making them “want” your content.

 

I’m working on a cheat sheet for instructional designers to create great stories for their content. Do you have any tips/pointers to share. Please feel free to put them on the comments section and I’d love to discuss them with you.