Technology is reinventing and democratizing storytelling. According to one forecast, the number of global smartphone users is expected to be 2.1 billion as of the end of 2016. In other words, anyone from anywhere in the world can easily pick up a device and craft a story through video or text.
As the barriers to publishing high-quality content become lower, the digital landscape is now saturated with more information than human beings have the brain spans to process. That’s where timeless principles of storytelling enter the picture: it’s not about how perfect your videography or what color you’re assigning to your call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Your brand needs to provide a compelling and human reading experience—which means striking a cord with the audiences that you’re aiming to reach.
But how do you make sure that you’re forging the right connection with a potential stranger that you may not ever meet, on the other side of the computer screen?
Follow this simple set of steps to build a closer rapport with your audiences through storytelling:
Step 1: Read What Your Audiences Are Reading
Get inside their minds. Understand their pain points. See how they communicate with one another. Understand what questions they’re asking and why. One way to get started is to browse the blogs and communities that they’re already a part of. What’s trending? What’s popular? What are some gaps that might be missing in existing discussions? Where can your company or storytelling team add additional value? Make a habit to spend more time in your audience’s circles. Come up with a new slant on popular or trending topics.
Step 2: Use Technology to Research Your Personas
Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and data mining technology, you can learn more about your audiences through non-manual outreach. You can use tools to understand better what language and communication styles will make an impact with your audience. Some resources to consider:
* Crystal Knows: This social media research tool provides personality insights for every individual you are aiming to reach. Enter the name of anyone—perhaps someone who represents your target persona—and learn about this individual’s personality. Tailor your communication style accordingly.
* Sharethrough’s headline optimizer: Sharethrough, a provider of native advertising solutions, has developed technology that predicts whether a headline is enticing to click. Use this tool if you’re looking to reach a wide consumer base.
Step 3: Source Feedback Before Publishing
Every blog post that you write creates a touchpoint with your target audience. Before publishing, get feedback from your target audiences. Aim to understand potential sources of confusion. Learn where your readers are trailing off.
The best way to source feedback?
Talk to your peers, colleagues, or mentors. Ask for 15 minutes to gather gut reactions. Figure out what steps you can take to publish a more powerful piece.
Remember that storytelling is a timeless discipline. Technology enables relationship-building at scale. But the power behind your brand communication will come from the narratives you tell. Be creative. Be bold. Introduce your audiences to out-of-the-box ideas.