Human beings are natural storytellers. From cavemen etching real-life experiences in stone to Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, there is a story inside all of us. The difference between the average person who pens thoughts in a diary and great literary masters resides not in the story, but in the telling. Yes, the “telling.”
With today’s Internet and social media capabilities, many entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the connection between themselves as “author” and potential customer as “reader” in the global marketplace. Some professionals may call this “marketing,” but at its core, we are really storytelling. However, few among us have the natural gifts or formal training to craft a speech like the great civil rights leader or an Ernest Hemingway. But by being cognizant of a few things, we can make our story well told.
1 Story in 7
Christopher Booker, author of “The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories,” explains that at the root of every tale are seven core psychological themes. That may not sound like it has anything to do with getting people to click on your web site or read through your web copy. But his principle is well regarded and he did work on the Jungian-influenced theory for more than three decades. In terms of social media or presenting ideas on your web site, the idea of breaking your story down into one or two basic ideas can help capture the readers imagination and interest. Booker identified themes such as comedy, the quest, rebirth and overcoming among others. If you think about it, most of us remember things that make us laugh, cry or inspire.
Be A Social Media Caveman
With a foundational idea in mind, it’s time to use language and images to strategically underscore the story and make people “feel” a certain way about it. This is the “telling.”
Social media storytelling differs greatly from inspirational speeches and epic novels because your window to connect is quite short. In a platform such as Facebook, you may garner as much as 60 seconds to draw the reader into your story. Quick image-based platforms such as Instagram or Twitter can truncate that window to 6 seconds. So, what does that mean to you as author?
Well, the immediate gratification of social media requires the storyteller to capture the imagination and essence of the story in a powerful, eye-catching fashion. Basically, be the caveman and etch a powerful image.
A Story in Motion, Remains in Motion
The rise of YouTube, streaming platforms and inexpensive video equipment can turn your story into a mini movie of the week. But if you consider how difficult it can be to just pen the words of your story, making a video brings even more levels of tailoring.
Famed “Happy Days” actor and award-winning director Ron Howard recently began an online masterclass about how to direct. In video, the director may not write the script, but they do the “telling.” Howard explains in his trailer that it doesn’t matter how vast the resources, what ends up in the final frame is what matters. When making a video, keep in mind the viewer will only experience the 30-second trailer or infomercial you put online.
We all have a worthwhile story to tell. It’s just a matter of the telling.