When we look at the very best content, it’s about telling a story. From ridiculous but memorable commercials (especially during the Super Bowl) that run like an addictive mini-series, to modern content campaigns that hone in on the user experience. That straight narrative provides the kind of emotional connection that builds a great brand.
Using your website to tell your brand’s story is key to connecting with your audience. It’s your job to take them on the journey with you from the start. Whether it’s educating them on your humble beginnings on the About page or displaying your mission to the world on the homepage, storytelling is the glue that binds your brand and your audience.
There’s a lot more that goes into storytelling than who you are and what you do. It’s all about the execution of telling the right story through the different channels available to you. Your website is just one place. If you look around there are stories being told all around you. On billboards, television, social media, YouTube, and many more. Where you tell your story is just as important as what the story is about.
But for now, we’ll discuss storytelling through your website.
A Good Story
A good story comes down to creating content that is visually stimulating, engaging, and interactive. This is critical to producing high-quality stories that drive action on your website. Creating a good story will make people pay attention and are worth remembering, making your brand more memorable. A good story also answers key questions users are likely to ask before they ask it. Knowing what your users are thinking as they go through your site gives you the opportunity to provide important information the moment they need it. This is how trust starts to develop between you and site users.
User Experience or UX is a great resource for telling better stories on your website. Specialists in this field have the ability to organize websites in a format that provides potential users with great website experience. Their experience on your website tells users a story about you as a brand, whether positive or negative.
For example, what story do you tell yourself about a website that loads slowly? Not a very good one. You’re less likely to purchase anything from a slow website. Not necessarily because it’s taking too long but because you’ve told yourself a negative story about the brand as a whole. “Slow website = slow business/brand” and in this era, slow is just as good as dead.
Websites can benefit from placing storytelling and narrative techniques, thereby creating an emotional connection with the user. Everyone loves a good story, so how can even basic sites incorporate narrative elements that ensure eyes stay on the page a little longer? Here are some basic storytelling elements you can apply to your site:
A good setting is consistent. You wouldn’t understand the setting of a movie with castles and iPhones. The eras are inconsistent. Same with your website. It should have consistent color schemes, tone of voice, and patterns. This is why it’s important to understand your brand values because your website is telling the story of your brand all the time. A great setting captures the audience’s attention and draws them into your reality. Visual design is a key factor in this area.
Defining characters in a story gives users the chance to learn more about the different roles and responsibilities at hand. The same is true with a website. Displaying your team or even just yourself builds trust with users. Characters give purpose to not just the story but also to the users looking to engage with us. They want to know who they’re working with before deciding to work with them.
The plot is the sequence of events that connect the audience to the website and their ultimate goal. A good story is constantly leading you somewhere and never stagnates. Your website has to work the same way. Creating a sitemap is a great way to develop a plot for your site. Keep in mind your users have somewhere to be, an end goal they’re trying to reach. You want to make sure that your website leads to relevant pages that end in some sort of action. Whether it’s to educate them, fill out a contact form, purchasing a product, or giving you a call. Every page on your website must be leading your users to their ultimate goal.
Conflict is all about showing your users that you understand their pain. From their biggest grievances to their smallest challenges, you want to show them that not only do you understand their pain, but you also have the solution. This can be done while describing your services or on a product description page. Highlighting their pain builds trust with users because you’ve demonstrated a clear understanding of their world and how they feel. Everyone loves being understood, so find room on your website to provide that.
Stories that are truthful and inspiring keep the attention of your audience. Never get involved with fabricating false stories. The internet is unforgiving to businesses that don’t keep their brand promises, and this can be fatal to your business. Besides, you don’t have to look far for a backstory to why and how the business was started, how the name came to be or why they are selling a certain product. That’s the story people are interested in. This can be done through the “About” section or maybe through a few mini blog sessions.
Just remember, be honest and authentic. In a world where consumers feel sold and placated to every day, people crave realness now more than ever. Have a deep understanding of your audience, the questions they’ll ask, and how they’ll behave. You’ll be rewarded with leads, traffic, and a solid understanding of how to tell a great story.