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The All-Encompassing Guide to Storytelling in the Modern Era

From a lifestyle perspective, almost everybody has an itch at some time during their life to creatively connect with others.  One of the best ways to do this is through storytelling.  Stories are one of the most ancient forms of entertainment.  They serve not only to entertain, but to teach.   In today’s world, storytelling is becoming more important in marketing yourself or your brand.  If you can’t creatively sell yourself, you aren’t going to make it very far.  This guide examines some ways to tell stories in the modern era, so you can be successful in your personal and professional life.

The Storytelling Process

Whether you are trying to story tell for your personal enjoyment and that of your progeny or if you are trying to capitalize on the freedom of the internet, you need to understand the storytelling process.

Adele is one of the most popular and influential musicians of the modern era because of the authenticity of her music.  You can feel the pain in her voice when she sings about heartbreak and it takes you into the story with her.  She is selling her authentic self.  People can sniff out a fraud any day of the week.  To story tell you must speak from within your own voice.

Understanding Story Composition

Understanding how stories are framed is important to understanding how you can effectively connect to other people through stories.  There are lots of things to take into consideration.  Here are a few:

  1. Context is one of the most important things with storytelling. Understanding the setting and previous developments in someone’s life influences how you’ll perceive their story.  As an example, Nike has a history of being bold and taking risks with signing clients who are edgy.  They signed Michael Jordan as the first black athlete to ever sign with a major apparel company.  Given this context, their advertising can rely heavily on edge and trendiness.  Contrast this with the classier and more straightforward Adidas brand and you’ll understand that if they put out the same advertisement as Nike it wouldn’t be as effective considering their context.
  2. Conflict-Every person and every company has a point of conflict in their life. When people can see that conflict and how you dealt with it, they are much more likely to connect with your story.  A reason Tom’s is a successful shoe company is that they had a conflict with people not having shoes and now they donate a pair to Africans for every pair you buy.
  3. Resolution is the end result of everything. The story you are telling is a result of the sum of your past.  When people look at your company, they take into consideration past experiences they’ve had with the company as well as the history of that company.

Storytelling for the Online Entrepreneur

Social Media as a Storytelling Mechanism
One of the best mechanisms to get a story out now is social media.  People all around the world are capitalizing on this.  For some, their social media account is their life story (or at least the best parts of their life story).  Although many know this, what many don’t know is that each social media platform is a different way to tell a story.  Below are some comparisons of the most popular platforms and how you should utilize each to tell your brand’s story.

Facebook: Facebook is the overarching storytelling platform.  Advertisers tell a story on Facebook and most advertisements are around a minute long.

Instagram: Instagram is a storytelling platform, but only through the use of images.  Most people don’t even read captions under the image.  If you want to tell the best story on Instagram, you should put text in your images.

YouTube: YouTube can be the best way to tell your story as video has the capacity to be more encompassing than pictures.  If a picture tells a thousand words than video tells a thousand pictures (or at least 24 frames per second worth of pictures).

Twitter: Twitter is much less of a story telling platform and more of a snippet platform.  People who can relate snippets of what is going on in pop culture and relate it back to their company do the best on Twitter.

Pinterest:  Pinterest can’t be used for every company.  If you are a more product than service driven company and you can find some way to glam up your product than you can find success on here.

These social media platforms are crucial to getting your company’s story out there.  People don’t click on banner ads or email advertisements anymore.

Storytelling for the General Enthusiast

Many people don’t know how to start a writing habit.  That is maybe the hardest part.  If you can get past the initial writing block and find an enjoyable way to write you’ll find great joy in writing.  Here are some enjoyable ways people are telling their story currently.

Scrapbooking Is Dead, Use a Photography Blog Instead
It might be sad for some, but arts and crafts stores are slowly closing more and more frequently.  There seems to be digital scrapbooking apps and more digitized ways of expressing yourself.  Although nothing can replace a physical scrapbook, it is no longer the best way to tell the story of yourself or your family.  For around $100 a year, you can host a professional website blog where you have all your pictures and memories.  Better yet, there are many free ways to start a blog.  Starting a photography blog is a great way to get your story out.  You can blog back and forth with friends and family or even get a following going.   Blogging for photographers has become really big.  Many world travelers pay for their funds exclusively by traveling around the world and documenting their story.

Writing a Book
It seems like people are only getting more and more idealistic these days.  Writing a book is one of the most creative ways to express yourself.  You can interweave your experiences into a fictional story or go more non-fictional with a biography.  Either way, expect to put in a lot of time.  Some of the best writers had no formal background in writing.  Some people are very gifted at writing naturally.  Before you get started though, you might want to investigate having an app that helps you automate some of the process.  Finding the best book writing software will make the writing process way more enjoyable because writing a book can be a very tedious process.

In conclusion, a basic need for humans is to connect with others through stories.  Whether you story tell personally or through company advertising, you will find great satisfaction with connecting through stories.  Understanding the important parts of storytelling will help this aim.  As an advertiser, knowing different social media platforms is the way to story tell.  People want to know your company before they buy from you.  As a hobbyist, photography blogs are a great way to have a digital scrapbook for you and your family to enjoy.  Additionally, if you feel an even more creative buzz than it remains very possible to write a book in the modern era.

Tyler Dahl

Tyler Dahl

Tyler Dahl is a freelance writer and interior designer who has been writing for various design websites including interior design and graphic design for the last couple of years. In his free time, he loves spending time with his family and going camping.

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