Why bother telling stories?

We talk a lot about telling stories, but maybe you’re not sure why. After all, isn’t storytelling just a rewording of simple facts?

Yes, it is. But by communicating through stories, people not only remember facts better, they’re compelled to take action.

We believe – and research backs up – that there’s nothing more powerful than storytelling as a tool to communicate with others. With a little creativity and plenty of empathy, you can show the difference your organization makes in real people’s lives. People who have names. And faces. And feelings. That is the way you increase your impact and draw people in to follow and support your work.

What catches your attention?

Ask yourself honestly: When was the last time you gave to an organization or cause based on a statistic? 

  • Do numbers actually affect you?
  • Do they make you take action?
  • Or do you usually whiz past them to get to something more engaging?

Most of us look for content that’s more words based than numbers based. 

Forbes.com puts it this way: “Quoting numbers is easy. But knowledge of numbers doesn’t change behavior – not even your own. Information informs, but decisions come from somewhere else.”

In a word full of people with short attention spans – not to mention the thousands of ads and messages the average person encounters daily – providing content that feels real truly matters.

Face the facts

Not only do fractions and percentages bore most people (sorry math fans), they often garner less attention on social media. And social media is a nearly non-negotiable marketing channel today. Luckily, it might not take as much as you think to start seeing more likes, comments, and shares on your posts.

You may know that photos with people in them actually perform better than any other type of image. In fact, photos with faces typically bring nearly 40% more likes on social media than those without. But is it any wonder? 

As social beings, humans crave connection and to relate to others, and that need can be satisfied in a number of ways, including – to some extent – through virtual means. 

Adding a human element to your brand will almost definitely result in better engagement. And without a face behind the numbers, the majority of people simply won’t notice your message, much less connect with it.

Let us be clear

Statistics do have their place. Without them, we’d have no way to let people know that “What Jenny went through affects 10,000+ other people every month in your city.” or that “Despite Leilah’s success, 1 out of 5 people who dealt with [her struggle] don’t graduate high school”.

By using statistics in the context of a story, you can make a bigger impact on your readers than plain old numbers ever could.

But in the end, what matters most is providing

  1. authentic content
  2. that’s true to your brand and
  3. makes people feel something.

That strategy, more than anything, will bring you good results, so whether your marketing plan – and budget – includes a little or a lot, your organization will benefit from telling stories.