Content Creation vs. Storytelling

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Why Aren't People Interacting with My Social Media Posts?

Good Writing and Good Storytelling are Not One in the Same

Why aren't they sharing my pictures? What does Company X have that my company is lacking? If you find yourself asking these questions, you're far from alone. A lot of businesses in the Hampton Roads areas that we meet with face the same questions. Mastering the art of turning an ordinary bit of information into an interesting story is not always as straightforward as it sounds. In this day and age, you're not only competing within your own industry for business, but competing with other industries, causes, and individuals for the attention of a large, shared audience. So what's the answer?

Stop Stating Cold, Hard Facts

I'm not saying to lie, or even to fudge the truth. What I mean is that too many companies create content simply by stating facts and maybe attaching a relevant picture to those facts. They then wonder why people aren't interacting. You have to put yourself into the shoes of an average Joe. Not an average person in your industry, not an average person in sales, marketing, or management of any industry... But an average Joe that may or may not have any knowledge of your specific industry. One of the most common areas where content creators struggle with this concept is in professional services (doctors, lawyers, etc.). It can be very difficult to glamorize content that is, in and of itself, very straightforward. The trick is to focus not on the information, but on how it might apply to our good ol' average Joe.

Don't Write...Tell a Story

If you focus too heavily on structure and accuracy, it's easy to lose the story. The best piece of advice I can offer for getting started with content creation is just to let the pen (or your fingers on the keyboard) flow. In the very early stages, it's perfectly okay to not have an exact direction. Think of a big, general subject, and just start writing. Think of it as a brainstorming session. Leave the graphs and charts out, though. In the infancy of your content creation, rigid structure can steal your story-telling thunder. When you begin this free-flowing brainstorming session, be sure to choose a topic that you know and care about. As you write, you will often find a direction naturally.Make it Relate-able

Now that you've got a direction for your content, STOP! Okay, don't stop altogether, but don't get ahead of yourself. This is where a lot of content-creation takes a turn for the booorrrrriiiinnnnnggggg. Many of us who work all day, every day in our respective fields can be tempted to spew nothing but facts and statistics, because this is how we measure our own efficacy. Your average reader will often be more interested in the following than they will in the writer's measures of personal success.

a) Entertainment
This is one of the best ways to encourage engagement. People deal with enough negativity every day. Pushing your content in a lighthearted, amusing direction will almost always up readership and engagement.

b) Help or Encouragement
Problems, problems, everywhere. People want solutions! More than that, they want solutions that they can understand and achieve. Are you a home restoration expert? Give people some awesome DIY tips and hacks! Are you a doctor? Offer encouraging success stories about people turning their health and lives around for the better. We know you're an expert at what you do. You don't have to blind people with the science behind what makes you an expert. Instead, use that expertise to help people in small ways. This is not only good for interaction, but it's great for trust and client relationship-building. If your content is useful to your audience, then it is also valuable to them.

c) Be Relate-able ("I'm NOT alone in this!")
This is arguably the most important facet of good, quality content creation. Technical terms and industry-specific jargon is all well and good when it comes to communicating ideas with colleagues, but what good is it to the consumer? This is truly where story-telling comes into play. You can take your idea that you got in your brainstorming session, and focus down it into a story (real or hypothetical). Concentrate on showing the audience how the person in your story could easily be them!

To Sum it All Up...

Writing true, relevant, correct content is important. So important, that people often sacrifice the social aspect in order to clearly attain those qualities. Don't be a part of that content-writing crowd. At the end of your piece of content...Whether it's a blog, a short post, or an image description...Think to yourself, "If I came across this in my news feed, would I stop and interact?"