What You Should Know About Emotion And Business Storytelling
Think about a story that you can recall in a heartbeat.
It can be anything, from your most cherished fiction book to an amazing real life experience you had.
What that story is doesn’t really matter—what it makes you feel does.
It hits an emotion and is effortless to recall. You feel happiness or joy, sadness or anger, or maybe a mixture.
What’s this got to do with your business content? Everything.
Emotion in storytelling doesn’t just help us travel through content, it fills a need inside us.
Something that captures our interest on a primal level.
The most engaging articles or blog posts you read online do this on a regular basis. And a big reason why is because emotional resonance plays a wonderful part in making things memorable.
Why is emotion a big deal in business storytelling?
It activates more of a reader’s brain
What you say and how you say is important.
Research has shown that storytelling breathes life into a host of different areas inside the brain, cutting across language, visual, and sensation.
We use more neurons, and have larger neural activity, because when we committed to a story we’re immersed in it.
When you include emotion as part of your storytelling, you hit more spaces inside the brain.
As a copywriter, I know the choice of words and where they’re positioned on a client’s website or email can generate a connection (or conversion) from their customer.
Words are awesome tools in digital marketing, and putting them in the right way attracts a particular audience.
In the end, your choice of words affects people’s emotional response to your copy.
And emotional responses to stories lead to better memory recall of them as well as their subject. How can that not help your business content writing?
A good example of business content and storytelling coming together is To Work or Play, a website created by four women living and working in London.
They give you two content path options, Work or Play, and those pages open up to beautifully written (and frank) discussions about freelance work, advertising, mental health, cancer treatment, and lifestyle.
They even do reviews on hotels, bars and restaurants, and interview successful small business women and men.
They put feeling into their content writing, making you identify with someone, making you relate to another person, in a complicated world.
Being genuine in an emotion can bring you amazing people, responding to the way you write and speak in your content.
An obvious caveat here is you’ve got to be genuine. When you aren’t, and you’re found out, a massive shit storm can damage your business brand. Short answer, keep it real.
It threads something tangible in your content
Content writing is a conversation you’re having with a specific person or people.
And there’s a lot of white noise content out there, in any industry. So if you’ve only got a couple of sentences to grab someone’s attention, then being interesting is one way to capture them.
When you thread some feeling into the stuff you write or stories you tell, especially if you’re open and transparent, people take notice.
Being vulnerable about your emotion isn’t a weakness, it conveys an assuredness to others.
Sharing emotion inside what you write can put your reader at ease, and even have them trust you more. It shows them that you’re flawed and fascinating just like the rest of us.
Zen Habits Blogger, Leo Babauta, has a website discussing mindfulness, business and personal relationships through a minimalist prism.
Leo’s content goes deep into the areas of stripping back our overloaded lifestyles, from technology right through to time management, and he weaves a consistent warmth throughout his posts, podcasts and emails.
He puts forward his perspective on things as an antidote to our consumptive routines. It’s not for everybody, nor is it trying to be, but he’s got over two million subscribers taking up his content.
The emotive strengths of his content, of conscientiousness, purpose and gratitude, delivers a value to that massive audience.
It’s feeling with information
In the end, putting out data and facts is still essential for good content. But when data is presented as just straight information you can find it difficult to connect with an audience.
Why? Because you’ve given no story or emotion to the presentation of that data.
People can unpack facts and figures given to them but only when there’s something to hook that information on.
Research done by Karin Wahl-Jorgenson about Pulitzer prize-winning journalism and where storytelling fits inside the news world, found that what distinguishes a Pulitzer prized story is not only their journalistic work but their use of emotional storytelling as well.
To paraphrase the article, a story’s use of the anecdotal lead would highlight ‘a subject or person affected by the socio-economic implications’ of the issues discussed in the article.
Data or facts on their own do not engage enough of an audience’s minds. Emotional relevance and storytelling does.
You can apply this to business blogging and content marketing.
His posts tackle many topics but what makes them good are the simple emotions he conveys through them.
Whether he’s talking about growing a business through a blog or dealing with depression, Noah nails down the way he’s feeling on a subject and communicates that in his storytelling.
He recently talked about his experience of walking out on a Tony Robbins conference, and the reasons why he made that decision.
There’s an honesty to what he writes and his audience understands this.
It engages the right people
You want the best people coming to your website or social media pages because of how you write your content.
Being trustworthy through your writing style, being distinctly ‘you’ as apart from duplicating another’s business voice, helps ramp up your social gravity with the people you want to work with.
How I write hopefully defines my voice and lets readers know where they stand with me.
Emotion and how I use it within my content also helps uncover more of my target audience.
If people like what I produce then they’re more likely to engage me and my services. They have a picture of my business, and my content, so are closer to making that decision on taking the next step, i.e. growing a relationship and doing business with me.
A good example is Nerd Fitness, targeting people with desk jobs who loved alternative (and geeky) passions but weren’t happy with the fitness options out there for them.
Founder Steve Kamb created Nerd Fitness because there was no support for people like him wanting to get active without social pressures.
Their website content uses a unique style of storytelling, emotion and collaboration to capture a niche audience.
That feeling of being supported through a fitness journey when you’re not a gym junkie or sports mad person, is where this community stands clear of everyone else.
Every business has some key emotions.
No, you don’t need to be the extremes, either over the top or cold and distant. You need to employ emotion the way you and your business truly are.
Emotion and storytelling are such phenomenal partners together. The momentum they achieve working as a team makes content difficult to forget.
When you use emotion in business storytelling right, it makes the good become remarkable.
What are the stories in your business life that you can easily recall and tell people? What makes them so powerful?
You want to tell your own business story brilliantly but don’t have the time – say hello here – and we’ll talk about how to tell it amazingly.