Storytelling in content: What does it really mean?

With a tag-line like ‘stories worth sharing’ you’d think we know a two about storytelling. And we do. At Locomedia, our passion is finding engaging and compelling ways to produce content – whether that’s an article, a press release or a 140-character tweet. And we do it really well because we use storytelling.

But what does storytelling mean?

Not unlike a tale told over a pint at the pub, storytelling means sharing with an audience an experience that moves them. And when an audience is moved, it actually alters their brain chemistry.

“Stories are powerful because they transport us into other people’s worlds and change the way our brains work and potentially change our brain chemistry,” says Paul Zaks in this interview with

Zak, a neuro-economics researcher, has found that highly engaging stories elicit powerful emphatic responses by triggering the release of oxytocin, or the ‘trust hormone’.

So whether people moved to laugh, cry, wince or scream – it all counts towards powerful storytelling. But in in the content creation business, we want to move them buy.

Storytelling has become the buzzword of the marketing world. And that’s because the emotional potential Zak explains gives stories the power to achieve many of the goals content writers strive for – creating trust, building credibility and being remembered.

“People remember what they care about and bond with. When you engage listeners in a powerful, entertaining, and informative story, they remember it, and many times they ask for more,” says marketing consultant Al Lautenslager in Entrepreneur.

So what makes a good story? Look no further than the tried and true method used in a lot of kids' storybooks. Audiences (young and old) want a hero, a climax and a take-home message. But most important of all, they want the story to be real.

“Storytelling is the perfect platform to let your brand’s personality shine through. Not by selling, but via the stories you tell,” says Steve Olenski in Forbes. “Just remember your customers want to see and experience your brand’s personality. Ensure the brand is intrinsically linked to the story’s message.”

The danger in storytelling is letting the tale run away from the brand. Sometimes a story is so good the message is lost. Content creators have to strike a fine balance between creating a message that people can get swept up in, but stays true to the heart and soul of the brand.

They also have to remember to keep their target in mind. If the story isn’t crafted to resonate with a specific audience, it is likely to miss that market altogether. Content creators should always write with the perspective of the customer in mind.

Need an example? Think of the fitness industry. Rarely do these content creators push their equipment or services. Instead, they focus on the fitness journey – or the story – of their brand.

“We know staying fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is hard for most people, so we inspire our readers and clients with stories,” Terry Moncada of GymJunkies tells Olenski in Forbes.

“Stories of ordinary people who broke bad habits in extraordinary ways, stories of how we also sometimes feel too lazy or too busy to go to the gym. We don’t have a problem with being vulnerable and it touches our readers emotionally and kicks them into action."

And what's great about storytelling is you can use it to kicking audiences into action on nearly every platform. It works in articles, blogs, press releases and social media content. Just think of the meteoric rise of Instagram, where every picture tells a story. 

The possibilities are truly endless. And now you know why we're always asking, "How can we tell your story?"