Don’t Want to Bore Your Audience? Tell Stories

How often do we as communicators fail to hit the mark in reaching and engaging our audiences?

Communications consultant and IABC Toronto member Donna Papacosta, owner of boutique communications firm, Trafalgar Communications, tackled this issue in a recent IABC webinar, “Telling Stories – Captivate Your Audience.”

“We’re all hard-wired for storytelling,” says the 25-year communications pro, pointing to human culture’s strong oral tradition. 

Papacosta says as communicators, we often are guilty of writing overly long articles that fail to draw a reader in.
According to Papacosta, some hallmarks of compelling content include:

  • Headlines that grab readers (short, direct, specific, ruled by a verb, not too “cute”) 
  • Copy that targets your audience (requires you to think like a reader)
  • Simple language
  • Copy that’s very clear — shorter words are better!
  • Copy that’s relevant, timely, and actionable 
  • Copy that solves a problem, engages, inspires action and even entertains

She says the best way to create compelling content is to tell a story – and stories can be woven into anything, from case studies to news releases, to videos, to internal newsletters. They can even be incorporated into so-called “broccoli topics” – Papacosta’s term for those mundane subjects that communicators have to talk about. She points out that when leaders in an organization share a story, it shows their humanity and builds trust with their audience.

“Look for stories – they are everywhere,” she urges. “Ask your employees and your customers – find ways to add emotion to examples in your communications and they’ll become a story.”
Do you have examples of great storytelling in your communications? Share them here!