How to write an engaging story

Friday, January 16, 2015

We all tell stories, whether we realise it or not - it's how we pass on wisdom and knowledge. A great storyteller creates a lasting connection between their story and audience. Here are 3 simple tips for writing stories that people connect with.

Choosing the right words for a story is about understanding who’s listening. Who are you telling your story to? Why is it relevant to them?

Keeping your audience in mind when you write a video script is the key to engaging them with the story.

Here are 3 simple tips to help you tell your story. This advice is inspired by a number of great articles about engaging writing - follow the links at the bottom of the post for more inspiration.

1) Use everyday words

Choose words that your listeners use every day. Replace jargon with everyday equivalents and choose shorter alternatives to long words. You'll increase the number of people who want to gather, listen and retell your story - and that's a good thing.

Use contractions such as you're, we've, and it's - this is how we speak. Informality gives your voiceover a natural, honest feel.

CYW Headphones use we've, you'd and we're in the informal script for their instructional video.

2) Be conversational

Imagine that you’re telling your story to just one person, a loved one for example. Write as if you were speaking directly to them and them only. Conversations are two-way, so ask questions throughout - even if you answer them yourself.

And take your time - pauses in your script enhance the natural feel of the voiceover and give your listener time to take in what you've just said.

Fly the Plane by Applied Industrial Technologies contains 3 questions and 1 invitation for viewers to 'imagine' themselves in a particular situation.

3) Respect your listeners

There's a big difference between telling a story and making a sales pitch. If your story is about how you help customers overcome hurdles, show clearly how you do it. This means you don't talk about how great you are - you show how happy your customers are instead.

Start sentences with you and your instead of I or we. Resist the temptation to use superlatives about yourself - they damage credibility and trust. If your story is clear enough, you won't need them.

Paper Street's scribe focuses almost exclusively on why they're useful to their 2 main audiences - small businesses and lenders.

Read more about how to engage people with words:


The Seven Pillars of Storytelling

Audiences are tired of facts and figures. But stories? We’re hardwired to see stories as a gift.

Download your free ebook and become a master storyteller.

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