How Storytelling Can Be Used To Create More Successful Website Content

3 Ways stories can help create more compelling and memorable content

Pile of books with one open
Pile of books with one open.

"Content is king" is a phrase that will be familiar to anyone who has worked on creating or marketing websites. Ultimately, a website’s content is one of the most important factors in its success. One of the best ways to create content that is compelling and memorable is to use storytelling.

The Value of Stories

Stories resonate with an audience in a way that simple facts and figures do not. When someone hears a story, it activates part of the brain similar to if they were actually experiencing the events of that tale.

Stories also help readers relate to a situation and they encourage them to share that story (and your website content) with others through email, social media, or good old fashioned word of mouth.

Storytelling is an approach I have used on my own website for many years. Rather than write straightforward articles about website design topics, I tell stories about my life, my family, my travels, and my love of the holidays. I use appropriate images to help best convey my story and then relate them to lessons in website design. When I share these articles with others, I absolutely find that I get more attention and feedback on those posts than on ones that do not have a personal story associated with them.

How Can Stories Be Used On Websites?

The example of my own site is just one way that stories can be used effectively as web content. There are a number of other possibilities for stories, many of which are ways to energize common website content staples like customer testimonials or company information.

Customer Testimonials

One of the most commonly found pages on websites is the “testimonials” page.  Interestingly, these pages are also among the least visited on those sites. This is because few people find any real value in random testimonial quotes. There is no context to those quotes, and the general feeling is that many companies simply write their own testimonials to say what they want people to read.

A better way to present customer testimonials is to tie it into a story. If you present a compelling look at what your company did for a customer, including what the challenges were and how you met those challenges, then any accompanying quote will be that much more powerful and the content itself more successful. This is because there is now context for that praise, which makes it much more likely that people will believe what they are reading.

About Your Company and People

Another ideal place on your website to use a storytelling approach is with the pages that are “about your company.” This content is tailor-made to tell your company’s story and put a personal spin on the organization.

The people that work for your company can also tell their stories on the website. This is what my own company does on the page for “Our People.” Each employee’s individual page includes a candid photo of them along with some information about their hobbies, likes, and even an interesting fact or story. Our customers routinely reference these stories when they meet with our team members and this content often serves as a perfect ice-breaker with new customers, especially when they can find common interests with the people whom they are meeting.

Your Company’s Impact

One final example of using stories on a website is to communicate your organization’s impact. This is similar to customer testimonials, but it is much broader. You can create articles on how the company impacts your customers, but also your employees, your community, or your industry as a whole.

The accounting and business consulting firm, KLR, does an excellent job of using stories to illustrate their impact on those around them. Large, striking images accompany short stories that as so much more powerful than a press release could ever be. These stories add richness to the company and show the many sides of their unique organization.

Think About Your Content

These examples are just a few of the ways that you can integrate storytelling into your website. Depending on the kind of company you are and the type of website you have, there may be a variety of different ways that stories could be used effectively throughout that site.

Think about your unique angle and experiment with different ideas to see what would work best for you.

Regardless of what you decide, some tips to be mindful to ensure your stories are ready for your readers include:

  • Write stories that quickly draw readers in and encourages them to read more
  • Be mindful of story length. Get to the point with quick, powerful reads that will not overwhelm visitors
  • Make sure the content is easy to read with quality typographic design
  • Ensure that these stories, and all your website content, works well on a variety of screen sizes and devices
  • Optimize images and pages for the best possible download performance and quick loading

Edited by Jeremy Girard on 1/24/17