Storytelling techniques are actively used in web copywriting these days for advertising purposes.
These techniques allow to create texts that help to sell Internet users products or services without being too obvious. What do we mean by storytelling techniques? How exactly can these techniques be used in creation of texts for websites? The experts of WebStudio2U will answer these questions in the following article.
Storytelling in a broad sense is the conveying of events in words. It has been used in every culture as a means of education, cultural preservation, instilling moral values, and entertainment. Centuries ago stories were the main means of passing knowledge and experience from generation to generation, good storytellers enjoyed great honor and respect in their community. Later people began to use storytelling for gaining other people's trust. However, storytelling as a web copywriting technique has started to be used only recently.
Storytelling techniques can be used in web copywriting for creating texts about companies, describing examples of works in portfolio, writing news and press releases, etc. Copywriters are usually not required to present the entire text as story; in most cases it is enough to insert a small story into a larger text in order to increase its overall efficiency in influencing the target audience.
As a rule, the type of a story you need to use depends on the target audience it is intended for. Some Internet users like emotional stories, some prefer funny fairy tales, or mysterious detective stories, or instructive fables and parables etc. However, any story irrespective of its type has several distinctive features that allow to distinguish it from simple presentation of facts:
- the main character;
- an intrigue;
- a plot.
The main character (the protagonist) of your story must be as close to the target audience of your site as possible, otherwise site visitors will not be able to empathize with them and to identify themselves with the main character. The protagonist helps storytelling to perform one of its main tasks, i. e. to make readers imagine that they are direct participants of the story.
Your story must also contain an intrigue that will help it to capture and hold the attention of the audience. It will make site visitors read the story from beginning to end impatiently in order to learn how the story ends. However, one should remember that the intrigue must not be too overextended, otherwise visitors will not be patient enough to read the story up to the end.
Every story must have a plot, which is usually defined as the events that make up a story. A classical plot consists of the following phases: exposition, inciting incident, rising action, conflict, climax, falling action, and denouement. Sometimes skilled storytellers use other types of plot building in order to achieve a specific effect. However, inexperienced writers should not use non-standard plot structure, because they can rarely make it work.
The key success factors of storytelling techniques in web copywriting are the sincerity of the story you tell, its preciseness and minuteness. The story you write must also be compelling and memorable, otherwise the target audience will not find it credible enough. It means that the story will not achieve its goals.
In contrast to advertising texts, stories do not impose or offer anything: after reading a “right” story readers will draw necessary conclusions themselves and will want to purchase the product or order the service it describes. This is the main peculiarity of storytelling: its subtly prompts rather that aggressively sells.
Though storytelling techniques have a considerable number of advantages, one should remember that they must be used in the right place and in the right time, just like any other non-conventional web copywriting technique. For example, storytelling will be inappropriate when readers need detailed and clearly stated information (on the product pages, pages that describe payment and delivery terms etc.).