Northland, New Zealand

Storyselling: Content and telling narratives about brands

‘Narrative’ and ‘storytelling are being talked about by the marketing world.

Yay! My skillset is finally a buzzword (plus ‘content,’ too – apparently nobody says ‘writing’ anymore. Just ‘content.’)

Yup, this year we’ve seen a rise in organisations wanting to talk to the world by putting out ordered series of events (narratives) and linking each narrative (storytelling).

For people like me, who noticed the elevator doors of journalism closing back around 2012, there was a worry that those of us who’d trained in writing narratives (journalism/reporting) weren’t going to be able to use our skillset. Luckily I also write a lot of books and teach workshops on fiction writing, so there’s hope I can tell stories for a living.

But shouldn’t journalists and fiction writers keep their heads down and be grateful for their $35,000 a year?

Yeah, nah. I’m seeing more and more trained journalists gravitate towards marketing. Here’s what’s happening:

  • Storytellers like myself, trained in journalism and narrative writing, have the ability to take a piece of information, add some human beings to the info, situate that information in time, highlight the conflicts and challenges surrounding the people involved in the announcement, and turn it into a story, often to give information about a brand to the reader. 
  • Storytellers like me are also experts at teasing out the call to action in any story and getting the story optimal for internet consumption
  • Storyteller content writers are handy with a camera, Photoshop, the cloud etc.
  • We’re also big risk-takers. It’s scary to confront powerful people with challenging questions, but that’s where news is mined from. The storyteller-content writer needs to be able to have a good relationship with an interviewee, mine the right material shape it into something fresh and entertaining.

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