By Marketing Speaker Kirryn Zerna
Stories can be the most powerful tool you have to captivate attention online.
In this digital landscape we are sideswiped with clutter and content each second of the day. The risk is that your online advertising and content creation could be tuned out with all the rest of the clutter.
Stories can be the most powerful tool you have to captivate that attention and cut through the digital noise. Especially when you only have a short window to get noticed.
So why are stories so powerful?
Jonah Berger, in his popular book Contagious, puts it this way: ‘Narratives are inherently more engrossing than basic facts … when you hear people tell a good story you hang on every word.’ He describes stories like vessels – on the outside they captivate your attention ‘but peel back that exterior and you’ll find something hidden inside’. These stories convey information, and importantly they also carry a meaning.
A speaker has come to speak to your team, and after you’ve sat still for 60 minutes you return to your desk and a colleague says, ‘What did she speak about?’
You draw a blank ... and then you remember the stories she told. Oh there was a story about the little girl who liked Vegemite. There was a story about a guy who found the last coin in his bag and it reminded him to never give up on his value. Doug Stevenson in his article ‘Storytelling and Brain Science: This is Your Brain on Story’ said the lesson of the story sticks because it’s embedded in an image. Your brain remembers the image first, and then the emotional context, and then finally the language.
The goal is not only to attract attention and be remembered; it is also to create a connection that translates to greater trust. You want your story to lead towards a pathway to purpose – towards a sale, a solution or a status. Telling stories is one of the fastest ways to build rapport with your audience, either online of offline. Why? It gives the audience a chance to get to know you in a more personal way and forms the basis of an emotional connection, which in turn can lead to trust.
So how do you do it? How do you create small stories that captivate attention while working on a broader metanarrative, that will ultimately lead your audience towards a positive outcome for your business?
Here are three strategies you can try:
First, to focus. Are you clear on Who your customer is? What problems they have? How you help?
Once you have clarity on those things, it’s important to stay on message. Keep weaving in content ideas that relate to what you’re known for, the things that are happening, and how you help your clients.
2. Tell the story of your business with Video
By 2022, video will account for 82 per cent of online traffic. It's highly favoured by social media algorithms and visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared.
Can you become the TV host or guide for your ideal client and explain concepts, answer frequently asked questions, give them a walk-through of your product or service? Tell them about your Why.
Some tips for you to try:
3. Become the written authority
To become an authority on a topic, one must first become an author. Today, 70 per cent of people would rather learn about a brand through an article than an advert.
When you begin to write consistently with a blog it becomes your dedicated broadcast channel – your unfiltered forum to talk about your Why, the benefits of your business and the problems you solve; every aspect of your business. This could be a blog that lives on your own website or you could drop your blog into an eco-system where people already gather – like LinkedIn, Medium.com or others.
It positions you as an expert in an area. The cumulative, consistent effect of your blogs over time is a vital positioning tool to help you get known as an expert in your industry and beyond.
Kirryn Zerna is a keynote speaker, consultant and the author of The Stand Out Effect, an essential handbook for the business owner or leader who wants to make sense of the mystery of social media. She empowers leaders and brands to stand out without selling out in the age of online influence. If you would like to know more about Kirryn CLICK HERE or call us on
1300 55 64 69