There’s a lot of corporate interest in storytelling. It’s not surprising – social media has opened up a two-way conversation around content and following that comes the need to do something compelling with the content. Added to that, we have easy access to great content, be it audio, written word, images, film and so on.

Pushing, or just plain broadcasting, dull content won’t cut it with users who are able to do so much more with it – share, recommend and compliment if it is good or ignore, criticise or complain if it is bad.

What content is for has changed and continues to change – something marketeers are getting their heads around with the advent of content marketing.

Organisations now have the opportunity to tell their stories in much more compelling ways. They can use social tools to create and co-create stories, to listen, respond, adapt. There is so much information at our finger tips so there is no end of material to use and share.

Storytellers no longer have to be comms, marketing or PR professionals. Technology means anyone in the business can tell their story (check out this story I co-created using very basic tech – it really is that simple).

But, how good are we at telling stories? Probably not that good. Why should we be – ‘messaging’ from organisations has historically been very controlled. How we have told stories has been formulaic and tightly managed with the emphasis on getting information across we think is interesting rather than hooking people in with some eye-catching and compelling content we know will appeal to them.

Historically, the most interesting company stories have been written by journalists, much to the distress of most companies as they have tended not to be positive.

But this is changing. Stories provide organisations with a chance to present themselves in a more interesting and persuasive way – this post provides an excellent overview of the key factors in making a story persuasive.

The science behind the persuasive powers of stories is covered in this post by Jonathan Gottschall, who has also written the book The Storytelling Animal.

I’ll leave the final words to Gottschall . . .

Until recently we’ve only been able to speculate about story’s persuasive effects. But over the last several decades psychology has begun a serious study of how story affects the human mind. Results repeatedly show that our attitudes, fears, hopes, and values are strongly influenced by story. In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than writing that is specifically designed to persuade through argument and evidence.