Storytelling and its Importance in Websites
Storytelling matters in business. Whether you are tapping into the emotional experience of a brand, or connecting with your audience.
Storytelling matters when it comes to all aspects of a business. Whether you are tapping into users emotional experience of a brand, conveying a critical message to your target audience or if you want to increase user retention on your website, storytelling can assist you in achieving your goals.
A few facts and an active case-study to inspire effective storytelling
When used correctly, storytelling can influence users to remember your content. Cognitive psychologist, Jerome Bruner found that individuals are 22 times more inclined to memorise a fact when it has been enclosed in a story.
When a user lands on your webpage, you have less than half a minute to captivate their attention. Stories can be entertaining and increase user retention.
While many individuals are logical thinkers, it is true that all humans are emotional creatures, appealing to emotion increases the power of your message.
GrooveHQ is a team focused on creating simple help desk software. In a recent experiment, they found that by including storytelling, they increased the number of people reading a full article on their site by 300%, and found that the average time spent on the page increased to 520%.
Those are no statistics to be ignored, storytelling in business is crucial to creating deep, meaningful connections with your audience.
How to apply storytelling to your business
To get started with storytelling and your business, we recommend -
- Defining your story
- Breaking down your story
- Keeping a consistent brand tone of voice
- Sharing it with the world
Define Your Story
All companies and brands have a story, from concept to execution, there is a story to tell in how a company was born and why it was created in the first place.
What problems are being solved? Why are they being solved?
Get involved with the key stakeholders of the company, employees that have been with the company for large periods of time or even better, those who have been there since the start of a company.
Clearly define your company story and focus on how it can be effectively communicated to your customer base.
Take one of our case studies for example.
We collaborated with 'The Friends Of Town Quay Park' on their new website, where we had a strong focus in design and development around the rich heritage the park held.
The storytelling creates emotional investment for the readers and establishes a meaningful connection between the reader and the park committee.
Not only that but it helped inform what content could be used in the design of the website.
Break Down Your Story
Most books are made up of chapters; these chapters clearly define sections of content for the reader. The same rules should apply when sharing a story with your readers, focus on milestones that you can break your brand story up.
'The Friends of Town Quay Park' use historical years to group portions of their heritage, creating a clear path to lead a user down in chronological section breaks.
Don’t overload your users with information, instead guide them through the story with beautiful transitions that relate to the brand guidelines and tone of the story.
On pages of ‘The Friends of Town Quay Park’ website, we have the option to include fading-in animations to story imagery based on the users scroll position.
This smooth fade removes cognitive overload, without having a low-quality template feel to it.
The animations are elegant and ease-in to compliment the rich content of the page.
When telling your story, ensure that the tone of the story follows that of the current brand's guidelines. Using a casual tone of voice in your story, when the rest of your brand is formal may be confusing for users.
On the other hand, if your brand is relaxed and playful, be sure to display those characteristics in the message of the story. Why is Company X playful? What decisions were made in the formation of the company that led to this tone?
If a tone of voice hasn't been considered for your brand, then you may want to focus on that before generating any content for your brand. Read our recommended article on defining the tone of voice for your company.
'The Friends of Town Quay Park' are a sophisticated organisation and do not use slang, comedy or informal text in their products or marketing. This tone must be consistent with their storytelling and therefore a formal, informative approach was taken with the telling of the park's history.
Share your story with the world
Now for the fun part!
After you've clearly defined your story, with a consistent tone of voice, you can now share your story with the world.
Most brands will opt-in for the conventional approach of including a brief summary of the 'chapters' within their story on their 'About Us' page.
Going one step further
We highly recommend including your story via an about page, but we also advise on taking it a step further to stand out from the crowd.
Having a parent page for the overview of your story is important, but it's also worth experimenting with including full chapters of your story as individual blog posts.
Including signposts from the parent page to the blog posts is a wonderful way to include inbound links on your site and increase user retention for your site.
For example, 'The Friends of Town Quay Park' can describe how the 20th century affected the park in detail as a blog post, with the parent page containing a brief overview of the blog post content, with a 'read more about the 20th century and the park' linking to the blog post from the parent page.