It was Douglas Adam’s birthday yesterday and it’s credit to him that even Google recognized his achievements with storytelling that he received his very own Google Doodle.
For those of you who don’t carry a towel with you everywhere you go, Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This was a series of books that when written, were so out of the box and so mad, that they still enjoy a massive following nearly 35 years on from it’s initial launch. The way Adams wrote was almost unheard of back then and even today he’s the most iconic name in Science Fiction Humour.
That’s the power of good storytelling. And it is this storytelling power that can catapult your website into the eyes of anyone you wish. Now I’m not expecting a series of novels, a radio and tv show, or even a feature film, but good storytelling sells.
It’s ingrained into us even from an early age. We’re read bedtime stories, we have libraries and quiet reading time in school etc. It encapsulates us in way few other things do. So why not use this in a way to benefit your website?
To start a story, you have to start well. Typically you have around 30 seconds to ensnare someone’s attention. If I find myself reading the same sentence again and again with the sole thought of “I wonder what language this is in”, then clearly my attention is elsewhere (or I’ve not had a coffee in the last 20 minutes).
So that’s why you need to start your story well. First of all I’d recommend a punchy headline. Something that delivers your subject as well as a healthy dose of excitement. Fail to deliver one or the other and you could end up with a high bounce rate as people find your content exciting but not relevant, or relevant but not exciting.
The opening paragraph has to maintain or exceed the intrigued parties involved otherwise you’ll lose them in the first 30 seconds. Resist the temptation of “Buzz” words as they’re more of a buzz kill these days. If your content is “Amazing” and “Bespoke” and “Unbelievable” then it’s the same as a lot of other content out there.
Use a Thesaurus, read the dictionary, it’ll boost your content writing skills and also your creativity.
In the coming weeks I’ll be covering more about how to elicit excitement from your readers. But for now, DON’T PANIC!