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Why You Need Long-form Storytelling to Become a Thought Leader

This is a preview/snippet from our piece: Without Long-form Storytelling, You Will Never be a Thought Leader.

Thought leadership, within the context of content marketing, exists to change and influence perspective. This is also why stories exist – and humans thrive on stories.

Anecdotes fuel conversation. Great dramatic arcs are the reason why hours and hours are spent binging on television shows. The winding and weaving plotlines of podcast Serial reeled in legions of fans episode after episode, and its success has inspired countless others to pick up a microphone and share new stories.

The power of storytelling can be harnessed and applied to thought leadership content by incorporating narrative devices to:

  • Articulate new paradigms and possibilities
  • Showcase a breadth of knowledge and expertise
  • Present original research and data in a palatable format
  • Connect with target customers on a personal and emotional level
  • Build long-term, trusting relationships with existing and prospective customers
  • Differentiate from the competition and rise above

How Storytelling Supercharges Content

Our collective shortened attention spans (in millennials, in particular) actually means that people are better at quickly determining what content they care about, what to spend time on and what to abandon – and people care about good stories. For proof, look to the most popular journalism properties today docu-series from Serial, VICE and HBO all produce lengthy, in-depth stories that enrapture their audiences for hours and hours.

A well-crafted story is timeless. A narrative that is focused on a point of view, a new idea or a person doesn’t have to be tied to an event, a trend or a product launch. A great story published in January is still a great story in October. This provides increased visibility and more opportunities for target customers to find and engage with the content over a longer period of time.

The foundation of effective thought leadership is built upon sharing content that is so in-depth and informative that it influences how your target customer perceives and thinks about a topic. This is extremely difficult to accomplish in short spurts of content and without a format that can capture and keep the attention of an audience.

There is a science to storytelling and its effect on readers. Humans are hardwired to remember stories, making storytelling an exceptional vehicle for disseminating thought leadership. When a reader listens to or reads a story that elicits an emotionally charged response (as all good stories do) like humour, joy or sadness, dopamine is released by the brain making it easier to remember the story with great accuracy. Science rules!

For more about long-form storytelling and thought leadership, read this.

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