emotional storytelling

Is not life a hundred times too short for us—to bore ourselves?*

I have a question for my fellow content creators.

You talk like a human, so why don’t you write like one?

Seriously, who are you writing content for? Google? Bing (does Bing still exist)? Yahoo (what year am I living in)?

Because it certainly doesn’t seem like you’re writing for other humans.

And this does not bode well for you, seeing as humans are the ones reading your content and using it to make decisions.

Now, I know what you’re thinking:

Richard, what on earth are you talking about? Why did you have to come out of the gate throwing shade like that? What’s the issue?

My issue is this: your content is boring.

And because it’s boring, your customers won’t remember it when they read it (if they read it).

Instead, they’ll read and remember the entertaining content of your competitors, and that is where they’ll end up spending their money.

How do I know this?

Because this has happened to me, and when I’m not careful it still happens to me.

(Seriously, I dare you to try to get past the first three paragraphs of this blog post I wrote last June.)

I would like to help you avoid this dilemma, so I’m sharing my advice.

Write Memorable Content Using Emotional Storytelling

If you want your content to do its job (i.e., drive sales) you have to make it memorable.

How do you make your content memorable?

Make it entertaining—stop boring people to death!

How do you do that?

By writing content that triggers an emotional response. Use emotional storytelling.

No, I am not saying your next blog post should highlight your hardline stance on a hot-button issue.

What I am saying is you need to stop feature-dumping, and writing your blog posts with the emotional fervor of someone wishing to escape the office on a Friday afternoon.

If your content does not contain an entertainment factor which provokes the reader to feel something, you’ll lose their attention and their business.

And this is not just my anecdotal opinion. It is a fact backed by neuroscience.

It’s true. According to my friends over at Psychologist World:

 Emotions are believed to play a role in determining whether we can recall a stored memory at the time we try to revisit it. When we are led to experience feelings of delight, anger or other states of mind, vivid recollections are often more possible than during everyday situations in which we feel little or no emotional attachment to an event.

In other words, if you can get your readers to feel something, there is a greater chance they will remember it.

Why Use Emotional Storytelling?

Did you ever see the movie Inside Out?

I’m guessing you can’t remember the entire plot, but you can recall certain scenes.


Because those scenes tugged at your heartstrings (like when Riley commands the bus driver to stop so she can run back home to her parents).

Does Disney have a monopoly on emotional storytelling?

It may seem like they do, but they really don’t.

Any empathetic person can write content which evokes an emotional response.

Don’t believe me?

Here is the self-penned obituary of Val Patterson—a Utah scientist who died in 2012.

When his obituary was released, it went viral.


Because he used emotional storytelling to take you on an emotional roller coaster ride through his life.

It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It’s truly memorable—which is exactly what an obituary should be, something by which people will remember you.

If someone on their deathbed can write an obituary that engages readers and elicits an emotional response, well, you have no excuse.

Stop Writing Boring Content 

So how do you stop writing boring content and start writing content that triggers an emotional response?

I’m glad you asked.

First, you must loosen up a bit and stop writing like an actual-factual robot.

Have some fun and let your passion show.

(And do not tell me you don’t have a passion for the products or services you’re selling. If you don’t, then do yourself and your company a favor and find another job.)

If you need inspiration, I recommend you read CD Baby’s famous confirmation email.

Second, you need to start incorporating stories into your blog posts and emails.

Humans love stories.

But this is not our fault, addiction to emotional storytelling runs in our blood.

Luckily, Spin Sucks has covered the importance of using storytelling in your marketing and PR efforts at length.

Get Started Now

So if you’re not already using emotional storytelling in your content and communications, get started now.

Finally, stop talking to your audience and start talking with your audience.

If you want your audience to become emotionally invested in what you’re saying, you need to include them in the conversation.

Don’t write phrases such as, “If one wishes…”

It does not make you sound objective or sophisticated. It makes you sound boring.

You wouldn’t tell a campfire story like that so why would you think it’s appropriate for your blog?

When talking to your audience, use words like “you, your business, your organization, your team, etc.” Focus on them.

Doing so opens the door for your readers to step inside your story and be part of the conversation.

That’s My Advice for You

Well, that is all the advice I have for you today.

In short, do yourself, your business, and your customers a favor and stop flooding the internet with boring content.

Instead, use emotional storytelling to write content that engages, captivates, and entertains your audience.

Do you use emotional storytelling in your blog posts or email marketing efforts? What is your advice?

*opening quote from Friedrich Nietzsche – Beyond Good and Evil

Richard Jenkins

Richard is the founder and president of ChromosomeTwo—a digital marketing firm that helps small businesses rise above the noise online. He also posts about leadership, marketing, PR, sales, and finance on his blog, Mad Man Thoughts. Richard loves helping entrepreneurs and small business owners succeed. You can connect with him on Twitter(@RE_Jenkins).

View all posts by Richard Jenkins