How to tell a story that sticks

Companies that tell good stories are more likely to stay top of mind and get more customers. Here’s how to become one of them.

Storytelling in content marketing is a valuable tool to capture and hold your audience’s attention. Telling stories engages the senses and emotions, captures the imagination and, most importantly, resonates more easily in the maelstrom of data we’re expected to process each day. Good stories are remembered. So, how do you tell a story that will resonate? A sticky story?

In their book, Made to Stick. Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, IT brothers Dan and Chip Heath extract the six characteristics associated with ideas that stick: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions and Stories (summed up as SUCCES). Let’s take a closer look:

Simplicity: pack as much meaning into a little bit of messaging, let the most important insight shine. Unexpectedness: use surprise to grab attention, increase alertness and focus, and then generate interest and curiosity. Concreteness: speak in a language that is universally clear, avoid abstractions – your idea needs to mean the same thing to everyone in your audience. Credibility: employ authorities, statistics, testable credentials and research to lend credibility to your story. Emotions: create empathy, appeal to the person your audience is likely to emulate, the person they want to be, discard analytics for a while. ‘For people to take action, they have to care,’ explain the Heaths. Stories: stories are powerful tools for teaching – they place ‘knowledge into a framework that is more lifelike, more true to our day-to-day existence’. Listening to a story isn’t a passive exercise, it’s a way to gear an audience to action through simulation and inspiration.

You can find a good story anywhere and everywhere; it doesn’t have to be dramatic, just useful. And if it touches or inspires you, persuades you to act, makes you smile or just think on a matter, then the chances are good it will do the same for your audience. It’s the difference between sharing information and creating ideas that are long-lasting and useful.

Content agencies have the expertise and creative know-how to tell your sticky stories so that they not only resonate with your audiences, but align to your business goals as well. Got a story to tell? Let’s help you tell it with The Content Room.

*For more information on Dan and Chip Heath, visit

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