For generations, “storytelling” was most commonly perceived as a traditional art of conveying a sequence of events or message to a larger group of individuals either through word of mouth or writing. But today, storytelling has taken on a whole new meaning.
Storytelling still centers around the creation of narratives that convey a message, but within the last few years, storytelling has been used by more and more brands looking to convey their messages in a fresher, more genuine way. From clothing stores to car companies, every brand wants to develop ways to use content marketing to make their product more appealing, and these efforts often take the form of storytelling. Some accuse storytelling of being an overly-applied exaggeration. According to Contently, “Now, every person, brand, and agency identifies as a “storyteller.” That generic toilet paper brand? It’s a storyteller. Jim the lead-gen guy? He’s a freaking storyteller. He’ll tell you a 90-minute story about his leaf-blower, but damn it, he’s in marketing and he showed up to work today, so he gets to be a storyteller too. “Storyteller” is the youth soccer participation trophy of the marketing world, and you’re only going to hear it more this year.”
However, this might be a pretty uncharitable perspective on storytelling. After all, in an age where everyone is looking for the next big idea, a return to the past might be just what brands need for success. Entrepreneur explains, “Stories have existed since long before recorded history, but the desire to hear stories hasn’t changed, nor has the longing to tell stories. Today, though, there are more stories than ever.” In this way, it makes sense why we have experienced an increased emphasis on brand storytelling, often in the form of content marketing.
What does this mean for the publishing industry? After all, marketing and editorial publishing have always been different career fields. But maybe not for much longer. With the increasing demand for more and more storytelling and content creators, I wouldn’t be surprised if publishing and marketing began to merge together more and more. For the suffering publishing industry, storytelling might be more than just another buzzword. It could be the key to publishing’s newest chapter.