I’ll admit that it isn’t always easy to find the story in the content you producing, whether its video, instruction or marketing materials. Sometimes the content is so straight forward (or some might say dry) that it’s pretty much impossible to find the story in it. I get it, I’ve been there too.
I’ve done a video on the test a single continuous weld (that was riveting – well it was welding, there were no rivets involved). I’ve worked on regulation and planning documents, there’s not much of a story there. Sometimes in instructional design you have to develop content on a subject that is so simple, or so complicated, or bounces back and forth between the two making it difficult to keep a good hold on the thread of the story.
So what do you do? In some cases you can wrap a story around the information. This works really well in instructional design and for writing things like articles and blog posts. Instead of finding the story in the content, you tell a story that you can put your information into. You can draw from case studies, interviews or real life stories if you have them. If not you can get creative and make one up. Be careful if you go this route, if you’re talking about real life information for adults you’re probably going to want a story that sounds like real life and truly believable.
There are times when circumstances, the information or the product don’t let you do that. It still doesn’t mean that the content has to be boring. Look at the audience, the medium and the delivery mechanism and see what you can do to make the information as interesting and compelling as possible. In these cases language choice, sentence structure, writing style, layout and visuals make a huge difference in making your content interesting and memorable.
Finding a story is still a great way to get your point across. It can be an entertaining, educational, memorable (and sometimes sneaky) way to get content to your audience. It’s just not always possible. When it’s not it doesn’t mean your content has to be boring.