Using Storytelling to Motivate New Audiences
One of the biggest challenges cause communicators face is engaging individuals who aren’t already deeply invested in an issue. In a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article, communication guru Paul VanDeCarr suggests a new approach to reaching new audiences: storytelling. Storytelling, especially storytelling that utilizes social media and other online platforms, can help turn lukewarm supporters into engaged audiences.
The reason? When people tell their own stories–and read the stories of others–they become personally invested in an issue. Stories and storytelling help people to understand that issues like climate change, bullying, or marriage equality, aren’t just abstractions. Instead, they are real forces that affect real people’s lives. Climate communicators can leverage storytelling in their own climate communications efforts to personalize climate change and consequently, motivate new voices to support action on the issue.
Paul VanDeCarr, Contributor to The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Managing Director of Working Narratives
How do we create or “market” stories so they’ll appeal to people other than those who already support us; so they’ll reach people who may be unfamiliar with our issue or even disagree with us?
We’ve all been there before—with documentary-film screenings, story-sharing websites, or social-change plays that preach to the converted.
To enlarge your audience, sometimes all you need to do is activate people who are sympathetic but inactive. Or, as you suggest, you may sometimes want to engage people who aren’t already on board.
Image credit: The Chronicle of Philanthropy