Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Great Stories Paint a Picture with Words

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It’s easier said than done: Paint a picture with words. We all want to write that attention-grabbing intro and see our content spread – because it’s so engaging, people cannot not share it.

When it works, it works. We know. The audience knows. “Hey, (whomever is nearby) take a look at this…” When we paint a picture with words we make an emotional connection with our readers, who feel more connected to the story they just read.

A Los Angeles Times article on female police forensic unit employees reminded me of the importance and power of this. In particular, take a look at this excerpt that kicked off the article:

Gabrielle Wimer was nine months pregnant and working a crime scene when she found the closest thing to a smoking gun for a forensic specialist: a clean, detailed fingerprint.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I got a beautiful print right here,'” she recalled. “And I turned and my belly just wiped it off.”
That was it, she said: “I’m done until I have this baby.”

Now almost 3 years old, Wimer’s daughter is still too young to understand her mother’s job. All she knows, Wimer said, is that it’s for the police. “Police,” she’ll say. “Mama’s work.”
The entire article can be found here.

You can probably visualize how this looked, right? I know, I did. Writing like this is powerful and engaging.

I don’t remember seeing a picture of Ms. Wimer but I had a picture in my mind just by reading the intro. When I got to the crime scene part, I pictured her in a crime scene uniform, on the verge of cracking a case. I was rooting for her, even though the story quickly turned with her belly wiping the print.

I stopped reading, read this out loud to my wife, who is also pregnant, and we discussed the story and – to a lesser degree – the rest of the article. Interesting stories have to be shared.

Breaking it down: Paint a picture with words

When we paint a picture with words, we help stories separate themselves from the noise. Stories like this stand out and are:

  • memorable.
  • easily retold by the reader to others.
  • emotional. (I totally felt bad for her. Didn’t you?)
  • getting us interested. We might not care about an overarching, statistical kind of story. But we care about people and emotions like this.

The trick is that when we paint a picture with words that we pick the right words to paint the right picture. Sharing detailed stories about something not interesting or relevant won’t draw the reader in. But picking the right words to paint the right picture will help us tell better and more engaging stories.


Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph ctrappe@christophtrappe.com 319-389-9853

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