Australians love (and spin) a good yarn. Epic tales have been told across this vast land for millennia, from the Dreamtime stories of the Aboriginal people of Australia to the bush ballads of Banjo Patterson to the movies of Peter Weir.
These days, the great tradition of Australian storytelling continues in a less obvious space: business websites. We have clients around the world using our website builder to create a website for their business and we’ve observed some great examples of simple and effective storytelling amongst our Australian clients. A company website might seem an unlikely place to find a ripping good yarn but, actually, the best websites really do tell stories.
Why tell a story on your website?
Have you ever forgotten the main point of a speech but remembered the stories from it? We all have. That’s because we don’t think primarily in facts, principles or theories. We think in stories.
Before sensory data gets from your outer extremities to the prefrontal cortex where it undergoes rational reflection, it has to pass through the almighty limbic system—that mass of grey matter that houses your emotions. That means we feel before we reflect. And feeling is where stories excel. So storytelling often has a more immediate and lasting effect on hearers than a litany of “just the facts, ma’am”.
And it makes sense because, while facts are abstractions, stories resemble how we actually experience the world. This happened, then that happened, then another thing happened. That’s life, that’s stories—and that’s good websites too.
Telling your business’s story online
Where does the story magic happen on a website? Usually the “About Us” page, often the second-most important page on a website (after the homepage).
Plenty of our customers already know this. Deb from Redfern Body Co. for example discusses how the land of WA inspires her organic beauty products.
Here’s some vital elements in telling your business’s story:
1) Be personal. Nobody likes dealing with a cold, distant institution. It really helps to show your users that you’re real, approachable people—not just another faceless corporation. Bookkeepers The Business Organiser take what can often be conveyed as dry and humourless—bookkeeping—and inject it with real humanness, largely by conveying passion and avoiding jargon.
2) Take us on a journey. Fairy tales start with “Once upon a time” and end with “happily ever after”. Stories take us from one point in time to another; a journey. Take your users back to the beginning and explain how your business came into being. Bespoke furniture maker Brian Cosgrave’s site talks about Brian’s long-standing love of carpentry, which began in childhood and continues to this day.
3) Identify the central problem. “All drama is conflict,” according to storytelling guru Syd Field. In other words, good stories find a problem to be solved. If things go from good to great without any conflict or hardship, then you’ve got a very dull story. Ask yourself: what problem does my business set out to solve?
Conclusion: a website story sells
None of the above examples are going to win a Logie or Miles Franklin Award. But that’s the whole point. Storytelling isn’t just for the great scribes, bards and troubadours; it’s for all of us. Even basic (and short) storytelling can give your website’s “About Us” page a big boost (check out our tips for “About Us” pages—and learn why they’re like speed-dating your customer!). And, if you’re a Rocketspark customer, because our website builder makes the design of your page easy-peasy, you can dedicate most of your brainpower to telling your tale in an exciting way.
By harnessing the power of The Great Australian Story, you can make your business more relatable, your business more compelling and your product more attractive. There’s just no better way, end of story.