FACTS DON’T MATTER.
No, this is not about Fake News or creating alternative realities. It’s about #storytelling and getting complex content across.
Fact is, most of us aren’t interested in facts right off the bat. We’re interested in stories. Everything we do, everything we experience and also: our concept of identity, is based on narratives. Conscious and subconscious ones. Good and bad ones. Short and long ones. Funny and sad ones.
Whatever we hear or read that doesn’t fit into one of the stories that relate to us, we tend to ignore. Without context, it won’t stick. Why should it? Why waste the storage space in our heads with random bits of information?
Let’s talk about why phytoplankton should interest all of us.
„As a primary producer, phytoplankton builds up its body substance (biomass) from carbon dioxide and nutrients with the help of photosynthesis (primary production). Phytoplankton is thus the basis of the autochthonous food pyramid in stagnant and slow-moving waters.“
Fascinating, right? No? Phytoplankton builds biomass from carbon dioxide. This couldn’t be more relevant in times of climate change, could it? But at first glance, only biologists and nerds are interested, unfortunately.
If you want to get someone interested in phytoplankton, don’t start with cold facts. Tell them about the common story of us and phytoplankton in a short and forceful way.
You might, for example, make it sound like this:
„Algae produce up to 80% of the oxygen we breathe – we’re ruining the habitat of our most important allies.“
That‘ s a bit more engaging, isn’t it? After all, you like to breathe yourself – and so algae – phytoplankton – suddenly very tangibly have something to do with your very life. Which in turn should pique your interest in protecting the habitat of these useful creatures: the ocean.
To get people really hooked on your campaign, grab a good algae photo and write a snappy headline in CAPITAL LETTERS on it. A smooth one might sound something like this:
„WATCH YOUR ALGAE.“
Or, if you like it a little more drastic:
„YOU CAN’T BREATHE WITHOUT YOUR ALGAE.“
You could also go all in and write:
„PLEASE DON’T SUFFOCATE.“
That would be escalation level 3, of course. You won’t only make friends that way. But: you have the attention on your topic. And now, you can explain, in a more matter-of-fact tone, what you’re actually all about and why it’s worth continuing to pay attention to your subject.
In the world of TikTok, Youtube and Instagram, you have to learn to stand out if you don’t want to be ignored. After all, once you’ve (somewhat rudely) pulled people out of their bubble, you can finally come up with relevant facts and explain why phytoplankton is so important to all of us.
Facts don’t matter – as long as they are poorly delivered.
This is part 1 of a little series on storytelling and communication. Feel free to follow me if posts like this interest you. Thanks for your time – let me know if this content is helpful.