What Buffer taught us about storytelling

June 15, 2015 /

As an agency deep in the web world, we are aware of the challenge associated with getting heard. We build the best products possible to give our clients a leg-up in this game, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Buffer, a powerful tool for social media management, recently filled in another one of those pieces, giving us yet another great resource for managing our clients digital reach.

Imagine this – you’re sitting at your desk on a dreary Tuesday afternoon, snacking on some M&M’s and idly hoping for an extra burst of energy. Your boss glides in with that look on her face. You know, the look that says, “Hey, I’m about to drop a big project on your desk. It will be the exact opposite of fun.”

Blogging at HatchitAfter preparing yourself mentally, you set your game face and prepare to take the news like a champ. She needs new blog content for the website and has no direction to guide you. She’s only doing this because corporate wants to take a more “personal” approach, but she sees this
activity as a waste of her payroll budget.

Her challenge to you – get this done as quickly as possible, and make it worthwhile for the customers. Thoughts are immediately reeling through your head, intimidated by the challenge of this task.

“How do I prove myself?”


We are all familiar with the frustrations of getting work read online. The Internet is an intimidating sea of information. We spend hours perfecting ideas that we know are brilliant nuggets in our respective fields. We put them out into the world, looking to share our knowledge with the masses. And then, usually, nothing happens.

Unless you are one of the lucky few that experience otherwise, we think this advice from the Buffer blog could be extremely helpful to getting that content read and shared. Their idea is common sense really – unfortunately, those innate instincts are often forgotten when the times get tough.

So what is the big secret, you ask?

Tell a story!

Buffer compares quality information to a vitamin. The reader wants candy, but you are more concerned with their health. The goal is to achieve gummy vitamin status. I mean, who didn’t love those as a kid? However, Mom also felt confident you got the nutrients you needed to grow up strong.

Humans instinctively respond to the sensory and emotional cues that are embedded in stories. While information activates the processing parts of our brain, which focus on figuring out what it all means, stories activate our neurons to fire in a way that makes us actually feel the story.

A/B Test Results

Image via Buffer

In an A/B test, Buffer found incredible results. The same content sent to users with a story introduction saw users scroll all the way to the bottom 300% more than the content without a story, during which users also spent about five times as long on the page.

The trick lies in telling the right story to engage your target audience. The blog post finishes with a few tips to make this even more manageable, so that you can rock your next blog post and prove to the stingy boss that blogging really can be a powerful tool for any company. Check out their tips and all the data behind these facts here.