Tired of reading “meh” content? We’re on a mission to stop it and we need your help.

Play me.

Have you seen the Brita Filters ad where they show a chain of crushed plastic water bottles stretching across the US like a garbage version of Hands Across America?

It’s pretty unsettling. Apparently, US water drinkers alone throw away enough plastic every year to circle the earth 190 times.

We’re definitely greener than that at Storyline, but we see another kind of waste that really bothers us and it’s in our eyes all the time: “meh” content. We see so much “meh” we’ve even begun to wonder how many times you could wrap the earth in “meh” articles.


“Meh”? What’s that?

A “meh” article is short-to-long-form content, usually delivered online via a blog, that means well but doesn’t have a voice you’d remember and isn’t really speaking to anyone in particular about anything it really cares about.

Usually, “meh” articles are published by brands that want to make an impact with their content, but haven’t fully committed to storytelling to make that happen.

If “meh” content actually filters its way down into your newsfeed or inbox, you have two choices. If it’s for work, you read and endure. If you’re reading for pleasure, you click away to something else.


No more “meh”

We’re here to change all that. Just like Bruce Lee changed low-budget kung fu forever. (Actually, Bruce Lee did a lot more than that—thank you, Mr. Tarantino—and we’re hoping we can too.)

We’re here to say no more “meh”.

That’s because we’re passionate about what we do at Storyline: engaging storytelling, in-depth writing and amazing editing. We also know that most businesses and organizations want to share what they’re passionate about too, but haven’t found their voice. We’re here to help them find it, with beautifully written, thought-provoking articles and social.

Read on to find out how we do it.

A ‘meh’ article is short-to-long-form content, usually delivered online via a blog, that means well but doesn’t have a voice you’d remember and isn’t really speaking to anyone in particular about anything it really cares about.

1

Social with character

It’s a fact. If readers can pick your brand voice out of a crowd and identify with it, you’re definitely going to get more interaction with your content.

If this is sounding a little vague, just try this. Put the latest instalment of the Jack Reacher franchise (2016) and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, side by side in your head.

Wait, you don’t even remember the Reacher film or who directed it? (The director was Christopher McQuarrie—thank you, IMDB—who actually wrote the Usual Suspects. How the mighty fall.) That’s because McQuarrie’s voice in Reacher isn’t memorable; whereas Tarantino’s is burned into our brains and the collective zeitgeist.

That’s the kind of voice you need for your social and your blogs, and storytellers with a knack for voice are the only ones who can deliver it.

If readers can pick your brand voice out of a crowd and identify with it, you’re definitely going to get more interaction with your content.

2

Messages that connect

Empathy is contagious. If you believe in something, your readers will pick up on that and engage with your mission or brand.

Storytelling is all about empathy. That’s because storytellers need to step into the shoes of other characters—know how they move, talk, think and feel—to convince readers those characters exist.

When storytellers write stories for brands, the same thing happens. They really get into the head of the brand they’re writing about, to the point that the brand becomes an actual character.

The better they do it, the more credible that brand is. The more credible that brand is, the more the brand readership grows.

Empathy is contagious. If you believe in something, your readers will pick up on that and engage with your mission or brand.

3

Stories with a kick

If you want to build a community of readers for your content, they need to have a reason to read to the end. Good articles are mini page-turners.

That’s because articles that are easy to read actually have a secret “page-turning” structure you might not be able to see from the outside. They have tension (when we build up your expectations by withholding something you want to know), climaxes (when we reveal it) and resolutions (when we bring you back down to planet earth after an entertaining, hopefully meaningful, romp through our brains).

Add good pacing (when an article unfolds at just the right speed), a stand-out voice (see above), and sentence and tonal variation, and you’ve got all the elements that make an article effortlessly readable.

The fact that all these elements are basic storytelling principles is no accident.

4

Articles that get clicks

As much as you may hate Google for its constantly changing SEO rules, Google hates something worse: fluff.

These days fluffy articles are being punished. It isn’t like Google spanks you and puts you in your room if your article has no real substance, but they do spank your content and make it less likely to get seen.

Relevant articles with substance, on the other hand, will get you found and shared.

What’s a relevant article? It’s an original story with a fresh perspective that pursues an argument it has a stake in. It isn’t just stacking facts and opinions one on top of the other to fill up space, with no real argument or focus, or rehashing articles you’ve read a hundred times before.

Simply put, a relevant article isn’t just joining the conversation. It’s carving out its own place in the conversation.

What’s a relevant article? It’s an original story with a fresh perspective that pursues an argument it has a stake in.

Dear Storyline, I think I’ve got a case of “meh”. What can I do?

First, congratulations. Admitting you’ve got “meh” is the first step. And don’t worry, publishing “meh” isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. You could be Alex Goldman telling all his listeners that he showers sitting down.

Second, sit down for a few minutes by yourself or with your team and think about what you really want to accomplish with your content. Write it down.

You’re definitely doing something you believe in, and chances are it’s something you want the world to know more about.

If you do, get in touch.

We’re here.

If you’d like to learn more about our blog and social media writing service, check it out here.