Reading is Down. Storytelling is Up.￼
Once upon a time, people got most of their information and much of their entertainment from books. As a voracious consumer of books, I’m still in the “sit-down-and-read” camp, but these days I’m the exception. So, what’s the story? Why is it that we now so often hear that “people don’t read anymore.”
It’s easy to blame the Internet, and there’s little doubt that ubiquitous smartphones and the instant gratification of the digital era have contributed to the downturn in reading. But the fact is “leisure reading” has been in a steady decline since the analog days of the 1980s. The most interesting point here may be that while reading is down, storytelling is not.
Going all the way back to the earliest oral traditions, human beings have always loved a good story, and that hasn’t changed. What has changed is the many ways those stories are being consumed. TV, movies, audiobooks, and an endless array of podcasts, goofy memes, and other off- and online clutter have supplanted sitting down to read as the dominant delivery systems.
As someone who generates “content” and writes a lot of advertising and marketing copy, this trend away from lengthy text has changed the way I work. I’ve had to master the art of economy, and that’s not a bad thing. Forced to edit myself down to as few words as possible, my writing has become more economical. As a result, my copywriting has more impact.
The future belongs to those who can successfully aggregate new and more traditional resources to truly impact an audience. At Cronin Creative, we’ve diversified creatively to help our clients make the most of the wealth of new tools available to help spread their message, from online ads to video to social media and beyond.
But regardless of the delivery system, a good story is still at the heart of it all. With consumers in a never-ending state of information overload, storytelling slows the pace and brings things down to earth to foster that deep connection. For any marketer trying to break through in today’s fragmented media environment, a well-told story can be the key to a very happy ending.