Storytelling is the backbone of just about everything you see, hear, and interact with, including content. As the online marketing world grows, the emphasis on selling the brand message has been dominated by providing users with an overarching user experience, and storytelling plays a large part in that.

Before brands, before movies, even before writing, storytelling was all about the spoken word, and StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit organization that truly understands the value of sharing personal stories and dispersing them through the Internet.

What is StoryCorps?

StoryCorps started in 2003 as one of the largest oral history projects in the world. It has since collected over 40,000 interviews from over 80,000 participants. These conversations are recorded on a CD and preserved in the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress. A fair few are broadcast over NPR, and you can listen to some of their latest stories online. They have also animated several stories for broadcast on public television.

Stories are recorded from all across the country. You can record your stories at one of several StoryBooths scattered around the nation or you can rent a StoryKit. The organization also advocates recording your own interviews at home, in the library, or in the classroom to create an archive of your own.

The participants are the best part of StoryCorps. You’ll find everyday individuals of all ages, races, and creeds. Each story is as real as the people narrating them, and that’s where the organization truly succeeds. As disparate as the voices are, there’s something so inherently relatable about each story that makes you realize that we’re much more connected than you think.

StoryCorps’ main goal is to create a vast archive of our country’s voices for future generations, and advocates the long-lost art of listening.

Storytelling and Content

Storytelling goes beyond just the spoken word. You can use the content of your website to share stories–your own and that of the potential customer. I’m talking about more than just the text on your site; you can tell a story through all forms of media, even the design and flow of your website.

Smashing Magazine has a slew of great articles about storytelling and content strategy. Start with this and this.

In the meantime, November 23rd is the National Day of Listening, and StoryCorps wants you to ask great questions and share even greater stories. This year, the focus is on veterans and their families. Head over to the site and have a listen, view one of their animated shorts, and tell some stories of your own.

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