Storytelling is an excellent tool to use in your content marketing strategy, giving your brand personality and connecting you with readers. It can help boost your content and shares, but just how can you go about telling a story with your content? Where can you get excellent inspiration?
In this blog, I want to look at the BBC’s Sherlock series, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as everyone’s favorite consulting detective and Martin Freeman as his loveable friend, John Watson. (If you’ve yet to watch this incredible series, it is available on Netflix and on DVD/BluRay.)
Let’s take a look at some great lessons you can learn!
How BBC’s Sherlock Wins at Storytelling
Since BBC’s Sherlock is such a great resource for storytelling, I am going to look at what you can learn for your copywriting. These are some amazing things the show does, and it can help your content incredibly.
1. It Utilizes Excellent Story Symmetry. Symmetry is a great part of storytelling and can make a story more impactful. This could be whether in the framing on a TV show like Sherlock or a Stanley Kubrick flick. However, Sherlock illustrates symmetry not only in filming but also within the story. When we get to the end of the first episode of season 1, we see John Watson taking things into his own hands, willingly saving Sherlock’s life. He could have been caught and even charged with a crime, but his friend was more important than his criminal record. When we get to the third episode of season three, the same thing happens, only this time it is Sherlock saving John in a similar fashion. He knew he would get caught and punished, but he wanted to protect his friend, knowing Watson would do, and has done, the same for him.
While you don’t have to create a symmetrical story like this, using symmetry in your posting can help to bring about consistency. Symmetry is soothing to many people and if you create symmetrical content, you could see more engagement and shares. You can create symmetrical copy with your writing or you can create images or videos that utilize it. Either way, it can help you stand out and make you look incredibly professional.
2. The Writers Utilize Emotion to Draw in Viewers. If you watch any season of Sherlock, you know that it can be an emotional roller coaster. What do you mean Moriarty did that and why is Sherlock listening to him? Who is this Magnussen and why is he threatening John and Mary? Whatever happens, people feel the anger, excitement, and sometimes extreme sadness due to the storytelling by the writers of Sherlock. One of the most intense episodes, The Reichenbach Fall, connected with many viewers and created a huge stir online. It still has an impact, even if you’ve watched it multiple times.
Using emotion in your content can be a great way to draw in readers and convert visitors into leads. You can focus on a variety of emotions whether they are happy, sad, upsetting, or even cause anger. Always remember when dealing with emotions to do so respectfully, especially if you are going to write content on something people are angry about. Emotions can help you connect with your audience while also giving your brand a personal voice both on social media and within your copywriting.
3. We See What Sherlock Sees. The show lets us in on what Sherlock sees by going over a person’s body or items and highlighting aspects with words. We learn that someone owns a dog, has a wife in labor, and more just from Sherlock’s glance. When this happens, we are all transported into being Sherlock. This is a great way to connect watchers with the show and help them feel like they are part of it. Breaking the wall between viewers and a show isn’t always recommended in television, film, or stage productions, but many BBC shows, like Doctor Who and Sherlock break it. When it is broken well, people can really engage with the story. Just think, if you’ve watched Doctor Who, how terrifying is it that the Weeping Angles are still stone because you the watcher are staring at them?
You can break that wall easily with your copy, and it isn’t as touch and go as it is with TV or stage. A great way to break it is to write in first or second person and ask your readers direct questions. It can be a rhetorical question like I did above about the creepiness of the Weeping Angels, or it can be an open-ended question that gives your readers the ability to answer with their own opinions and questions. Let people in on what you’re writing to build a great connection and relationship with them. Writing in something like second person can be a great way to draw your audience in and help them connect with your content.
4. The Show Repurposes the Original Stories to Create Something New. Sherlock is one huge example of just how you can repurpose a story and create more for further content. The show has a lot of great source material to work with due to the many stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the writers always make sure to create something incredible and unique. If they followed the typical storylines we all have memorized (see: The Hound of the Baskervilles) then it would quickly become a boring show. However, the writers make each episode different, adding their own twists to each and repurposing the content effectively to create a powerful story.
You can do something similar with your content by repurposing your other blogs and copy to create something new and impactful. You can use your older content to help build a story and create storytelling that will connect with your readers while still using your existing copy. Repurpose content to see just how powerful it can become and how many clients and readers you are able to reach out to when you do this.
5. Sherlock Gives Us More Content Than Most TV Shows. With Sherlock, the BBC gives you a lot of content for a TV show, which encourages people to watch even more. It can be a bit of a letdown when you start a show and realize that, while it might be on air for an hour, you only get 45 minutes of content. This can make people give up on a TV show, especially if it doesn’t have a captivating story like Sherlock. This show would probably be just as successful if it were only 45 minutes, but something that really sticks out to fans is the fact that we get a full hour and a half of content. This helps to immerse watchers and get them into the show more than a shorter series. While we only get three episodes, we get a lot of content per episode.
Your readers and clients are taking time out of their day to come to your website and read your content, and if you don’t provide them with enough, they could leave. However, if you provide them with more content than what they’re expecting, you can give them a great surprise and make them happy that they took time out of their busy days. You can give them a variety of content types or give them something free for taking the time to look at your site. Whatever you choose to do, you can help build confidence in your content and business by giving them more than they expected.
6. The Show Uses Visuals to Create a Huge Impact. If you take some time to watch Sherlock, you will notice that the showrunners don’t just focus on the written story but visuals as well. This is what helps make the stories even more powerful than they were on paper and any watcher can get easily immersed in the story when watching. The directors frame the shots gorgeously, and they focus on important details within the story, even if we don’t know what they are yet. In addition to simple images of streets and clues, the visuals of the actors acting out some of the most emotional scenes adds such an impact. Whether you are laughing at Sherlock’s attempts to surprise John or watching John cry with horror, you feel the intensity because of what you see.
According to Susan Kusinitz, at HubSpot, visuals are an important aspect of content and if you want to create something powerful, you need to make sure you utilize them. You don’t need to go quite the route of Sherlock, but if you film high-quality videos, share great images, and create infographics, you can connect with your audience quickly and easily. When you are crafting your content, don’t leave out the incredibly important visual aspects.
Did You Miss Me: Don’t Miss Using Sherlock for Great Content Inspiration
As you can see, there is a lot of inspiration to glean from this show, helping you create powerful, impactful stories for your readers. If you need guidance to create epic storytelling content or would like experts to craft it, then look no further than Express Writers. We have some of the top writers who can create excellent story pieces for your content, as well as create different impactful content types by using similar aspects that the BBC uses for Sherlock. Don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can help!