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The more things change, the more they stay the same – how storytelling has evolved

Once upon a time, a little girl called Red Riding Hood decided to go and visit her grandmother. She took a basket of goodies, put on her trusty red cape and set off into the woods. She skipped along happily, unaware that a sneaky wolf was following her as she made her way through the trees.

Luckily, the entire forest was monitored with CCTV cameras. A security guard spotted the wolf creeping along suspiciously behind Little Red, and he was promptly arrested. The end.

That version’s not quite as interesting, is it?

Fairy tales were written a long time ago, and the way we live now means that many of their plots sound frankly convoluted and time-consuming. Rumpelstiltskin’s name could be easily Googled, the Frog Prince would use Photoshop and an OkCupid account, and Cinderella wouldn’t have needed a Fairy Godmother if she’d been sent a Facebook invitation instead.

Film director James Cameron recently said that the rise of technology should never ruin a good plot: "Innovation sparks ideals and further innovation, but the fundamentals of storytelling haven’t changed. There still needs to be a beginning, middle and end and they need to communicate powerful emotional experiences."

Movies are increasingly asking us to suspend our belief in reality and accept the improbable – Cameron’s epic ‘Avatar’ is an excellent example. However, underneath the intricate makeup and breathtaking CGI, there still needs to be a solid story with a logical conclusion or we just won’t buy it.

It’s an ethos that translates perfectly into the world of digital copywriting, as it happens. Your website can have all the bells and whistles, with interactivity through every pixel – but if it’s not written well, you’ll turn visitors off. A bad story jars; it derails the train of thought and it’s virtually impossible to get it back on track. Copywriters still need to take readers on a journey through online content, creating more vivid images with the power of words.

As technology develops and your business moves from paper to screen to the next new platform, an evolving approach to copywriting will keep your audience engaged. Having supported our clients with precise and compelling copy for more than 25 years, that’s something we understand perfectly. Do you?

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