Legal blog pantomimeThis pantomime season, the old favourites are being rolled out; Puss in Boots, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk. These tales have a lot to teach us about how storytelling can make your legal blog more effective.

Researchers recently discovered that many pantomime folktales date from the Bronze Age. While we were still tribes roaming the European plains 2,000 years ago, people still enjoyed settling down to listen to the adventures of Little Red Riding Hood or follow the romance of Beauty and the Beast.

This is the ultimate in shareable, viral content: stories so strong that they are passed down for thousands of years, without ever being written down. So how can legal bloggers draw inspiration from pantomime tales?

1. Personalise your content

Anything that offers personal insight to your reader will be more memorable for them. Speaking in the first person about legal situations you have experienced, or adding some details about parties involved in a dispute (whether real or imagined) will make your blog stay in the reader’s memory for longer.

For example, if you are writing about the issue of legal aid and litigants in person, you could start with an anecdote about your personal experience of seeing someone struggling to represent themselves in court.

2. Have a beginning, a middle and an end

It is helpful to develop your subject matter in phases, to signpost to your reader the key elements of your argument. No one could mistake the key steps in Jack and the Beanstalk, for example; planting a bean, raiding the giant’s house and returning with riches. Your blog should also feature a series of clearly defined parts.

For example, rather than presenting readers with a solution to a problem and then explaining why it is advantageous, set out the problem, explain some possible ways of solving it then opt for the best solution and give an indication of the outcomes. The development of a topic will be much more engaging for your reader.

3. Show local relevance

Pantomime stories are adapted to their local conditions to ensure they are always relevant. The kernel of an idea can work differently for different audiences, being ‘repurposed’ to suit the situation.

Folktales have done this for centuries. There is a folktale about The Smith and the Devil in which a blacksmith sells his soul to a demon in exchange for supernatural powers. The core idea of selling your soul to the devil has been repurposed over the years for everything from Faust to Blues songs.

4. Use straightforward language

Wake up your audience with punchy points and recaps of your main ideas. You do not need to use traditional pantomime heckles such as “oh, no he didn’t!” The same effect can be achieved with short and clear sentences to indicate your view: “This is misleading” or “This is not the case.”

Legal issues are often complex, but using long-winded language is likely to turn your audience off. Go for plain wording, interesting questions and clear arguments that engage the reader.

Does you legal content marketing need a Cinderella transformation from shabby to splendid? Why not get in touch to see how M2 Bespoke can help?

Ben Hollom

January 22, 2016