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The Increasing Value of Storytelling in Technical Content

Discover how storytelling enhances technical content in the AI-driven era, fostering engagement, trust, and brand distinctiveness while simplifying complex concepts and appealing to diverse audiences.

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With the influence of artificial intelligence (AI) on content creation growing, storytelling is becoming increasingly important. With the help of AI, technical writers are generating large amounts of content very quickly, leaving readers to parse through this slew of information to find what’s most relevant to them. So, to keep readers engaged, your technical content needs to be clear, direct, and tell an engaging story.

You might not think storytelling is an important part of technical writing — but it is. It’s responsible for carrying readers through a piece of writing, helping them understand complex topics at a deeper level. It drastically increases the impact a piece of technical content has on the reader. This, in turn, fosters trust between your organization and your readers.

In this article, we’ll highlight how and why storytelling enhances brand relatability, trustworthiness, and content impact — especially in the AI-content era.

The Rise of Storytelling Amidst AI-Driven Content

It’s no secret that AI-driven content is quickly filling the web. The rise of generative AI (GenAI) allows creators to write more — which, while it may sound good, comes with a host of side effects.

From a content creation point of view, more and more technical content can be produced faster than ever. GenAI makes crafting blogs, tutorials, and other pieces of writing easier and generally faster. But just because these articles are quickly written and published doesn’t mean that they’ll reach their intended audiences. Readers may choose to get their information from large language models (LLMs) and GenAI tools like ChatGPT instead of searching the web (or your blog). These two trends place technical content in a tricky position. It’s so important to stand out from the crowd in a sea of new articles, but it’s harder to do.

This is where storytelling can help. It increases the value provided to readers by taking a human-centric approach. Sure, AI can generate content en masse — but it can’t pull readers in like human writers can. And when your content pulls readers in, it boosts your brand’s relatability, inspiring readers to come back to you time and time again.

Humanizing Technical Content Through Stories

Lots of content on the web that’s written for developer audiences is written as a series of instructions — as if it were a recipe. AI tools work in this tradition too, with the added “bonus” of content being less unique and engaging.

But technical content shouldn’t be just a series of functional steps. That’s what documentation is for! Instead, technical content should tell the reader a story. Doing so keeps them engaged and helps them better retain what they’re reading. So, making technical content more human-centric is a clear way to provide uniquely valuable education.

Storytelling also makes your content accessible to more readers. While most of the audience for technical content have strong technical backgrounds, it would be dangerous to assume this is always the case. Technical content should be engaging and accessible to those newer to their field, those with less experience, and even those in non-technical roles. Even experienced and knowledgeable readers don’t want to work harder than they must to comprehend and retain new information.

Moreover, storytelling throughout technical content can help humanize your blog. It allows you to make technical concepts accessible to readers of all experience levels. And that’s the difference between valuable content and documentation! Taking the reader on a narrative journey through what you’re explaining keeps them from feeling like they’re reading an instruction manual — something that’s not particularly valuable or intuitive to less technical audiences.

For example, instead of explaining how to install your home automation software on a Raspberry Pi, you could give an engaging introduction featuring a set of new parents struggling to upkeep their busy household and care for their newborn. Then, you could walk the reader through why they might want to install the software, and guide them through to their desired result.

Focusing on human elements helps your content grab and keep the reader’s attention.

Building Trust with Authentic Storytelling

If you’re seeking to add storytelling to your technical content, it’s vital that you do so in a way that genuinely connects with the reader. The only thing worse than long-form writing without a narrative is long-form writing with an inauthentic narrative.

Marketing professionals already know the importance of storytelling to build trust with an audience. But achieving this with technical content can be more challenging due to the inclination to provider readers with those recipe-like steps.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, several organizations have successfully blended the technical with the person to create a long-term, trusting relationship with their readers. The Vercel Engineering blog, for example, uses storytelling in their relatable case studies. For example, their article about reliability at Stripe on Black Friday uses this real-world event to discuss the importance of reliability in a personable way. It grabs and holds the reader’s attention in a way that a generic, high-level blog post about the importance of reliability couldn’t.

The Render Engineering blog uses similar storytelling techniques by sharing authentic success stories from their clients’ perspectives. For example, this article about how one of their clients ships 15+ times per day is written by their client, adding credibility and trustworthiness to the tale. It also meets readers where they’re at and where their attention is, since people looking for results will resonate with that kind of content.

Differentiating Your Brand with Unique Stories

Beyond increasing reader engagement, storytelling enables writers to develop a distinct brand voice. Each business has different products and goals, and each blog offers something different to readers. Trying to capture and reuse another brand’s narrative voice won’t help you stand out. It will actually make you blend into a crowded technical content market. And relying heavily on AI has a similar effect: Content generated by AI reads like content generated by AI. It’s easy to identify and definitely not unique to your brand.

To build a brand voice is challenging, but it remains one of the most effective ways to engage with readers genuinely. It also contributes to your brand’s authenticity and trustworthiness in a way that’s extremely valuable to your readers. It also makes your content stand out.

Take Honeybadger, for example — a health monitoring tool with a strong reputation in the Ruby community. Their recent “Ruby’s Exceptional Creatures” project stands out for its fun art, goofy creature personas, and video game-like stats for many common Ruby programming exceptions. The project hit the top of HackerNews, and was subsequently featured in popular programming newsletters like Ruby Weekly. Readers were buzzing online, sharing this content with their peers.

While the exception information in this project is helpful, it’s not particularly unique — and it’s certainly not the reason the project was so successful. It’s the storytelling behind each creature that differentiates the content. While unconventional, this is an incredible example about building a genuine brand voice and telling unique stories to differentiate content.

Storytelling as a Tool for Simplifying Complex Concepts

Not only does storytelling increase the engagement of technical content, but it also helps make it more accessible. Technical content almost always deals with complex ideas and attempts to provide some education to the reader, and effective narratives can make this easier.

Rather than explaining to a reader how to use your business’ cloud database service, walk them through a realistic problem that it solves for them. In other words, show — don’t just tell. Authentically helping the reader place mental landmarks as they process complex technical concepts increases retention, which makes your content especially valuable to them. It’s hard to remember facts, but everyone loves a good story.

For instance, this OpenAI report brings readers on their journey of scaling Kubernetes to 7,500 nodes. Rather than just provide step-by-step details of scaling Kubernetes, which has been done plenty of times, they bring the reader along for the journey their engineering team went on when implementing this. In an engaging narrative, OpenAI talks through how this supports their products, networking, metrics, and even unsolved problems.

The article is full of incredibly complex software engineering content that’s very valuable — but that might be inaccessible to certain audiences. By using a narrative format, they’ve made the information easy to read — and, therefore, appealing to a much broader audience.


In the age of AI, storytelling is becoming increasingly crucial in making technical content impactful. It’s not just about facts and figures anymore; audiences crave relatable narratives. By integrating storytelling, content creators enhance relatability, build trust, and establish brand distinction. Content becomes memorable, engaging, and personal, resonating deeply with readers.

At ContentLab, we understand the power of storytelling. Our team specializes in crafting impactful narratives that pull readers in, making complex technical content accessible and compelling. Get in touch with ContentLab to see the difference real storytelling means for technical content.

Picture of Jeffery Morhous
Jeffery Morhous
Jeffery Morhous is a software engineer and published author. He works with healthcare technology that ensures patients can afford their medications. Jeff is the writer of “Coding for Humans” and is the winner of several hackathons. He’s passionate about learning, writing, and teaching others. In his free time, Jeff enjoys hiking and going to the gym.

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