In this article we’re going to break down the details of what feels like an inevitability: the stories have arrived at WordPress. But, first, let’s start with a load of questions. Why are the stories so popular? What is it about this format that every social media platform has adopted it? What’s the difference between posting a picture on stories rather than on your permanent feed? Your friends will see the content, they’ll be able to interact with it and share it either way (unless you’ve set up your account to prevent that previously). So, what is the catch? Well, it’s what we all know: the ephemerality. Twenty four hours, and the content is gone. That distinction creates a feeling of urgency: if I don’t see it now, I’ll never see it.
For some reason in human condition, to miss something that is going to disappear feels very serious. Even if that something is a blurry picture of your cousin’s vacation at the beach. Stories keep us even more hooked to social media, in a world that was already hyper-connected. Some people (who? me?) say that the story format just feeds our obsession for immediacy: we wanted to feel like we were living live, and the Internet has granted our wishes. Nevertheless, computer cynicism aside, the fact is that the story format is, unarguably, an easy to use tool that improves communication efficiency.
Communicative perks of the story format and its application in WordPress
Stories are direct, simple and they allow us to convey a whole lot more information at one glance than a tradicional post would. All the visual information has to fit in a vertical rectangle, and we can integrate links to other sites and question-answer blocks in it. Thus, not to speak about the visuals: design, templates, and so on. Creating a nice, appealing story depends on our personal sense of aesthetic, rather than how skilled we are with the tool itself. And here is where WordPress comes in.
The most used CMS in the world was not going to fall behind in the implementation of the stories. In fact, in 2018, AMP developed an early version of the story format for WordPress that was rather well welcomed. The new project is in its beta phase, so a few functionalities won’t be available until the end of the year, according to developers’ estimation. That’s also the reason it’s not yet within Google’s catalogue, but you can already set it up for your website. The main novelty regarding the 2018 product is its editor, now integrated in WordPress: it’s new, it’s intuitive, it’s easy (peasy).
The feature that will have us all installing the new AMP plugin sooner rather than later is the ability to integrate links on our stories. Instagram doesn’t allow users under 10.000+ followers to post links on their stories. But now, in WordPress, everyone will be able to do it for free, regardless of your page’s traffic. In addition, we will not just be able to post links to our own pages, but to affiliates and Google Ads (one of the paths to monetization that we all know and love).
AMP, WordPress, stories… Ok, so, how hard is all this, really?
If you are a regular user of the Instagram Stories, this new editor won’t be new to you at all (and if you are not, that’s what we are here for). Once you have your plugin up and running, the process is as simple as can be. The pictures are on the left (you just have to “drag” them to the center to edit), and the editing tools are below, for everyone to see. You can fit up to 200 words on an image, and, more interestingly, links to other sites. This last piece of info turns WordPress’ stories into a SEO tool.
In summary: it’s worth the try. OK, a picture of your friend’s meal is not the most exciting thing in the world, but even haters like me have to admit that the format in itself is a rather good idea. We are more than used to the visuals of it, so acceptance from the public is almost guaranteed (we first had stories in Snapchat, then Instagram, and now Facebook and WhatsApp). Stories were conceived purely for our leisure, but today there are very few brands left that don’t use them as a commercial tool. It was just a matter of time for WordPress to catch up.