We live in a world where over 4 million blog posts are published every day.
How do you stand out in a sea of bloggers who have probably covered all the key topics from a thousand different angles? Do you follow the trend or create a technique of your own?
Everyone loves a good story. It’s the part of your copy even skimmers take time to read. I try to start every article on my blog with a story attacking the reader’s pain point. I want them to know this is not just another article from a blogger trying to make a quick buck but someone who genuinely understands their problems.
The power of a good story
Remember when you were a kid and your parents always said: “You can’t leave the table until you eat all your vegetables.” When it was pizza and ice cream night, no one had to convince you to eat your meal and clean off your plate. Broccoli and green beans are good for your body. It’s what you need to build antibodies that make you strong and healthy. Pizza and ice cream is what you want.
To entice you, your parents promised you an extra slice of pizza or an extra scoop of ice-cream if you ate all your veggies during the week. You get both without fretting.
Think of your blog post in the same way. Your readers need practical tips and tricks to make their lives easier and solve a problem. Advice is what they need. Include a story to your blog and you’re giving your audience what they want and what they need at the same time.
I made this post on LinkedIn after I set up Zenith Copy. I told a story about leaving my former agency to start my own business. At the time, I only had 700 followers on LinkedIn but the post has over 37k views. It also generated 10 leads for my business.
A memorable blog post must be fun to read. Storytelling helps you hit the mark.
Tips to use storytelling in your blog post
The opening story
GrooveHQ ran a test. The goal was to determine if blog posts with stories were more successful than those without. They found that blog posts with a story intro had almost 300% more people read the entire article. Average time on the page also increased five times the usual number.
A good opening story carries your reader through the entire blog post. They are eager to read your piece when they realize the hero in your story is just like them. Begin with a gripping but short first line to set the scene. In the second line, describe the solution the reader wants and the disillusionment when they don’t get answers. End with a question directed at the reader and transition to the main body to discuss the solution.
Be the main character
No actor can tell your story as you would. Exploit your personal experience to make an instant connection with your reader. I wrote a blog post titled How to Write an Engaging Copy That Sells Like Ice Cream. I began with my experience at my first copywriting job. How we were thrown into the deep end and asked to write copy that encouraged the audience to buy sex toys. I detailed my process of writing copy for a niche I was unfamiliar with as a way to connect with my readers.
Draw from your wealth of experiences and shake people out of their fatigue. The mention of “sex toys” in that article was enough to get people to listen to me. Transfer your emotions onto your blog post and your readers are more likely to love it.
Write from the reader’s view
Human experience first, topic second. You want to hook your reader and get them to read your entire blog post? Don’t focus your story on the topic or it turns out boring and too descriptive. Use anecdotes to make the human the centerpiece of your story.
Focus on the motivations that led them to take the action. Describe feelings and emotions along the way. You want your readers to live through your story and wear the hero’s shoes. This enables you to connect with them on a cognitive and emotional level.
Ensure the story aligns with the message
There must be an intersecting point between your story and your blog post. The aha! Moment when the reader realizes the link between the story and your message. Stories are only powerful when they mean something.
This is a screenshot from a piece I wrote about grammar errors.
The goal was to explain how people confuse slang as good grammar. Your reader is more invested in the content when they realize mistakes they’re probably making in their writing.
Use Google to find stories
Google is an inexhaustible source of stories. Use the right keywords to target precise stories and you’ll generate a ton of results. For instance, if I was writing on “Failed Blogs”, I would Google “Stories about failed blogs.”
The first one looks like an interesting read. No.4 looks honest and really inspiring. Which of the headlines tugs at your heartstrings? You can reference a story from these links and tie it into your overarching blog theme or topic.
How do you help a reader who doesn’t understand the problem? You know there’s a problem but your reader doesn’t have the faintest idea what’s wrong. An explanatory story makes the problem real.
Remember when your iPhone was acting up? You took it to the repair shop and asked the tech guy to take a look. After 20 minutes, he goes on a rant about the glitches and tech stuff that’s wrong with your phone. You’re standing there staring at him like he’s speaking a foreign language because you don’t understand a word he said.
Is there a simple way to explain the faults to the customer? Can you make the phone work again? How much will it cost?
A tech guide on “Common iPhone 10 glitches and how to fix them” could begin with this story. You’ll capture the reader’s attention because it’s a problem they’ve faced. Transition to the tips where you answer these questions in detail.
Incorporate the elements of a good story
A good story is
- Entertaining, fun and interesting
- Easily relatable
Your story must feature at least one character, introduce conflict and close with a resolution of conflict.
Humans are wired to satisfy the urge for a good story. Our ancestors used this technique to pass down life lessons, educate young people and entertain each other.
Stories are deeply rooted in our brain. It’s why we watch TV shows like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad. We want to know what happens next.
Use stories to make your blog interesting and engage your audience. It’s the best way to stand out in a sea of competing blogs.