What’s in a Story? How to Use Effective Storytelling in Blog Posts
Getting your point across in a blog post isn’t always easy. Attention spans are at an all-time low. The competition is stiff. Presenting your content in a compelling, interesting way feels like a gargantuan task to the average copywriter.
But the more some things change, the more others stay the same. The age-old art of storytelling remains just as potent in the 21st century as it was for our ancient forebears.
“We [use] story as a way to communicate, understand and share knowledge and wisdom, to make sense of the world around us and to think about morals or lessons from the environment,” notes International Storytelling Center president Kiran Sirah in a 2017 interview.
Like any artform, however, effective storytelling in blog posts requires authenticity, structure, creativity, and a unified vision. Below, we’ve outlined five storytelling strategies that’ll help you make your posts meaningful and effective:
Know Your Audience (And Your Message)
We’ve all been there: a family dinner, let’s say. Your uncle had one too many drinks. Now, the rest of the table is suffering through a long-winded tale that’s headed nowhere.
There’s no quicker way to lose a reader than getting off-topic. When crafting stories, make sure they’re relevant to the people you’re speaking to, and the subject you’re speaking about.
“The job of the teller is to capture his mission in a story that evokes powerful emotions and thereby wins the assent and support of his listeners,” writes filmmaker Peter Guber in the Harvard Business Review.
For example, if the point of your post is to encourage readers to sign up for your weekly newsletter, share a story about a former client who read a great article that helped change her business model. Stray away from sharing an amusing anecdote about your aunt Mable’s goiter problems.
That being said….
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Personal
Nobody wants to spend their time reading something they can’t relate to; blog posts are no different. By drawing on personal experiences in your storytelling, you add authenticity to your posts, forming a personal connection that pulls in the reader.
It can also be a great way to avoid writer’s block, says Yoast Academy founder Marieke van de Rakt. “[U]se the world around you for inspiration. A little talk with a neighbor, a funny thing your daughter did, something that happened during your lunch break: these are all little stories.”
If you’re writing about a new mental healthcare provider, for example, share a brief story about a close friend’s struggles and success in treating their own anxiety. This gives readers the impression you care about the issue, and more importantly, you know what you’re talking about.
Plan It Out
Any good storyteller understands the need for a basic structure to your tale. Unless you’re setting out to be the next James Joyce, it’s safe to say your story will involve a couple basic elements and concepts, if you want readers to follow along.
- A main character(s)
- A central problem or issue the character is trying to overcome
- An action (or series of actions) that character takes to address the issue
- A solution or “denouement”: essentially the moral of the story, or how it all turns out
New York University advises storytellers to plan out their story ahead of time, and fine-tune it for maximum impact on the intended audience. “[D]evelop the theme, details, and flow. Make sure there is a beginning, middle, and end with a clear arc to the story.”
Mix In Some Multimedia
Capturing the attention of your audience’s other senses vastly increases your chances of keeping their interest.
“People are hardwired to respond to imagery: the visual cortex is the largest system in the human brain,” writes Nicole Lampe on storytelling.comnetwork.org. “While reading is a skill we must learn, picture processing is an ability we’re all born with, and the language of pictures is universal.”
When it comes to effective storytelling in blog posts, illustrate your text with multimedia supplements. Do you have a photo from your recent trip to NASA that really emphasizes the importance of STEM education? Use it!
You can also source professional, high-quality images from websites like Shutterstock and Pixabay.
By adding images, videos and infographics to your blog post, you not only jazz up your text, but get your point across to readers in a way a screen full of text can’t do on its own.
Make Your Story Work For You
While shooting the breeze is a fun past time, don’t forget the ultimate goal of storytelling in blog posts. Provide an example of the point you’re making through a quick story or anecdote. Regardless of the story you choose or how you tell it, it should further your post in some way.
“People will remember your story, and with that, they’ll remember the message of your post or even your brand,” writes van de Rakt. “And, if you use stories in a good way, you could even inspire people to take action.”
Tell a story that serves as an example of the point you’re making and leaves the reader wanting more.
If your stories are authentic, well-structured, engaging to multiple senses, and illustrate your message effectively, storytelling in blog posts isn’t just a fun way to connect with your audience – it’s a damn good one, too!
By using the tips above, you too can spin yarns that’ll keep readers coming back to your website time and again. Happy writing!
How do you engage your audience with compelling website content? How do you (or will you) use storytelling in your blog posts?
Writing compelling copy can be challenging. And you know how the old saying goes: do what you do best and hire the rest. If you need help with copy creation for your blog posts, contact us at Mobile Mind Agency at any time for a free quote for any of our digital marketing services.