We all grew up listening to ‘once upon a time……happily ever after’ kind of stories. Regardless of what the story was, we would be sucked into it right from the beginning because of the way storytelling managed to grip us. As we grew up, the element of storytelling starting, waning and things got more mechanical, dry and to-the-point. Well, it’s time to bring it in back in our blogs.
Storytelling creates a powerful, engaging and an interactive platform for both the readers and writers. The element of surprise, conflict or suspense mixed in with emotions, personal experiences and anecdotes will compel the readers to read the next line. And the one after that, until the very end. Satiate this need by marrying storytelling and blogging, where they can get the best of both worlds – detailed information about a topic and the lightness storytelling brings to it.
For e.g., if you are writing on the importance of life insurance, you can approach it in two ways – a) the boring, dry way: ‘He lived a great life, but left his family in a financial fix after he died’ OR b) Through storytelling that will engage your readers from the get go: ‘They lived in a penthouse that everyone dreamed of having, drove in cars that made people envious and personified the phrase – live life, king size. But, it came crashing down when he died and didn’t leave a life insurance policy behind.’
The following tips will help in incorporating storytelling in your blogs – niche or otherwise.
#1 Paint an Image in the reader’s mind
Help them ‘see’ the story through your words. Give them a glimpse of what they expect in the lines that follow. Make sure your readers can explore the five senses through your words and paint a mental picture.
Which sentence gives you a better visual of the scene – ‘She waited for her sister at the park and the rain started as soon as she arrived’ or ‘The clock ticked away with vigor as she marveled at the different hues and the flowery scents that filled the park. She felt the first raindrops of the season on her cheeks and rejoiced as she saw her sister walking towards her’. You get the picture (pun intended).
#2 Give The Topic A Human Spirit
Until and unless the viewers cannot find themselves in the story, they might find the content slightly uninteresting. Personify the topic instead of just presenting the topic in a boring manner. Instead of stating impressive facts about your startup, tell your readers why you wanted to start a venture, how you approached it, what difficulties you faced, what mistakes you made etc. Let your readers identify with the topic through your experiences.
#3 Tie The Topic With A Video
Offer a visual aid in your blog through a video. It can be an ad, song, permissible movie or TV clips. Don’t just fill up your blog with facts, data and details, no matter how important they are. Add video to break the monotony and offer a different perspective. You can choose a message-first approach where the absence of the video won’t affect the blog, but its presence will add flavor to the topic or you can opt for a video-first approach where the video comes at the beginning and introduces the topic, and the content builds it up further.
#4 Personalize The Topic
It’s important that the reader sees the person behind the blog post. Write in a way that exudes your personal experience, emotion, and real-life incidents. The readers shouldn’t feel as if the computer screen is mechanically talking to them, rather that there is a person behind the screen. Make every topic personal and your topic will get a new life. However, when you have a niche blog, ensure that the storytelling doesn’t overshadow the main topic.
#5 Build-Up The Setting
When you write something, you have to make sure that you and your readers are on the same page. To do that, you have to create a ‘setting’ where you are the protagonist and your reader is your co-passenger on the journey. Spinning even a fictitious scenario can make the most mundane and boring topic into an interesting read. Keep the readers hooked by presenting a real-life scenario, let them feel they share the same space with the protagonist in the story. However, maintain a fine balance between storytelling and stating facts. Focusing more on storytelling and skimping on the main topic won’t add any value to your reader’s time; the other way round may make reading boring and uninspiring.
#6 Lighten The Mood With An Anecdote
Anecdotes are good icebreakers and act as a first call-to-action for your reader – which is to read further. Who doesn’t love listening to a funny incident? Who knows, your readers might have experienced something similar and would like to see what you do next, which forms the main crux of the topic. Start with an anecdote, but keep the details to a minimum and avoid digressing with unnecessary descriptions. End the post with a second call-to-action by encouraging your readers to share anecdotes or incidents revolving around the topic.
#7 Take Inspiration From A Reader’s Comment, Question Or Story
Some readers will share an interesting incident in your comment section or ask you questions. You can turn one of those stories or questions into a new post. However, if the reader has shared a really personal story, take their permission before using it.
Storytelling has the ability to keep the readers hooked, attracts newer readers and forms an engaging platform. Even the most boring or difficult topic becomes an easy read through this medium. Remember not to get too carried away and lose relevance of the main topic. Yes, your readers will appreciate good storytelling skills and techniques, but they wouldn’t like it if they don’t get the required facts through your post. So, put on your creative hat and experiment with storytelling in your blog.
Jason Walberg is responsible for coordinating and implementing SEO & SMO strategies for clients. He is goal oriented, possess exceptional attention to detail, and has outstanding interpersonal skills. He received his Master’s in Education Technology from Pepperdine University after getting his undergraduate degree from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga. For more information on digital marketing, follow his blog at Power To Be Found.