Millions of blogs are published every day – you want yours to stand out, right?
How can you use storytelling in your blog to drive better engagement? How can you reach the parts other blogs cannot reach?
I thought I’d cleverly kick off with a story here, to illustrate my point. But some days the muse evades you – creativity flows like mud. I sat staring out of the window, uninspired… and suddenly my eyes were drawn to the straggly pot plant.
I started to care about the stupid thing, in an irritated, resentful way
There’s quite the backstory with this damn thing. It was a gift from a friend – and I don’t like plants. I kill them, generally. I don’t have green fingers; I have death fingers. But it was a birthday gift, so I tried to say thanks. Then over the months it slowly started to die. I didn’t do anything on purpose to kill it, but deep inside I think I might have been hoping it would wither, and I wouldn’t have to feel responsible for it.
Unfortunately, it survived, in a feisty ‘I will not give up’ sort of way. And then I started to care about the stupid thing, in an irritated, resentful way. It seemed so valiant in the face of neglect. So – resentfully – I googled what sort of care it needed, what fertiliser, what to do to help it thrive, and am going to set about helping it.
Why do I tell you this?
It’s partly to prove a point – if you’ve made it this far, the story has done its job, caught your attention. But it’s also to fess up to the fact that even people like us who create content for a living sometimes hate the job. And also that sometimes, inspiration is hard to find.
Here is my inspiration. Cool huh? And yes I know the silver needs cleaning too.
Do you hate blogging?
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and with over 4million blogs published on the www every day, it’s hard to stand out. But there are a few tips that you can use that will help you use storytelling to improve your blogs and engagement. We like sharing tips with you.
Your storytelling should be all about you
Authenticity is so, so important online. Levels of mistrust around online content are high AF – so talk about things you have experienced. Don’t write about stuff that you think is popular or will resonate with your target audience. Make it real, and authentic.
And if you’re struggling for inspiration – well, maybe stare out of the window. It worked for me today!
Link it to your messaging
OK, so you should be starting with this bit really – what is the point of your blog? There’s a skill in weaving your story into your message. Just as much as there’s a skill in making pot plants flourish (apparently). But having a clear message, and pulling that thread into the narrative throughout is vital. Don’t just dump a story at the top and then float off into some obscure sales pitch.
You’d be amazed at how you can use stories to connect to your message – for example, your dog might have had puppies. What a nice analogy for a launch of some new products. See? And everyone wants to read about dogs and puppies, believe me.
Storytelling blogs need a structure
Just like bedtime stories, this kind of blogging should have a clear structure. And that means including a character, a problem, an action, and finally – the solution.
I guess my plant is my character here – I do see it as one. Determined and bloody-minded
I guess my plant is my character here – I do see it as one. Determined and bloody-minded, it refuses to die. You already know the problem and action, and my solution is going to be to re-pot it, nip out the trailing ends, give it some food and love. It’ll probably actually die then, knowing my plant skills.
If we look at the new products/puppies analogy again, there are plenty of puppy problems – some messier than others. Lots of sorting out to do, boundaries to set, compromises to make and so on. Whatever messaging you align with your story, there’s going to be enough problems/solutions to draw comparisons there.
And don’t forget images
I felt a bit shifty posting my poor bedraggled plant picture, but it brought it alive, didn’t it. Do the same. Make this stuff feel real. Bring your reader in.
Not all blogs need a story, and not all storytelling needs to be a blog
Sometimes you just have news or information, or it might be a review of something, or you might just even be writing for the sake of it. Not everything needs a story. But the more you blog, the more you’ll see that storytelling can be added in more places than you realise.
Equally, your storytelling could be a video, maybe on your YouTube channel. Or a Facebook live. Or even just video direct on your own site. Your story can still do the same job if you weave it into your script.
Finally – the solution
I’m going to deal with the plant at lunchtime. Now I’ve written about it I feel immense guilt. And I can’t go without pointing out that the above notwithstanding, if you don’t blog enough, or it’s not your bag, we can do it for you. We don’t have death fingers for content. We’re wordsmiths, so they’re more like gold or silver fingers. Give us a shout.