It was a dark and stormy day. A house sat in the woods, shutters smacking off the siding as thunder cracked in the air. Rain poured relentlessly off the metal roof with a “rat-tat-tat”.
Two men stood in the open doorway, staring inside. A family sat in the living room, watching a scary movie on TV. No one heard the men come in. And then…
Are you captivated yet? That’s the power of a good story – it can suck you in better than facts, advertisements, or anything else. Humans have been telling great stories for thousands of years, from cave paintings to modern-day movies. We love a good story.
In fact, researchers found that when we hear a story, the parts of our brain light up as if we were acting out the story!
That means if we hear about someone running, the parts of our brain in charge of running light up. If we hear about someone picking something up, the parts associated with picking things up lights up.
That’s not all! Stories capture our attention and make us forget about everything else. If you’ve ever watched a kid watch a cartoon, you know exactly what I mean. They’ll even talk to the TV as if they were in the show!
This is great news for us bloggers. Story-telling can keep our readers engaged and push them to take action.
In this post, I’ll explain how to tell a great story (or where to find one) and how to use it in your blog posts.
Gather round the fire, it’s storytime!
The Elements of Great Stories
Of course, there is a lot that goes into writing and storytelling. Some people dedicate their whole lives to mastering the craft.
However, we’re all capable of telling stories. It’s one of the fundamental ways of communicating. If you’ve ever told your significant other how your day went or told someone about the crazy time you went to the mall and someone was dressed up like a banana, you’ve told a story!
So, what are the elements of a great blog story opener?
- Tell a true story. Did you make $50 selling something you made? Deal with an angry customer beautifully? Blow up a watermelon in the backyard? Steal a Gamecube controller from GameStop when you were a little kid? Tell people about it! Truth makes stories resonate with people.
- Tell your customer’s stories. If your customers (or readers) engage with you, share their tales! They’ll feel honored, you don’t have to waste time coming up with something, and it will resonate with your other readers. Win-win-win!
- Keep it simple. You’ll notice the opening story was barely two paragraphs. You don’t need to go on a tangent – just say what you need to say, relate it to your blog topic, and move on.
- Don’t use fancy words. Try to keep your writing to a 7th-grade reading level, at most. You can check your writing’s reading level using a tool like Hemingwayapp.
If you can’t come up with a great story, look around you! There are great stories everywhere. TV shows, movies, video games, books, blog posts, friends, family… even strangers have great stories!
Keep your ears open and keep a pen and paper or notes app ready to write it down so you don’t forget!
Using Storytelling In Your Blog Posts
Have you ever listened to a speaker tell a funny joke, then follow it up with something like, “Anyway, on to this incredibly boring presentation.” It had nothing to do with the content – it was just to get a cheap laugh. You don’t want to be that person.
Relate your story to your topic.
It’s not that hard, either. I’ve seen random funny stories about ducks relate to selling in eCommerce. With a little creativity, you can find a way to make them relate.
What kind of stories have you told on your blog? Did they get more engagement? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!