Essence of Successful Blogging — Telling the Story

I write a blog post every two or three days,” Mary told me over a cof­fee, “I have many impor­tant things to say but I feel my mes­sage is all too often mis­un­der­stood or not get­ting through.”
Truth is Mary is not alone, many blog­gers feel that they are not con­nect­ing with their audi­ence, yet this need not be the case and a writer’s abil­i­ty to tell a sto­ry has much to do with resolv­ing this problem.
As strange as it may sound the art of blog­ging involves the abil­i­ty to tell a sto­ry, and this is true what­ev­er type of blog you are writ­ing. More than 85% of all blogs in the world today are non-fic­tion, so the major­i­ty of blog writ­ers don’t believe they are telling a sto­ry, they feel they are writ­ing about their sub­ject mat­ter exper­tise, or things that dri­ve their pas­sion. The point is every blog post must tell an effec­tive and coher­ent sto­ry in order to please the read­er (includ­ing those that give lists, such as: “The top 9 Rea­sons to give up Smok­ing” or “Top Web­sites for Writ­ers” as there should be a mean­ing behind the list). Many posts also tell more than one story.

What is the Story You are Telling?

antique-car-(pixabay)Know­ing the sto­ry is vital, blog posts should have a point, the writer should write them because they intend­ed to inform peo­ple about a spe­cif­ic top­ic or sub­ject. The sto­ry behind the car restora­tion, for exam­ple, starts with the rust­ed heap of junk that is dis­cov­ered and how after restora­tion how new and shiny it looks. For the blog post it’s often best to focus on one aspect, one mes­sage the read­er needs to walk away know­ing, once their have read your post, and of course the sto­ry behind the mes­sage should has to be told — what leads the writer to reach the con­clu­sions they did?
Accord­ing to Alex Lim­bergas humans, words are per­haps our most pow­er­ful tools. Words have crushed souls and built empires.” This is where the pow­er of words comes into play with every­thing a writer writes, sto­ries have the pow­er to con­vince the hearts and minds of the read­ers, they add moods to the writ­ing, whether told by a child suf­fer­ing star­va­tion in the heart of Africa or by a politi­cian look­ing to win your vote and we have been telling sto­ries since the dawn of time. Accord­ing to Lim­berg “sto­ries engage a deep­er part of our brains than any log­i­cal expla­na­tion ever could,” so sto­ry­telling can be a great way to con­vey mean­ing even for the most com­plex of tech­no­log­i­cal discussions.
Truth is your sto­ry may:
  • Cause out­rage
  • Prick a conscience
  • Cause empa­thy
  • Moti­vate a person
  • Make them laugh
  • Make them angry
Even a dry cor­po­rate blog can use such tools to dri­ve read­er­ship, show­ing how they care about their cus­tomers, pro­vide car­ing solu­tions, etc., the point is a short sto­ry can relay feel­ings to a read­er more effec­tive­ly that a bare list of facts and life is full of great sto­ries.

A Beginning, the Core, the Ending

It is rec­om­mend­ed that blog posts will be some­where between 750 and 1,500 words in length, there are times when they may be short­er or longer, but the aver­age read­er rarely reads more than 2,000 words unless the sto­ries in them are com­pelling. Blog posts can have one or mul­ti­ple sto­ries with­in them and these sto­ries may stretch from a cou­ple of sen­tences to the whole post, but every sto­ry needs an intro­duc­tion (the rea­son it needs telling), the body of the sto­ry, and a con­clu­sion (per­haps a call to action).
Bad AttitudeThe pur­pose of the intro­duc­tion or con­clu­sion is to link the sto­ry to the point you wish to make, tran­si­tion from facts to the sto­ry and vice ver­sa, link­ing the moral or seed you wish to plant into the reader’s mind, but it must be rel­e­vant to the pur­pose of the blog post, it can also show our atti­tude to the point in ques­tion. Truth is “our brains like sto­ries, it makes them active,” it caus­es the read­er to respond to what we are telling them, to attain an understanding.
Gen­er­al­ly sto­ries in a blog post should be short, excit­ing, and to the point, most not exceed­ing a para­graph or two in length, they say what drove a per­son to take a spe­cif­ic action, or help the read­er under­stand the impor­tance of the sub­ject. But in asso­ci­a­tion to a short sto­ry told in the body of the post, the whole of it may be told like a sto­ry, as a set of experiences.

Fitting it into The Blog

The pur­pose of telling a sto­ry is based on the need to engage, edu­cate and enter­tain, yet many blogs fail to enter­tain. The steps of mak­ing a good blog post include:
  1. Know the purpose/goal of your post
  2. Hook the read­er with your head­line and summary
  3. Paint the set­ting (what we should be con­cerned about)
  4. Intro­duce the char­ac­ters involved
  5. Iden­ti­fy spe­cif­ic problems
  6. Show options
  7. Show the choic­es that need to be made
  8. Iden­ti­fy why it is the right choice
Each area can ben­e­fit from a good sto­ry, in par­tic­u­lar the intro­duc­tion will tell the read­er why they may be con­cerned about this prob­lem, it can tell the sto­ry of what is wrong cur­rent­ly, which may sim­ply be the sit­u­a­tion, or the char­ac­ters involved in it and how they are mak­ing things worse than they should be.
Kevan Lee sug­gests we start a post by telling a sto­ry, “the head­line entices read­ers to click­through, the intro hooks read­ers into con­tin­u­ing” and Alex Turn­bull and the Groove HQ team “found that sto­ry­telling led to 300 per­cent more read­ers than a post with­out sto­ry­telling.” Indeed Groove HQ sug­gest that sto­ries cause read­ers to stay a mas­sive 500% more than they do on pages with­out a story.
A month after first meet­ing Mary and giv­ing her some of my thoughts about telling sto­ries as a part of her post­ing strat­e­gy she informed me that she was con­nect­ing with her audi­ence bet­ter than ever before and gain­ing com­ments, which she had nev­er received before.



Buy Peter B. Giblett a cof­fee as a thank you for con­tribut­ing his thoughts on telling the sto­ry in your blog post. All images used here are either cre­at­ed or owned by Peter Giblett or have been sourced from a pub­lic domain source.



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7 Replies to “Essence of Successful Blogging — Telling the Story”

  1. Some great tips here, it’s so easy to lose focus and for­get the pur­pose of an arti­cle. Excel­lent post Peter!

  2. […] should be con­sid­ered in the same spir­it as giv­ing gifts at Chreist­mas, it can also be a part of telling a larg­er sto­ry, con­tribut­ing to your blog’s overall […]

  3. […] thought I did), lit­tle did I realise that blog writ­ing required a dif­fer­ent set of skills, such as sto­ry telling, hyper­link­ing, style and pre­sen­ta­tion, pro­vid­ing visu­al images to enhance the writ­ing, expanding […]

  4. […] thought I did), lit­tle did I realise that blog writ­ing required a dif­fer­ent set of skills, such as sto­ry telling, hyper­link­ing, style and pre­sen­ta­tion, pro­vid­ing visu­al images to enhance the writ­ing, expanding […]

  5. […] should be con­sid­ered in the same spir­it as giv­ing gifts at Christ­mas, it can also be a part of telling a larg­er sto­ry, con­tribut­ing to your blog’s overall […]

  6. […] How well any per­son writes is  about how they under­stand word usage and the ways in which they dis­play their word-craft by the act of com­bin­ing these into phras­es, sen­tences and para­graphs to con­vey the intend­ed meaning. […]

  7. […] that will allow the read­er to under­stand what you have to say. To write suc­cess­ful­ly you have to devel­op the art of sto­ry­telling, show why this top­ic mat­ters. If you are writ­ing fac­tu­al con­tent then your sto­ry must be the truth, […]

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