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3 Elements of Blog Storytelling to Woo Readers


How do you write compelling blog posts that not only engages your audience, but woos them to consider your point of view?  Information-rich blogs with useful data, facts, how-to guides and checklists may do the trick from time to time. But if you've got a unique idea, want to persuade your audience to try something different you may need to do more.

Annette Simmons wrote in Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins: "People don't want more information; they are up to their eyeballs in information. They want faith - faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell."

Some will argue that your blog should not be about you, your products or services. It should be about your audience, what they care about. True to a point. But by including some elements of storytelling you'll be able to connect the information with what it means to your audience in a way that truly resonates with them. Nancy Duarte, author of Resonate writes, "Storytelling creates the emotional glue that connects an audience to your idea."

Let's look at 3 elements of storytelling you could incorporate in your blog that would have positive effects on wooing readers to change their minds, hearts and behaviors.

An unique idea about something you want to change

Every story has a central idea championed by the hero representing some unique idea lightbulbachievement, goal or new state of being. This idea is often unique and in stark contrast to the status quo. There's a deep sense of dissatisfaction with the world (as our protagonist finds it) and there's great passion to see it changed.

Think about what you'd like to see changed in your world. What's your unique idea? What would you like to see adopted? This central, unique idea strikes at the core of why you're in business in the first place. It's what makes you a creative force to be reckoned with.

Yes, you are creative!

Most people I talk to think you have to be a "creative type" to have ideas like this. Not at all. My wife tells me all the time there isn't a stitch of creativity in her bones. I beg to differ. She loves to cook (and watch food shows non-stop). She has 3-ring notebooks filled with recipes she's collected from all over the place. She is, however dissatisfied with nearly every single one of them! I don't think she's cooked many meals to the exact specifications and ingredients found in those recipes. She changes it up. She adds or subtracts and gives it her spin. Why, she'll even turn a boxed dinner into a Wolfgang Puck-like masterpiece!

Look at the status quo in your business, your industry and the products and services being offered today. What ideas would you like to see advanced? What are you dissatisfied with? What's your spin - your recipe for serving up a delicious meal unlike anything we've ever tasted before? Next, lets look at how to best create interest in your idea in the story you tell.

Contrast creates tension, interest

contrast, like ying and yang creates interestNow that you have a strong central idea you're passionate about you need a way to help generate interest in it. Contrast is a powerful element in storytelling. Whether in movies, books, theater, art, speeches or song. Contrast reveals tension and tension creates identification, interest.

"Whenever I'm dressed cool
My parents put up a fight
(Uh huh, uh huh)
And if I'm hot shot
Mom will cut my hair at night
(Uh huh, uh huh)"

In the lyrics of Hair, Lady Gaga contrasts how her dress and attitude is perceived as rebellion against her parents - and how they want her to be. It reminds me (identification) of my own Dad imploring me to get my haircut before visiting home from college in the early 70s. And right now, you may be identifying with contrasting ideals, views, beliefs between you and a family member that created tension and conflict.

Programmed for contrast

Contrast is inescapable, it's everywhere. Instead of avoiding the differences, embrace them. Try incorporating the element of contrast in your blog to either describe the difference between what is with what could be with your solution (idea adopted) or in calling out alternate points of view.

Knowing your audience and how your views may be similar or different from theirs and then dealing with it by injecting a human element of storytelling is a powerful technique to engage interest. Once you've demonstrated that you're on your way to resolving the resistance to inspiring and guiding people to a new beginning.

An ending that is just the beginning

"What we call the beginning is often the end.Finish line or new beginning?
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from."
T.S. Elliot

What does Star Wars, Harry Potter and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo all have in common? One book ends and the next one begins. There's a continuity and body of work all supporting the main theme or central idea. Once your blog reader crosses the threshold to the new world the real work begins!

You can't just create one awe inspiring, story-based post and call it a day. You need to keep the story going and continue to support your engaged audience. Think in terms of developing a total body work as John Jantsch writes in Content as a Total Body of Work. Change is both exciting and scary. And quite often something must go in order to embrace the new. Help them sustain the commitment to adopt your idea by continuing to support it with more great content in context with their needs.

There are, of course, other elements of storytelling you can inject in your blog posts to woo your audience. Things like

  • using a story-based structure
  • instilling a human connection
  • audience segmentation and mentoring, and
  • mixing up the delivery with multiple forms of media. 

But I'll leave those for the next chapter on incorporating story in your blog writing!

What elements of storytelling have you tried in your blog?

Ying and Yang photo attribution: Flickr oli23000

Finish line photo attribution: Flickr lululemon athletica