You know whose fault it is – yours – but don’t worry – there’s a centuries-old technique that makes a blog post on how to do your taxes seem so awesome it invokes excitement. Not only does it keep your reader awake, it keeps them coming back for more.
When you tell a story, you’re relating something in a way that resonates and connects. It’s simple, unexpected, credible and it taps into our emotions. This is the best way to grab a reader’s interest, especially someone with a very short attention span who quickly scans content on a smartphone looking for solutions to a problem.
Great storytellers (and great bloggers) follow a narrative technique called the dramatic arc or more officially Freytag’s Pyramid.
How do we get that kind of passion into our guest posts? Think about your audience. Think again from their perspective and begin to write for them.
First, concentrate on your headline. Write out at least 20 headlines and keep massaging them until one resonates. Remember to consider the audience. It has to resonate with them and be relevant to them otherwise there’s no point to it.
It might be oil & gas executives worried about profitability – your headline would mention how they could increase their margins. Likewise, if you’re writing about the specific nutritional needs of children of single mothers, your title might tap into their personal fears.
Don’t be overly clever in the headline; just include information immediately useful to the target audience. It may take some time to get the headline the way you want it, but the effort is well worth it. Remember to tie it to your target audience’s emotions.
- Who are you writing for (Audience Identification & Back-Story)?
- Who are you (Introduce the Writer/Narrator)?
- What is the problem this post solves (Related Incidents)?
- What do you want from the reader (Manage Expectations)?
- What gives you the right to provide advice? (Build Credibility)
- When is the story set (Time-Frame)?
- When will the turning point occur (Climax)?
- Where do you want to take your audience (Falling Action)?
- Where is the demand for this product or service (Soft-Sell)?
- Where can we get this product/service/ or see this idea in action (Establish Relevance)?
- Why do we even care about this (the Take-Away or what’s in it for me?)
- How did we get to this point (Resolution & Lessons Learned)
- How can your product/service/idea be implemented (Next Steps)?
- How is your post unique (Examples, References)?
Be authentic at all times and be sure to remove any jargon that may creep into your post. Being authentic demonstrates that what you’ve learned from your mistakes forms the basis of your content. Remember, perfect people aren’t interesting, but imperfections are.
Lastly, ask yourself what you want your audience to feel. For any examples you provide, can you think of any ways to add emotion to them? The best way to build emotion is through anecdotes. How can you illustrate your point by providing examples to support your point?
“Stories need sensory detail to stick in the mind. Experience is what happens when the body makes sense of what it hears, smells, tastes, sees, and touches. Crawl down the ladder of telling them what to think and provide a raw simulated experience they can’t forget.”
There are also practical storytelling considerations. As we said before, you must have a powerful headline that is tied to the underlying emotional investment that resonates with people. They become connected to the story even before they’ve even read it.
Be as brief as possible when providing your core message. It must add value and solve problems while entertaining or enlightening your target audience. Keep your text easy to read by using short paragraphs that have visual appeal on a mobile device.
Include information about yourself. This includes admitting your thoughts and emotions behind your topics. The internal conversations (disappointment, frustration, revealing joy or enthusiasm without fear) you have with yourself about certain business topics. Doing so clearly demonstrates you are human and can be trusted.
Take a look at the National Storytelling Network for ideas on how to become a master storyteller.
Brand stories are now the most important currency of the war for capturing our customers' attention. With both marketing and psychological studies indicating that stories are the best way to communicate a message, brand managers and online marketers are moving their customers through powerful brand stories.