A Guide to Blog Storytelling that Gets Readers Hooked
Blog storytelling is a great way to increase your readership, overall traffic, and subscriber rates.
A lot of new bloggers miss this vital opportunity from the start. Everyone loves a good story. And incorporating storytelling in your blog posts isn’t as difficult as you might think it is.
It’s ideal to practice some simple tactics for achieving a good blog storytelling strategy.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to start using storytelling techniques in your blog content and reap the rewards that come with it.
What is Blog Storytelling and why use it?
Humans have used storytelling for thousands of years.
It’s a way for us to communicate in a manner that makes others want to hear what we have to say. Stories come in all different shapes and sizes, too. These efforts of communication make us change our emotions as we tell or listen to them. Storytelling is all about emotional grasping of what is being said and read through various means of transmission.
Blog storytelling is very much related.
The idea of using a storytelling technique on a blog, especially a niche blog, is the idea of using emotionally driven copywriting techniques. A good copywriter must also be a good storyteller at the end of the day.
Telling a good story with your blog will allow you to catch the attention of your readers and potential new readers through means of emotion. It’s the best way to grow your readership, convert leads into customers, and get more subscribers.
By not using blog storytelling techniques, you miss so many growth opportunities and more.
Most bloggers miss these opportunities because they think storytelling is too hard. The sad part about that is that storytelling isn’t hard at all, and they completely miss out because of false perceptions. You should try not to be one of those bloggers.
Storytelling is easy to learn and easy to integrate into your blogging routine, no matter what niche you choose.
What Makes a Great Story?
There are many important components of a good story. Learn how to use these components to make blog storytelling an effective way to grow your blog.
A good blog story has passion in a few different ways.
You, as the writer, need to have a passion for what you write about. This all falls under your choice of blog niche. You should have chosen a niche that you’re passionate about. I love blogging, so this blog is something that I’m passionate about. It’s a topic that I never get sick of writing about. That’s the kind of niche that’s a passion.
Your content also needs to drive passion for those reading it. It needs to be written for a specific type of audience. The audience needs to match your passion for the subject. You are most likely a great example of what your audience avatar looks like. If the reader has no passion for your blog post, how will they be able to continue to enjoy your content?
If there is no passion, the is no story.
A story isn’t a story without emotion.
There are three main emotions you want to hit when using the technique of blog storytelling. These emotions are desire, anxiety, and happiness. You might use them all in the same story or use different ones in different stories.
Desire is a good emotion to use if you want to convince your readers to act on something. This is ideal for CTAs like subscribing to a newsletter or buying a product. You’ll add an emotional response that summons a desire to do the thing you’re promoting with your content.
Anxiety can be in the form of different sub-emotions. You could use anxiety to strike fear in a reader. You can make them sad. You can even use the emotion to make your reader angry. Anxiety is used in a lot of copywriting strategies, such as PAS. Pay attention to various forms of advertising on TV, radio, and the internet. You’ll start to notice how often the story is getting people anxious about something.
Happiness is a great way to get readers to act and to keep them coming back for more. If you create content that results in a reader leaving with a smile on their face, you can expect them to return again and again.
All these emotions are important and play a significant role in storytelling.
Stories about you don’t always work with blog storytelling, but sometimes they can.
The story must relate to the reader. The more it relates to them, the more they will focus on the story. You should always have the objective of creating a blog post that a reader can immediately relate to after they start reading it.
That’s how you get people hooked into reading your content.
If the story is just about something you’ve experienced and the reader can’t relate to it, why should they keep reading the post? They will get nothing out of it after reading it. If there is nothing in it for them, they’re not going to consume your content.
The story should only be about you if your experience is universal enough that the reader can immediately relate to it.
I blog about my blogging experience. I’ll tell a story about something I did to make blogging easier. My audience is people who want to get better at blogging. So, my story about me can easily relate to a reader.
A good story is something we can call our own story after we read it.
The Blog Storytelling Process
There is an important process for telling a great story. The same process applies to your blog storytelling efforts, too. It’s too risky just to wing it and hope for the best. You must have things in place before you publish the content.
Know Your Audience
The most important process is understanding who your blog audience is.
The only way you can tell a story to someone is to know who that someone is. No, you don’t have to know them on a personal level. You just need to know where they’re coming from and their needs and wants.
To know your audience, you must have already identified them in the blog niche selection process. Once identified, you’ll know what to write for your audience.
Write a story they can relate to. Make sure it taps into their emotions. Emotions will make people act on calls to act.
If you don’t know your audience, how will you know who to write for?
It’s important to have already selected your cornerstone content or core content before you start the storytelling process.
Cornerstone content is the topics your blog is specifically about. These topics are what make your blog more specific within a niche. For example, I have a hiking blog, and the core cornerstone topics that I mainly write about are “Shawnee National Forest Hiking Trails” and “Southern Illinois State Park Hiking Trails.” So, I know who exactly I’m writing for.
Once you have your cornerstone content chosen, you can make the blog storytelling process a lot easier because you know what and who your content is for.
Choosing a niche is important, but having cornerstone content is sometimes even more important.
Different Types of Stories
There are many different types of stories to be told in blogging.
The type of story usually depends on your niche and audience. However, many types of stories are universal to most blog niches and audiences on the internet. A few types of stories you could include in your blog content are:
- Personal Anecdotes: You can tell personal stories that are about you and something that you have experienced. However, it’s essential that your audience can easily relate and connect to the story you’re telling them.
- Inspirational Stories: Tell stories that inspire your readers to act on something. Tell them how to overcome an obstacle and get something done the right way.
- Informative Stories: These are often the most sought-after stories. This is when you educate and inform readers about something to do with your niche. These stories are for answering tough questions and solving the hardest problems in the industry.
- Travel Stories: This one often depends on the niche, but if you can integrate it into your blogging routine, it often yields great results. Travel is a big topic in the world. People want to see and read about what other people are doing in other countries.
- Case Studies: These stories are more academic and professional than most other types. These are the stories that will get credited in essays and cited in articles for factual and statistical data.
- Interviews: Interviews are great because more than one person is telling a story, something multiple stories, in which readers can relate to and connect with. This is especially helpful when interviewing someone that your readers are really interested in.
You shouldn’t feel like you need to stick with one type of story. You should experiment with different types to discover which ones work the best for you.
Plan Story Structure
Outlines make blogging life so much easier, especially when it comes to planning out the blog storytelling process.
Create your story outline before you start writing it. I created the outline of this post days before I started writing it. That way, once I did start writing it, I had an idea of what I originally intended to include in this post.
Outlines are where artificial intelligence begins to be very useful. You can get ideas about topics to cover by asking your favorite AI robot. It can even create your entire outline for you if you want to go that route. Just make sure you’re the one writing the main content, as AI can be wrong at times, and that will impact your reputation and not that of AI.
Create a story structure and outline. Include headings and sub-headings. All bulleted and numbered items of what topics you will cover in each heading and sub-heading. When you start to write it all out and fill in the blanks, it’ll be a breeze.
Make your blog storytelling process as simple as you can.
Write From Reader’s View
Have you ever read a story that resonated perfectly with how you see something?
That’s how you should write when telling a story on your blog. Write it from a reader’s point of view. Write it like you read a story that you could relate to and connect to. That will keep a reader hooked on what you have to say.
This is best done when you allow yourself to notice when stories grasp your attention this way. Start reading more if you haven’t already, and look for the stories that make you emotional. Look for the marketing value of the story.
Write for the reader if you want the content to shine in your community.
There are many copywriting frameworks in blogging. You can adopt as many as you want, but it’s always great to find the ones that work best for you and stick with them.
I’ll have to write an article one of these days solely on copywriting frameworks for blogging. It will take an entire article to cover at least the better ones. But for now, I can cover a few to get you started:
- AIDA: This framework stands for ATTENTION, INTEREST, DESIRE, and ACTION. Your story should grab the attention of your reader. Then it should make them interested in what you have to say. You should then give them a desire to perform the action you have included. Simple, effective, and a common framework used in blogging.
- PAS: This is probably my favorite framework for blog storytelling. It stands for PROBLEM, AGITATE, and SOLVE. You present the problem that your reader can resonate with. Then, you agitate the reader to get them emotionally invested in the content. After that, you provide the solution, which is usually a Call-to-Action that you’ve included in the content.
- 4P Framework: The 4P Framework stands for PICTURE, PROMISE, PROVE, and PUSH. Create a picture (or story) that your reader resonates with. Make a promise of what the reader will gain. Provide proof and evidence of your claim. Finally, push the reader to action on your call to action.
- FAB: This framework stands for FEATURE, ADVANTAGE, and BENEFIT. This is good for product posts or even product reviews. You’ll explain the features of the product. You’ll explain the advantages of each feature. Lastly, you’ll highlight the benefits of using the product. This framework is often used to make a sale.
- BAB: BAB stands for BEFORE-AFTER-BRIDGE. Describe a scenario before the actionable topic or product is used. Describe what the scenario would look like after the actionable topic or product is used. Then, bridge the gap between the two to explain how the actionable topic or product is associated with one another.
- 5W-H: This is a framework that most of us are already familiar with because we saw it used in school and everyday life. The 5W stands for Who, What, When, Where, and Why, and H stands for How. The framework is best used in a scenario where you need to provide as much detail as possible or even a landing page for a product or newsletter.
The most important part about these copywriting frameworks is that when you use them, they should effectively integrate into your blog storytelling strategies; otherwise, they’ll be a waste of real estate on your blog.
Have a Goal for Your Story
Before you even start to write your blog story, you need to have set a goal for it. Every post you publish should have a goal attached to it. The following topics can help you determine what goals to establish in case you’re stuck.
Develop a Hook
The first thing you need to do in terms of having a goal for your blog storytelling strategy is to create a hook.
Your hook should be in your headline or title. It should also be in your first paragraph, and each section should have a header with a hook in it. The idea here is to keep people hooked on your content.
Treat your blog post like it’s a novel. To make it a best seller, it needs to be loved by the masses.
You can do this with blog storytelling if you use hooks in your main content.
Auditing Every Sentence
Every sentence counts when telling a good story with your blog post.
Don’t add any kind of fluff or filler content intended to make your post longer in length. Each sentence needs to have a point to it. Each sentence needs to keep the attention of the reader.
If a sentence doesn’t keep a reader interested in what you have to say, you’ll lose the reader. Every word you add counts when doing blog storytelling. All it takes is that one sentence to make a reader stop, press back, and read something else.
Adding words just to dictate the length of your post isn’t a good practice.
Use Other Stories as an Example
Bloggers should read other blogs that they can relate to.
If you find a story on another blog that you can resonate with, you can use that story as an example to inspire you to do better at blog storytelling with your own writing.
It doesn’t have to be a blog, either.
I find stories on the podcast show called The Moth to be inspiring to help me tell a story when I write my blog posts.
Find what stories inspire you and determine how you can take the structure of the inspiration and apply it to your own content.
Get Inspired Locally
If you can find local inspiration for your storytelling process, you should try to find it.
The Moth (mentioned above) does local storytelling events all over the world. Maybe you can find one around you or another similar event where you can watch storytelling in a live environment.
Maybe friends and family can inspire you. Maybe a local art show or museum is what can inspire you.
Find someone local that you can resonate with to help you tell a better story.
Align Your Story with Your Content
Make sure you tell a story about yourself, too.
But your story needs to be aligned with your content. Your story needs to be able to resonate with those who are reading your blog.
Sometimes, working on your own story can help you be a better storyteller in the process. This is especially true if you’re trying to shape your story to resonate with your readers. It’s a learning experience on how to tell a better story.
Any story you tell on your blog needs to be relevant to those who read it. You write for them, after all.
Make it Personable and Relatable.
As I mentioned above, blog storytelling needs to relate to the reader on a personal level.
A reader doesn’t want to read a story if they can’t relate to it. It’s easy to want to tell a story that you enjoy, even when it’s not relevant to the reader. We’re human, after all.
But a blog is typically meant for the reader, and it’s geared to help them with their issues.
So, you must remember to write stories for the reader and not for you.
Add Images to Blog Storytelling
Your blog post needs to have images added throughout when appropriate.
Visual scenes quickly capture the attention of a reader. It makes them stop scrolling or scanning through your content. Most of us scan, especially when using mobile devices. So, it’s easy to quickly get through content by scanning.
You can tell a story with words and images. If you combine the two, you can have a very powerful blog storytelling infrastructure in place.
Make sure you use high-quality, visually appealing images, but they need to be small in file size so that your blog can still load quickly.
Add a CTA to Blog Storytelling
A good blog post needs a good CTA.
What’s a CTA, you ask? It’s a call to action. A CTA is the reason why most of us write blog posts. We want the reader to do something because of reading the post. I want you to subscribe to my weekly newsletter. That’s typically my CTA.
You may have something similar, or maybe you are trying to sell something.
Whatever the case is as far as your CTA goes, you need to tell a great story on your blog that encourages readers to act.
If your story isn’t good, don’t expect your CTA to get any action.
Provide Knowledge and Education
Most stories need to provide some kind of value.
This is especially true for niche blogs. When you provide your readers with value, they’ll come back again and again. If you can’t provide them with value, they might go to a different blog to get it. In fact, this is how it usually works.
The best way to provide value is to provide knowledge and education to your reader.
Answer their questions. Solve their problems. Teach them how to do something. Make all this extremely easy with a simple read of your blog post.
Make sure you use your blog storytelling techniques to provide this information in a way where readers can resonate and connect with your content.
Try to make this a habit in every blog post you create.
Blog Storytelling Resources
If you need more information and resources on how to start blog storytelling, I’d love to help you. I’ve compiled this great list of resources to further help you out with being a better storyteller.
Here are some great blogs to help you with your storytelling techniques:
- The Moth – A popular storytelling platform that has been around for more than twenty years.
- Storytelling with Data – A blog providing data-driven storytelling techniques.
- Story Mastery – A storytelling article page by Michael Hauge.
- Yes Yes Marsha – Learn the magic bullet for powerful storytelling.
- Matthew Dicks – Award-winning storyteller helping you tell better stories.
- Copyblogger – A blog focusing on copywriting, which is a form of storytelling.
Here are some great forums and online communities focusing on writing and storytelling:
- Writing Forums – An online writing community with over 15,000 members.
- Society for Storytelling – A Facebook group that posts events about storytelling.
- Udemy – The ultimate storytelling course updated for 2024.
- Skill Share – Various storytelling courses are brought to you by Skill Share.
Here are some great podcasts that focus on storytelling:
- The American Life – Stories geared at Americans and American activities.
- The Moth Podcast – A very popular storytelling podcast that features live event storytelling.
Storytelling In-Person Groups
Here are some in-person storytelling group links:
- Meet Up Events – Storytelling group events listed on Meet Up.
- The Moth – One of the oldest in-person storytelling organizations around.
Blog Storytelling FAQ
Here are some commonly asked questions and answers concerning blog storytelling.
Why is blog storytelling so important?
Storytelling allows you to create a blog post that resonates with your readers. When readers can relate to your content, it often encourages them to keep reading. Storytelling is a way to get more readers and engagement on your blog.
Is it easy to tell a good story?
It is for good storytellers. If you’ve never told a story, then the best thing to do is listen to them. Find the stories you resonate with and then reverse engineer them to understand why you connect with them so much. Once you do that and understand it, you’ll be able to easily tell a great story with your posts.
Can I tell a good story if I hate writing?
Yes. You will just have to find a better means to tell the story. If writing isn’t for you, maybe podcasting or video is.
Can I use artificial intelligence for storytelling?
You can use it to help you write a story and even have the whole story written by AI. However, unless you’re doing it as a known project, I would recommend against having AI write your stories. They’ll lack that human connection that people want to grasp. If anyone ever figures out that AI writes your posts, they might not be able to trust you again.
How long will it take me to be an expert storyteller?
There is no timeline of success for being an expert storyteller. You might already be one. Maybe you tell stories through your voice rather than by blog posts. The best way to get better at anything is to constantly do the thing you want to get better at. You should practice your storytelling skills as often as you can to get better at them.
Final Thoughts About Storytelling
Blog storytelling is a great way to get more readers and subscribers to your blog. However, not all storytelling techniques work for blogging as stated above. Follow the advice above to get better at telling a story with your blog content, no matter what your niche is about.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post, please share it with other bloggers you know.
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About the Author
Shawn Gossman has created content, blogged, ran online communities, and shared a passion for digital marketing for over twenty years. Shawn believes the best way to help content creators, businesses, brands, and marketers is to give away more than you sell. The same advice is recommended for the readers that follow this blog. Shawn also offers a variety of services for extra help in the area of content creation, blogging, forums, and digital marketing. Learn more about Shawn Gossman by clicking here.
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