This post is part of the #letsblogoff collaborative blog community.
A few days ago, my friend Stan (@pushingsocial) published a post called What if you only had 20 posts left? The post is about Wael Ghonim, a man who started a Facebook page that helped inspire the revolution in Egypt. The point Stan makes is that we really don’t live our blogs to the fullest, right? We put in content, and we shovel it out, and we entirely take it for granted. We may not always put our best work out there.
Now, Stan could have just created a post that said that stuff. But instead, he overlaid his message with the story of Wael Ghonim. It’s a great story, and a great technique.
One could say that storytelling via blog posts is an increasingly common recommendation. If you skim the most popular posts at Copyblogger.com, for example, you see advice on how to make your copy sticky, how to envelope your readers in what you’re saying, and how to infuse your personality into everything you write. One of the most popular posts, and one of my favorites from 2010, uses the story of Eminem to make immensely important points about blogging.
But why do we need these stories? Why can’t we just take good advice and motivate ourselves to use it?
Five reasons to tell a story in your blog posts
Here are five reasons why I think people gravitate towards stories in blog posts.
1. When a writer tells a story, he or she edges a bit more into being who they really are. The temptation to be entirely button down and professional seems to drift away, and in its place is a real live human being sharing thoughts and experiences.
2. Stories prove we’re not making it up. If Stan had written the post he did about how a single post or action can create a revolution without the story he wove into the post, it would not have had the punch. But he told not just a story, but a true story. A current events story. We now see that he has a really important point to make backed up by reality.
3. Stories build bridges. We all come to our blogs with our own personal experiences, our own “baggage,” as it were. By telling a story, whether it’s about ourselves or someone else, we build a bridge between ourselves and our readers. “Here,” we seem to say. “You may not have lived my life, so let me tell you a little about it so we can start in the same place.”
4. Stories can be passed on. There are so many tidbits of wisdom floating around in the online world. Stories, however, well, they are like snowflakes. No two are exactly alike. They stick with us and we want to share them. We want to see how other people react to them. We want to see if they are moved the same way we were.
5. The Bait and Switch. A lot of bloggers will approach blogs from the standpoint of being an expert. “Here’s why you should do things my way, and here’s why I’m right and you’re dumb.” You’ve seen those posts before, I’m sure. If you tell a story though, you lure readers in. It’s like fishing – you’ve got a real nice and juicy worm just hanging out there, and people can’t resist clicking “Read more.” Then, you bring in the moral of the story, just like Aesop, and the person has learned your feelings about something without even realizing it.
You and stogging
Do you tell a lot of stories in your posts? Do you try to bring in other people, other experiences, and other perspectives, or do you keep the spotlight on the point you’re trying to get across? Have you found that people respond better when you weave a story into your regularly scheduled programming, or do you think this is all a bit of hogwash?
I’d love to hear your story!
image by Andre Larsson. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Didi90