This post includes a story of personal transformation. I wish the same for you, so learn from these stories
This thought has definitely crossed your mind before…
The one that scratches at the back of your creative mind…
The question that seems like just a basic dose of insecurity on an average day…
The one thought that seems to be hold the weight of your Blogging stress…
“Does my content matter to anyone?”
And it freezes you. Like ice…
You begin to ask yourself if there’s something wrong with how you relay a message. Am I capable of reaching people deeply? Or am I just writing based on my own experience, but no one cares?
If as a writer, you have felt this deep level of self inspection and doubt…
You’re not alne, but your also not going to remain this way for long.
I have the real secret waiting or you…Don’t tell anyone about this secret…ok?
Think of it as a gift from me to you…
A Story matters. But why?
Let me tell you a story…
On a quiet summer afternoon many years ago, I bumped into an old high school friend. I bumped into him, and his Ferrari.
I immediately asked him how he had been all these years, even though I could make a few assumptions based on his $700,000 performance car…
He proceeded to tell me that he was a writer, more specifically, a copywriter. I had no idea what this was. And neither had anyone I knew…
So in the scorching heat, we chatted.
And before long, we were sitting in the Ferrari with powerful air conditioning. The cool air hit my face and cooled me off.
I had only been inside a Ferrari at a car show in Vancouver, where I now live.
And as I sat there, enjoying the unprecedented luxury of a top performing sports car…
I asked him...
“So how can I get into Copywriting?”
He laughed and said this: “You can teach yourself to do it, just like I did.
I hardly heard what he said because I was distracted by the space-age features inside the car he owned.
“You can teach yourself everything about copywriting online.”
“Yeah for sure, and I can get you in contact with a guy who teaches it, Dan Lok. But listen man I’ve got to jet out of here, can I drop you off at home?”
I said sure, and we travelled in style to my mid-class neighbourhood and I sighed loudly as I exited the beautiful Ferrari and looked at my building.
“John? How log did it take you to be successful as a copywriter?”
“I started right out of high school, so I had an advantage over a lot of people.”
“I’ll be sure to look into it, and you said you could put me in contact with a powerful copywriting teacher?”
“Oh yeah, thanks for the reminder. Give me your email address.”
I gave John my email address, and he peeled off into the hot asphalt. He was gone in seconds, but my desire to become a Copywriter stayed forever.
And today I enjoy my income as it is, 6 times my old income. And that is the power of stories. I was forever changed my John’s experience in life (And his red Ferrari).
So what can stories do for your brand? And your Blog?
You’re about to find out. Let’s go back in time and find out.
Fasten your seatbelt.
The Incredible Power of Stories: An Example
The human mind is powerful, but also greedy for stories that increase their understanding of the world. We’re addicted to stories because we get the thrill of a new experience without risking pain or hardship ourselves. And they’re a form of communication. We live and relive events through stories.
As humans, words are perhaps our most powerful tools. Words have crushed souls and built empires. So let me tell you a little story about the true power of words.
This is the story of Scheherazade. She was a young virgin woman who lived under the rule of a violent king. A king who has witnessed the unfaithfulness of his wife, and his brothers wife. So he decided to go on a killing spree to prevent this from recurring.
Many citizens of the empire fled the city to spare their daughters from death. But one brave soul decided to make a difference, and stop the murders. With a story, no doubt.
Scheherazade crafted a plan to marry the king, and make him spare her, and stop the madness.
It wouldn’t be enough to simply ask the King for mercy, he was beyond reasoning.
What the king did was this. He would claim a virgin woman each day, and have her executed the next day without a second thought. But stories had a role in changing that empire back to a peaceful one.
Every night, Scheherazade would tell a story, and each night would leave the story on a cliffhanger, and would promise to continue the story the next day. And this went on for 1001 days.
This storytelling is the stuff of legend. And it saved many lives.
The end of this story lead to the peaceful resolution of the problem, when the king began to see the error of his ways, and married young Scheherazade afterwards.
But this couldn’t possibly be so powerful could it? I’ll tell you the rest at the end.
Why a 30,000-Year-Old Method Still Works Now
People have been around for a long time. So a lot of stories have been told.
And because stories allow us to learn something new without the expense of time or energy, we crave stories. You might as well put up a wanted sign for stories, because you’ll need them…
It’s simply psychological. And it’s hardwired into us like the desire to eat and drink, because we love to learn something with zero risk involved.
It’s the reason why we watch The Queen’s Gambit for 8 episodes in a row. It’s the reason why Jerry Springer has a net worth f over 60 million. people love drama. Why?
Because drama without actual risk is fun. Imagine watching a video of snowboarders jumping 200′ cliffs with gopro’s? It’s full of risky drama just because we wouldn’t do it ourselves…
But what a story…
What a view…
What an experience…
You may be thinking…
“I don’t care for snowboarding, I like to stay at home”
But have you ever been guilty of checkig Facebook 35 times per day?
Do you watch peoples stories?
Author David Mamet famously stated, “The audience will not tune in to watch information. You wouldn’t, I wouldn’t. No one would or will. The audience will only tune in and stay tuned in to watch drama.”
When you think about it, that’s exactly the reason we read the entertainment, sports, even politics section of the news.
Humans crave drama – so feed it to them like candy!
But how does this apply to you as a blogger?
Get Noticed. Not Left Behind.
Stories are emotional, have you ever seen the Titanic? It creates emotions of love, excitement, and fear. It does it so well that the movie rings through the history books, and is revered as a story no one will forget.
Did you know stories are 22 times more memorable than bare facts?
They’re memorable for a reason. They are stories which create powerful feelings within us.
Pack any bit of information you want to pass on to your reader into a story, and it will stay with him. Stories mean emotion, and emotion means deeply engraving the lesson into your reader’s brain.
Here is a demonstration. Which advice would you have listened to more closely?
“Don’t ride your bicycle with no hands, you could fall and hurt yourself.”
“Jimmy across the will never walk again after he fell down the cliff, while riding with no hands.”
Which one creates an emotional response within you?
Walking for the rest of your life right?
Here’s some strange truth. It dosent make sense, but it the truth. Are you listening?
The truth about Blogging, is that it requires stories to become instilled in your readers minds…
Even when the information could be of massive benefit to the reader…
So if your providing SEO services, maybe tell the story of your most successful client, who’s improved SEO score made the difference in revenue for him, allowing him to keep his home during the pandemic…
Would that make people fell something? You bet it would…especially if you knew you were targeting people who need SEO services and have trouble not selling their home for a quick fix.
How would that affect them? Would it make them fell less alone? And would it make them feel like they can achieve the same results?
What do you think they would do next? Invest in some quality SEO services. And not just any, the one that made success for the other guy too.
Anyway, the basic fact is that people would rather be entertained that eduacted. Which might axplain the massive income gap among Americans…
But that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about the difference between rich people and poor people being a lack of education.
We’re talking about how stories connect with people almost on a cellular level.
Whether they know it or not, your readers are also surfing the Internet for distraction. And if you can include stories in your blog, you’ll make reading fun. And they’ll stick around.
Check this next part out…
Storytelling: The Necessary Tool For Bloggers
You may not believe it yet, but you can use storytelling for virtually any blogging topic. Haven’t started a Blog yet?
Would you like an example? Tied to a story about my life?
One day I was driving my 1991 Honda Civic across the bridge from Abbotsford into Mission city, because I was going to help a friend move into his new house.
I had done this literally thousands of times with my old but reliable car.
It was reliable…
I was turning an aggressive hairpin turn leading up to the bridge.
And I’ll point out that this particular route was famous for fast travelling cement trucks attempting to get somewhere as fast as possible…
I was leaning left as centrifugal force pushed me against the pressure.
I was going pretty fast, and I had the radio playing loudly.
All of a sudden, my radio cut out, my power steering failed, and my car was completely unresponsive. This was scary
A barreling cement truck came just as it usually does, and it swerved swiftly to avoid killing me in a crash. Luckily after 5 minutes a kind gentleman with a truck capable of pulling me with a rope arrived.
He pulled me safely out of harms way and asked for nothing in return.
He looked under my hood, and said “Oh my god buddy, it’s your timing belt!” Your lucky your engine didn’t explode.”
He then told me where I could go to get it fixed, and he told me how a similar thing happened to him on the Coquihalla highway…
He them waited for the tow truck to arrive, and he gave directions to a reputable automotive shop that could repair my timing belt as a low cost.
Guess what? I went there 6 more times afterwards. Because the story and the experience permanently changed me. I didn’t think twice about where to repair my car afterwards. And me and that gentlemen are friends to this day.
But you can also use storytelling for posts that just contain bare lists, like a list of resource links. Just put your story in the opening or the closing of the post.
Here is the basic rule: You can tell a story in any post that includes at least a little snippet of continuous text.
And your secret weapon of storytelling isn’t just limited to posts. You can use stories to sell products or to connect with your list as well. In addition, your story may not even be required to be true.
Examples Of Story Supporters
Alright, let’s whip out the lasso and pull in the strongest, top performing writers and get them in one place. Capturing them can be difficult…like at a rodeo…ye-haww
The purpose of a roundup is to collect valuable information and posts from leaders in the field. Do the leaders in the field have stories? Are you finding out? Are you telling their stories and linking up with them?
I hope so, because if you’re not connecting with people and sharing their stories as well, you’re not tapping into the strongest method of information sharing.
Now let’s get into the next one…
- Interviews with famous people.
Imagine if Oprah interviewed YOU?
What would happen to your Linkedin views? What about your friend requests on Facebook? Would they see a small difference or a big unswing?
I want to give you some applicable examples. For example, would you be interested in reading about seven applications of storytelling that can supercharge any audiences interest?
- “Reality check” posts. Paint the future story of the best case and worst case scenarios: What will happen if the reader doesn’t change their behavior? What will happen if they do? Show the domino effect of good or bad events. Once you have a chronological sequence, you have a story — things are happening one after the other.
- Service Reviews. Tell the story of how a time management product “saved your life” or a fertilizer killed your favorite plant. But be truthful – this is not the place for invented stories.
- Emails. Personal stories help subscribers identify with you, but writing about your grandma’s gum surgery will look odd without the relevant context, so link it to your blog topic. A photography blogger might tell the story of toppling over backwards trying to shoot a photo of the tip of the Eiffel Tower. And by the way, to achieve a pleasant contrast when shooting against a bright sky, this is what you have to do…
- Sales Pages. If you have a product or service to sell (or from your affiliates) or you can make money with, write testimonials as success stories. In addition to written testimonials, you can request a series of video testimonials to power up the credibility of your top customers.
- About Pages. Using personal stories on your “About” page helps you appear like a real human being – not a faceless digital ghost. Also, choose stories that make you stand out, even if it’s in an awkward way. For example, if I had an about page, I might tell the story of how I became a Copywriter and what my mission statement is.
- Cause and effect posts. Let’s say you decide to lead the fight against a new regulation your readers hate. Tell the story of that witty email you wrote to the bureau, starting with the hopeless quest to find the email of the right person. It’s David versus Goliath, and readers love to root for the underdog, because it’s a challenge that may have a good outcome, and it’s zero risk to them…
Look at UFC.
- Opinion posts. Describe an experience that led you to form your opinion, and describe it in the form of a story. Look at the topic and find an association that holds a story, because once you make that connection, you have made something built to last in your readers mind.
As you can see, bloggers can use stories just about anywhere. In addition to that, make sure to add a personal touch to everything you do.
And all you have to do it make a connection between 2 things, that teaches the readers something. In addition, it gives your readers a memorable lesson to take away with them.
5 Stories Multipliers
Here are just a few of the ways stories can lend power to your writing. Now of course, these are the fundamentals of adding power to your stories, by infusing them with these powerful methods.
1. Stories Add Clarity and Credibility
Alright, it’s time to prove to your readers why this story matters, and why it applies to their lives. If it does not, you’re at a large disadvantage.
Your stories purpose is to create certainty about something in our readers mind. Create something within them that changes the way they think or behave. People trust the opinions of people similar to them, because let’s be honest, if you wanted to gain body mass, would you trust a personal trainer, or a skinny guy?
If you wanted to know how good the PS5 is….
You would trust your best friend who owns it, rather than the guy at Gamestop right?
If you want to demonstrate a point, a story is ideal because it shows how your lesson played out in the real world. A story is like a testimonial for your tip. It helps to weight the odds…
2. Stories Bond You to Your Readers
A Masai Warrior and a New York stockbroker live in totally different realities, but they both know the joys of a task well done or the fear of losing someone. The one thing they have in common are the same emotions.
If you tell your own story and share your emotions, you’ll bond the reader to you, because instantly you will make something happen within their brains, and they won’t be the same afterwards.
Sarah Peterson lays it all out about how she struggled in her relationship while becoming an entrepreneur. Sarah’s readers share the goal of leaving the 9-to-5 grind, so this is a courageous post that taps deeply into their fears and desires. It makes the reader feel understood.
In your bonding story, share your authentic feelings. Letting your most private feelings go public for the whole world to see can be scary. But these feelings are exactly what will make your story work so well.
3. Stories Provide Entertainment and Variety
People love to be entertained. So share something fun, outrageous, or surprising.
Chuck Wendig, in this example, shows off his radical and entertaining writing style. In an imaginary conversation about a figure his reader created, he writes:When I talk to you about your character, and you start to tell me, “Well, she has to find the DONGLE OF MAGIC to fight the WIZARD OF BADNESS and then she tames HORBERT THE MANY-HEADED DRAGON,” I immediately start to cross my eyes. I emit drool. I have a small seizure and then fall into a torpid grief-coma. Grief over what you’ve done to the human condition.
The post wouldn’t have lost any information without this paragraph, but it’s fun and draws the reader in.
4. Stories Help You Win Your Reader’s Attention
The purpose of your opening is to catch the reader’s attention and draw them into your post. Stories do this naturally, because we are hard wired to learn from stories and learn from them.
This post begins “Food changed my life,” and the phrase is strange enough to get readers curious. How could something as commonplace as food have changed the author’s life? What does he mean? Is it about losing weight? Or the hidden additives in our modern diet? Or the torturous taste of fried tarantula?
Reading on, the author talks of pushing his trolley among “soulless food” and of how he “hates food.” We all need food, so how can he possibly hate it? (And still, we might have secretly felt the same way some time after consuming too much McDonald’s food.)
Each new sentence seems to raise as many questions as it answers, and before the reader knows it, they’re drawn deeply into your post and train of thought.
So throw your reader a hook, let them bite, and reel them in on the fishing line of their own curiosity and appetite for drama.
5. Stories Inspire People to Take Action
One of the best ways to close your posts is with a call to arms – inviting your reader to act now.
So use a story to paint a vivid and inspiring future for your reader.
Do that, and you won’t have to search for readers. They’ll search for you. You’ll boot up your computer one morning to find thousands upon thousands of them waiting for you, ready to listen, ready to learn, ready to launch into action.
And that’s when you’ll realize: you’re not just a writer anymore. Word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, you’re changing the world.
Maybe you’re like Don [Draper, from ‘Mad Men’], lying on a couch, sipping a glass of bourbon, or maybe you’re not. Either way, you gotta admit…
It’s pretty freaking cool.
Jon Morrow skillfully fires up his reader’s emotions, and boy, do you want to go out and write after reading it.
How to Find the Perfect Story for Any Situation
Having been convinced of the universal power of storytelling – even for bloggers – you might be wondering where your stories come from.
How do you find that mesmerizing story idea that will bring life to your post?
In truth, all your idea needs is the secret ingredient we’ve already mentioned: strong emotions!
Turn on the TV, open a magazine – you will always see the same forms of drama. Nothing special about it, but people are eating it up like hot fudge.
How you present is much more important than what you present. So don’t panic because you think you need to rewrite Gone with the Wind.
Whether your story covers a single phrase, a whole section, or your entire post, first you should identify the point you want to make.
Then look for a story that expresses your point as neatly as possible.
Well, just in case it doesn’t seem simple just yet, let’s look at a specific example.
Say you run a “home and garden” blog and want to write a post about buying furniture, in particular how to match colors and fabrics.
What type of stories could you use to enhance your post?
The following are a few different story types you could draw upon for your furniture post.
1. Stories Where You are the Main Character
The first option is to exploit your personal experiences. You already know that it makes for a strong connection with your reader.
In our example, if you ever worked in a store selling furniture, you should feel like you won the lottery.
Granted, that’s not very likely. But maybe you could draw a parallel with an experience you did have? What about that summer job in a clothing store you took in your teens? Clothes require careful combinations too. You could tell a story of your worst-dressed customer as an analogy for a room full of poorly coordinated furniture.
Remember, everybody, including you, has a myriad of stories to tell; most people just don’t dare to tell them publicly. Your life is an accumulation of stories. Draw from your wealth of experiences.
Societal norms have put filters into our heads. So go ahead and be the one who dares to shake people out of their fatigue by telling them something raw and authentic.
The more inner resistance you feel to telling your story, the better it is: You are involved emotionally. Transfer your emotions onto the page and the reader. He will love you for it.
2. Stories You Have Heard or Read
What did your ex-roommate once tell you about his Dad’s obsession with antique furniture? What about your cousin’s eccentric taste in pillow covers? And what did you learn from that documentary the other day about glassware?
We are constantly bombarded with an avalanche of stories from family, friends, acquaintances, and the media. Make mental notes. Use the boring small talk at the next garden party to extract interesting stories from strangers – you will also have a better time than asking how their kids are doing for the third time.
Draw upon these stories in your writing. There is a reason why you remember them; some piece of it connected with you. Find the part that got you interested in the first place, and parade it. It will also be the most interesting part for your reader.
3. Stories You Find on The Internet
One tool offers an inexhaustible supply of stories.
It’s your old friend Google. And while an unfocused Google search can be like diving down a rabbit hole, finding the right story is usually just a matter of using the right keywords.
History is an endless source of great stories. (The term even contains the word “story.”) Look how Mark Manson fills an entire 4,000-word post with countless historical mini-stories. Even the tabloid papers would have a hard time coming up with that much sex and personal drama.
For my furniture-related post, I Googled “Victorian furniture styles,” and found this Wikipedia link, which mentions how plaster was scored to look like stone and graining was used on woods to imitate higher quality. You could easily tell a story about how it was fashionable in Victorian times to fake surfaces to seem higher class.
I chose “Victorian” just as a random era to make my search more concrete — generic queries tended to produce generic results. If “Victorian” hadn’t worked, I’d have tried other eras such as “Renaissance.”
4. Stories From Your Reader’s Life
Try to put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Have you been where he is now? If not, give it your best guess. Which concerns could be on his mind right now?
Whoever your reader is, if he is reading a post about how to match furniture, he quite likely is in the process of furnishing his new house or apartment. So why not begin the post like this:Is all of the planning and combining starting to annoy you?
Curtains here, rugs there. The couch finally fits with the cupboard, but now it doesn’t fit with the side table.
Furnishing an apartment can be a headache, especially when you are not sure how to combine all the different pieces.
And notice how most of the story is implied. The narrative isn’t explicit – this happened, then this happened – but it’s there behind the scenes. It’s implied by sentences like “The couch finally fits with the cupboard, but now it doesn’t fit with the side table.” We can imagine hours of trial and error trying to combine different items of furniture from a catalog or website.
You could also tell your reader’s story indirectly by choosing a personal story they’ll relate to. Consider who your audience is – which stories from your life will they relate to best?
If you started a blog about parenting, that might be a story about a teething baby. Readers of a tattoo blog would be more interested in the story of the first time you were “inked.”
5. Stories You Just Made Up (It’s Okay)
The point of a great story is to draw your reader in, entertain them, and leave them with a message. And a story doesn’t have to be true to achieve these goals.
So if you don’t have a story, invent one.
Of course, there are limits. Never lie about your biography (education, career, big merits), never lie about another existing person, and don’t fake events to provoke opinions. Don’t explicitly claim your invented story is true either.
For the furniture blog post, you could make up a story of someone newly rich, with almost unlimited budget, whose expensive furniture was combined so badly that house guests laughed at his lack of taste. Your message? That a beautifully furnished room is not limited by budget.
Build a Devoted Following through the Magic of Storytelling
Armed to the teeth with storytelling tools, you can now engage your readers’ emotions like never before.
Remember, you’ve told hilarious stories during family holiday dinners or when you were alone with your best friend. Telling stories on your blog is easy too.
With enormous courage and wit, she managed the unthinkable: After firing up the king’s passion night after night with her thrilling stories about wonders, love, and danger, he spared her life and made her his queen.
Scheherazade saved her own life, and thousands of others (the king’s future brides), with the mesmerizing power of storytelling.
Here is the point: We humans are raw and vulnerable. We want to see ourselves reflected in others and we want to experience truth (even if it’s not always fact) – which is why we love to immerse ourselves in the pain and the joy of a sweeping story.
Give people the stories they are so desperately longing for and they will strongly engage with your writing – as they will feel your message to the core.
You have magnificent, unbelievable stories, begging to be told.
The question is: do you have the courage to tap into your deepest emotions and share them with the world?
Because if you do, your readers will be your loyal audience forever.
Tell stories to connect readers. Connect emotionally. Create trust by sharing experiences.