There’s no denying the intrigue we feel when we experience a great story. That captivating sense of wonder, excitement and vicarious life experience can reach us in many formats.
Stories have a way of staying with us, whether it's from reading a beloved novel, watching a show or listening to your aunt recount the night her car broke down and she had to hitch a ride with a family of circus acrobats in full costume. With a little bit of practice, that same level of page-turning — or page-scrolling — engagement can find its way into your copywriting.
Read on to learn how the art of storytelling can help spruce up your blog posts, engage readers and make your precious information not only informative and entertaining, but memorable too.
Why Does Storytelling Work?
Most of us can probably agree that, if given the choice, we’d much rather read a good action story than slog through a hefty instruction manual. Both activities require an exchange of information, but one of them feels like drool-inducing work, and the other feels like spine-tingling entertainment.
But what about informative copy? Like your blog? The one about osteoporosis.
Great blogs are all about delivering useful information to readers, but the exchange doesn’t have to end there. Like sneaking veggies into your daughter’s smoothie, facts can be fun, too — they swear it!
Facts presented to readers or viewers as part of a story are about 22 times more memorable than when presented as facts alone. In fact, experiencing a story leaves a physical and emotional trace in our brains. These are effects bare bones information simply can’t compare with. Facts need a good side-kick. They need a good story.
The Link Between Story and Memory
Owing to the narrative flow, vivid imagery and excitement we get from a little dose of drama, it’s much easier for us to connect to a story than a fact sheet.
When nervous nine-year-old Iliza’s austere teacher wants her to remember a string of numbers like 1527389, here’s how storytelling can help our impressionable young student out.
Let’s bake them into a story:
Last week, one stray poodle wandered into a coffee shop. The waiter was so shocked, he spilled five cappuccinos all over his two hands. He screamed so loud, seven customers stormed out, and only three remained. Meanwhile, the poodle leapt up onto the counter, gobbled up eight donuts and took a nap for nine hours.
Hurray! Iliza has a much better chance of staying engaged and remembering the sequence now. But how does this help your blog? Great question. Keep reading.
How to Use Storytelling in Blog Posts
Some topics, like personal development, lend themselves to storytelling. Others, not so much. The good news is that even a car maintenance blog can tap into storytelling devices to keep readers engaged.
Here are just a few ways you can incorporate storytelling into your blog posts:
If you have personal experience with the post topic, bring it into the copy
Include client/customer testimonials and allow people to share their own experiences
Present factual information by using examples of how this information might affect a fictional character, or how they can use it to their advantage
Bookend posts that rely on informative lists, such as recipes, with stories about the topic, what it means to you or why you chose it
Become a thought leader with opinion pieces that include the story of how you came to form your unique perspective
If your blog includes interviews, frame your questions with information about the interviewee’s own story and how it relates to the question or topic at hand
Illustrate dry information with colorful hypothetical characters and scenarios
Long after a prospective client reads your blog, they might need your product or service. If they perused competitors’ blogs to glean information at the time, the odds are they won’t remember much of the information they learned. What will stick out, however, is the blog that made them laugh, or cry, or feel seen. That’s the one they’ll return to, and that’s the one they’ll share with their friends.
Or, you know, maybe they’ll just remember something about a poodle hogging down donuts. Either way, you’ve set yourself apart — and that’s no small feat.
Connect to Your Audience Through Storytelling
By crafting content that’s fun, engaging and relatable, you’ll make it memorable along the way. Storytelling will help you define your voice, add personality to bland topics and allow you to soar above the internet slush pile.
While you don’t need to include personal stories to reap the benefits of storytelling, it’s a powerful way to build trust, connection and loyalty between you and your audience. Sharing your own stories even has the dual benefit of encouraging your audience members to share theirs. If you don’t watch out, you could be well on your way to creating a tight-knit community around your endeavors in no time.