Story telling: The content writing secret

Regardless of who your audience is, there’s one thing that we all relate to, and this is something you won’t find in many books on taming Google or writing for search engines.

This will help you start building a relationship with your peeps, which is important because this high element of engagement is what will set you apart from others in your space. You want to talk with your target market and constantly have them engaged in your offering and what you stand for.

I’d like to start by telling you a story about the role writing has played in my life. This is the story of Danielle, one of my first ever pen pals – because, of course, Facebook and the like were non-existent then. Being social meant writing letters, talking on the phone and going to discos. #feelingold!

I was in year 6 when I met Danielle – we went to school together. She was a gorgeous soul, kind, caring, quiet, and well liked. She’d do anything for you; a very loyal friend.

Danielle wore a back brace, but the curvature of her spine never held her back for long – she’d still go camping, attend school excursions and play in the playground at lunch. While she hated the brace, it didn’t stop her and that’s what I appreciated most. When the brace finally came off, she and her dad took an axe to it and smashed it to pieces in the backyard.

When my family moved towns, Danielle and I stayed in contact by writing letters. There are so many things I wouldn’t have known about her if we didn’t. We talked about all sorts of things: what
high school was like, new friends we’d made, the discos we’d been to, the new fashion items added to our collections, how embarrassing our parents were, the chores we loathed, fights with friends, our secret crushes, boyfriends, stolen kisses… you know, typical teenage girl stuff.

Sadly, life got in the way as we grew up, we went off to university and moved towns. We lost touch as our lives changed. Then one day I got a phone call from my parents to tell me gently that
Danielle had tragically passed away. The reason why was never discovered. I sought comfort in those letters, which told a story – Danielle’s story. It’s nice to revisit them to remember her and all the funny things we spoke about as teens, ups and downs, wins and losses, trials and tribulations. All of it. To me, it keeps her alive.

Everyone has a story to tell. Writing is so much more than words on a page – writing conveys emotions, answers questions, shares information and educates. Those letters did all of that for me and live now as a part of Danielle’s legacy.

Stories are powerful because people relate to and remember them. Think about it – when was the last time you read a story and remembered the person’s name (unless it was a bizarre spelling or someone famous, ahem, or infamous). Never? Ha, me either. That’s because we’re more likely to remember what the person was talking about or what they were doing in the story, and we’d say something like: “Hey, remember that guy who… ” or “What about that kid who’s a better dancer than Nicki Minaj, Google it.” It’s the substance of the stories we remember.

Word Styling Tip

People remember stories, so incorporate some of your stories into your content to make it more memorable.

Why use stories in your content?

  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Educate your readers
  • Engage with them
  • Keep it real
  • Fix their eyeballs to your site for longer
  • Build trust and a relationship
  • Leave a lasting impression
  • Generate leads
  • Boost your business and profile

I believe story telling can help do all of this. Why? Because it humanises your business and brand, and makes you someone your readers can connect with. People buy from people.

I’ve worked with so many clients who say it’s the personal anecdotes that get the most comments on social media or their blog or that people talk about when they come into the shop. Often people know what you sell or what you do, but your clients need to be able to relate to you on a more personal level, like a friend. It makes you more than just a brand or a business.

If you write compelling stories you will entertain, inform, draw emotion and give value to your readers, which builds trust and strong foundation for a long relationship and, in turn, they’re more likely to engage with and buy from you and your business.

It’s about the quality stories and info you share. It’s not a hard sell – it’s about building rapport and capturing their imagination and interest.

So how do you tell a story on your website or blog? Well, my friends, that’s simple. You can include:

  • Yarns throughout your content. You could even start each blog, email newsletter or online article with a story. As long as it’s an interesting or entertaining one, you’ll capture your readers’ attention.
  • Give tips, tricks and hints on what works and what doesn’t. Readers find these so useful.
  • You can use testimonials throughout your content (have one on every web page). Give a few sentences about the work you did and the outcome, and then launch straight into the feedback.
  • Thread case studies, statistics or research into your web pages or blog. All of this helps you create authority and credibility. Why not ask your clients to share their stories and their experiences?
  • Use a photo collage and captions, infographics and videos to get your stories out there.

Word Style Step

Brainstorm some personal stories that you could incorporate into your website and blog, and where they might fit. If you’ve already written your website, add them in and take notice of the response you get. If you’re creating a new website from scratch, include stories from the get go.

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