Whether your blogging goal is to present a recipe or to explain a complicated math problem, there is likely one thing you have in common with all bloggers. You have more knowledge and excitement surrounding your subject matter than most people you will interact with.
There isn’t anything wrong with this, we all have our niches. Still, it is something to be aware of when creating a blog post because your goal in writing isn’t just to connect with like-minded individuals, but to expand your audience to include those who need the information you are presenting.
Make Your Story Connect
The greatest thing about creating your blog is that it is yours. That might seem silly, but there is something powerful about having a platform to present your ideas whenever you want, however you want. Taking that into consideration along with the desire to reach a broader audience, storytelling becomes your best tool for connection.
When I first began writing for The Glorious Table, I had the same conversation with my editor every month. My draft would be sent back with a request to include more personal information and make things less vague. Ultimately, in order to stay within the required word count, this would mean replacing facts and statistics with personal information. I often felt that this made my posts carry less validity, but soon learned it was the opposite. As I allowed the reader to learn about my flaws and mistakes, I revealed that I wrestled with the same emotions they have, and my words became trustworthy. It was more appealing for the audience to feel as if we were all on a journey, rather than having things explained to them from a self-help aspect. The things I learned through my personal experiences became valid because of the journey I took, not the knowledge I have at the end.
Emotion is what draws an audience to the writer. It is the thing that allows us to connect. Storytelling is the medium that allows us to communicate not only our emotion but also our journey. Storytelling is what connects our words to the human writing them.
The Golden Circle
Hubspot explains storytelling using the golden circle, an analogy that can be used across any subject you desire to present. Using Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk suggestion to “start with the why” Hubspot goes on the break out the circle further.
- Why– Why are you doing what you are doing?
- How– How will this connect to your audience?
- What– What are you offering?
Storytelling helps to create contrast between choices that will be made. Whether the choice involves picking one product over another, making a lifestyle change, or choosing purple over gray a story surrounding the suggested options will help connect your readers to why a specific choice is one to consider.
Let’s review the following examples:
I’ve recently learned that purple is my color. For Christmas, I received an adorable sweater that has kept me warm and comfy this winter. Each time I’ve worn it I’ve received several compliments (which makes me want to wear it more frequently of course! ;) ) I loved the sweater so much I purchased a similar one in gray a few weeks ago. Both times I’ve worn it I was asked if I was feeling ill! That was not what I expected to hear, that’s for sure. I did some research and discovered skin tone plays a key role in what clothes look best on us. For my skin tone, purple is a suggested color while gray will wash me out, which apparently can make me look sick! So from now on, I’m shopping according to my skin tone, and I’ll be adding more purple soon.
Compare that with this:
Skin tone plays a key role in creating a wardrobe. When it comes to colors that will flatter your skin most people won’t get their choices correct 100% of the time.
There are charts available to help you sort through which colors are best for each skin tone. Even with the chart, it is important to try on clothes and look at yourself under different lighting to see how your skin looks.
For someone with warmer skin tones, more olive complected, you will find that jewel tones enhance your skin tone while colors like gray and beige wash you out.
As you have hopefully seen, the information given is similar, but the first tells a story. There is a relationship between the writer and reader because there isn’t an explanation of skin tone. Personality is revealed by the writer showing a desire to look nice in a sweater.
Although both examples offer a why, the why in the first example has personal information. Someone might connect and realize they too have been mistaken as sick in certain clothes. Everyone likes a compliment, so that will draw a reader’s attention as well. The first example takes things a step further and draws a conclusion that is relatable.
The next step in evaluation is to consider the questions Hubspot presented:
- Why – Why are you doing what you are doing? I want to share information about how color affects skin tone when wearing clothes.
- How – How will this connect to your audience? Presumably, my audience is also concerned with color choice in clothing.
- What – What are you offering? I’m offering an explanation as to why purple is a better color for warm toned skin than gray clothing.
Develop Trust by Being Genuine
There is another aspect to storytelling which is important to mention. We create trust with an audience when all the stories are genuine. This might seem like an obvious point, but it’s important. If the color purple isn’t one that will be added to a wardrobe, don’t add that sentence. If you posted another time that you didn’t like purple a reader may question why you had changed your mind, or if it was just a ploy to get them to buy something. Always tell the truth in your stories. It’s ok to present a fictitious scenario as long as it is identified as such.
Storytelling will be a valuable tool as you blog. It will help to set you apart from the millions of blogs posting content each week. When done effectively, storytelling will help you draw in an audience of people seeking the information you are working hard to create and present. It’s worth the extra time involved by including stories in your blog in order to expand your audience and connect on a human level.