Read any decent guide on content writing and you’ll find this recommendation: try storytelling techniques. Storytelling works well because it engages the audience on a deeper level. It shows an experience; a real situation the audience can identify with. Even when you’re just there to offer tips, a story that showcases how they work in practice is useful.
Storytelling is great. However, we cannot allow ourselves to bring content writing down to storytelling. That approach doesn’t work, even when it’s about writing an engaging Instagram post.
Yes, your experience matters. Your story can attract attention. But why do you think people would read your story? What’s in it for them?
This brings us to an important point: content writing is more than storytelling. Let’s see why that’s the case.
The Story Is Only a Part of the Big Picture
We all have stories to tell. Does that mean everyone can be a content writer? No. It’s about the way you tell that story, but it’s also about the way you make it fit into the big picture.
This is one of the most important clues to a great story: constructing anticipation for the reader. Are you making the reader want to know what will happen next?
When great novelists develop their stories, they are focused on creating anticipation. Think about your favorite book. Do you remember not leaving it for days and nights because you were too curious to find out what would happen?
The same approach is important in blogging, too. The initial story you tell is only a part of the big picture. The big picture includes more. First and foremost, it teaches your audience a lesson. It should make them think. It should make them act. The story should create anticipation for the learning that follows.
It’s Not Just about a Story. It’s about the Way the Audience Connects with It
Let’s say you’re writing a post on how blogging changed your life. With this kind of content, of course you’ll share a personal story. You can start with a moment of childhood and tell your readers how you remember your grandpa telling stories. If it’s just about a grandpa telling stories, there will be nothing special about that post. If a reader came to that post, it means they want to know how blogging can change their life. They want to learn through your experience. It should not use any of best essay writing services to write excellent. It’s all about connection.
If you connect that moment with an experience your readers want to know about, you’re using storytelling successfully.
How can you pick such moments?
- Observe the comments your readers make on your older posts. Are they asking questions? Are they specifically interested in a certain topic?
- Observe the way your target audience behaves on social media, too. What kinds of posts are they sharing?
Learn about the likes and needs of your audience. Then, tell stories they can relate to.
Good Content Needs Facts, Too
A story doesn’t have to do anything with facts. When you’re telling your audience about your grandfather, it’s just a personal story. Content writing is more than that. If you want to make a post relevant, you have to include facts.
If this is just your story, it’s not relevant.
Check this example: Why too much luxury can poison our souls & corrupt our values. If it was just a personal story, you’d think: “Okay, luxury spoiled you. You’re just one case. Not everyone is like you. I’m not like you.” When you read through the strong arguments of the post, however, you think: “Hey, there’s something to this.”
Arguments. Facts. When the topic allows it, include stats and figures, too. That’s what content writing is about. Not just stories.
You Can’t Base All Posts on Personal Stories
Your stories have to be authentic and honest. If you’re running a blog or a website, it means you need to produce content on a weekly or even daily basis. You’ll be exploring tons of topics and guess what: you won’t have stories for all of them.
Some bloggers, who are convinced that a post has to be based on storytelling, start faking it. That’s not the right thing to do. The audience can see right through the lack of enthusiasm.
It’s okay to write content based on facts alone. Storytelling is only one of the many ways to get more visitors to your site. Some topics are great for creating infographics. Others make great listicles. Storytelling is not your only option.
If Your Story Is Too Long, It Will Drive the Readers Away
Let’s say you’re writing a review on a new laptop you just got.
I felt so old when I got my new laptop. I remember the days when the first laptops appeared in the stores. I didn’t even have a desktop computer. I wanted a desktop computer so much that I didn’t even pay attention to these small devices that looked like toys. Little did I know – my first laptop and I became inseparable.
Let me tell you about my first laptop…
Then, you start telling a story about the first laptop. The readers got there because they wanted to read a review about your new laptop. The story just distracts them from their main intention. We see this technique a lot in cooking blogs. You just want that recipe, and the blogger keeps telling you about a memory from childhood or a moment with her family.
You don’t want your website visitors scrolling down the page to find the information they want. If storytelling distracts you from your main point, it’s best to avoid it. If you feel like you could include a story in a post, the least you could do is make it brief and catchy.
Content Writing Is Not Just about a Story… It’s about the Message!
There’s a thin line between effective storytelling and content full of ego. If you’re being obnoxious when sharing a personal story, the post will be self-centered. The reader won’t see the message in it. Remember: effective content writing is always about the reader. No exceptions here! Even if it’s a personal story, it’s still about your reader. You’re sharing it because you want to help them solve a problem.
The most important element of every piece of content is the message you want to convey. Self-centered storytelling doesn’t convey a message for the reader. It’s useless.
To Conclude: A Story Is Great Only When It Fits
Let’s make it clear: storytelling is still important. It’s a great way to engage the audience and make your content more digestible. However, you have to remember that content writing is more than just storytelling. Treat the story as a small aspect of it. Focusing too hard on storytelling makes you lose the big picture.