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How To Tell Stories To Grow A Seriously Thriving Audience

This is a guest post by Alex Fakhri.

When you run a blog your aim is drive visitors to your site, attract them to an article with a cleverly worded headline and somehow entice them to read the article from start to finish, right?

Now if there is one thing that grabs almost everyone’s attention,  it is a good story. We all love listening to good success stories about how someone went from zero to hero in no time at all. Just take a look at these headlines; each one telling a compelling story. You can tell it’s going to be a good story just by looking at the headline. (Note: Strong headlines are so important) 

Now give me one good reason why you wouldn’t want to read any of those posts.

I bet you can’t, you’re here to read about online business and how to be successful online.

Three things you need to know about great stories:

  • You’re very likely to read them, especially if they have a title that draws you in.
  • You will most probably remember that story, and any thing similar which happens will hold an association with that particular story.
  • Finally, you’re most likely to share it with someone.

So what has any of this got to do with driving traffic and creating a thriving audience?

Let’s take a quick look at why you visit a blog and why you’re interested in the content written by the author. I want you to do this by answering the following questions:

  1. Do you know who writes the content?
  2. Do you know how they came to creating that blog and do what they do?
  3. What else do you know about them? (Favorite holiday, past work places, other projects they may have worked on, and you may even know much they make from their blog)
  4. How do you know all this information?

A lot of your answers will relate to reading one of their compelling stories, right or wrong? (Tell me in the comments below)

So is the key to great traffic writing great stories, or is it presenting your facts and what you did in a story?

Storytelling Vs. Persuasion

Firstly we need to understand the difference between story telling and persuasion. Stories come from the heart, they have meaning, and they have been created and lived by someone. A story has a real meaning behind it and most of the time (in some shape or form) we can relate to it. That’s why it captures us so well and we feel more inclined to read it.

Persuasion is the art of selling. Remember the last time you walked into a shop and the sales guy tried to come up with his best sales line and you saw straight through it? It had no meaning because he didn’t even try to relate to you. He tried every trick in the book to try to sell you something and you still weren’t convinced.

Now think about that great sales guy who had you walking out of the store with more than you came in for. I bet that he didn’t have to persuade you. He just told you a compelling story. Persuasion appeals to the person in a, “I know you want this” kind of way, but a story captures a persons imagination and makes you think, “This guy is so right”.

Can you see how a story is so much more compelling and enticing?

Compelling Stories are retold over and over again

I recently read the manifesto by Corbett Barr called 18 Months, 2 Blogs and 6 Figures, I can’t remember how many times I’ve told people about it. It’s a fascinating story that is based on real life and it captured me from the minute I read the title. I could relate to that story because that’s the path that I am heading towards. I could relate to him on so many levels throughout the story as he described his struggles and successes.

Now when I tell someone what I do and where I’m heading, they often think I’m a little crazy. Making money online is still a very unheard of career or business path here in the UK. When I’m asked for an example of someone who works in the same field as me or has already achieved what I am on my way to achieving, whose story am I likely to share with them?

How Do You Write A Compelling Story?

Relate To Your Readers

What is it that your audience will benefit from? Try and relate yourself to your audience to understand what they may struggle with by putting yourself in their shoes. What is the information they’re lacking, or how can you relate to them?

For example, in the story, ‘18 Months, 2 Blogs and 6 Figures’, Corbett relates to his audience by writing about how it was possible to make a full-time living from blogging and also travel at the same time. Here he answers so many questions about his business and what he does; can a blog really make that much money? Can I create a business from blogging? How long will it take to create a successful money-making blog? How can I create my own online business?

These are all questions that his audience would want answered. He was once in their shoes, so he related back to them and answered the questions he wanted answers to before he started with a story.

Note: See how I’m using his story as an example? I read it, loved and now I’m very likely to tell it to other people. I’m now introducing him to you and helping him expand his audience at no further effort on his part. All he had to do was write a great story for me to read.

Telling The Story

This is a crucial step to get right. You want to hook your readers in with an introduction that they just wont be able to resist. Create an outline of your story but make sure you don’t give too much away as they might not read the rest. You want to give them a little insight into how this story will help them. Asking a question that they might be potentially asking themselves can be very enticing.

For example, if I were to write a story about how I attracted 10,000 visitors in a week I might start of my story with:

So you want to know how to get a flood of targeted traffic to your blog?

In this question I address a potential question that you may want answered. If it is – then you’ll be likely to carry on and be drawn in. Even if this isn’t a question you want answered right now, it might be thought-provoking enough to get you reading anyway.

Once you have your reader, you then have the task of impressing them with your story and making sure you answer the question. In your story you want to put in as much relevant information as possible – including facts, figures and timelines. You want to answer questions directly and not sidestep around them.

The Proof Is In The Pudding

How do you make a story more compelling, believable and genuine? You have proof! I like figures and I’m pretty sure when it comes to a good story you’re probably the same. Pat Flynn from the Smart Passive Income blog publishes his income every month in a shape of an income report. They are his most popular posts on his blog with the most views and most comments.

Why you ask? Because it’s the proof of his story.

Try and figure out how you can include proof. Screenshots, emails and photos can help you get your points across and seem more genuine in your approach.

Honesty above all

Now the key to all of the above success is honesty. Everyone has a story behind him or her and a real reason as to why they do what they do. Readers who buy into your stories, buy into you and what you do. Use your story to create a thriving blog and build your audience on the real passion and motivation that drives you.

Over To You…

Why not try telling a story next time you want to write something? Give your audience a little insight into who you really are with a story that will capture your audience’s attention and answer some of their burning questions by telling the story of one of your experiences.

The bottom line is: if you read a story about someone doing something amazing, you think, “If they can do it, so can I”.

About the author: Alex is the author of Blogging Toolkit teaching people how to start successful blogs from the ground up, covering the topic starting from the basics.

Tags:
Category: copywriting

23 Comments on "How To Tell Stories To Grow A Seriously Thriving Audience"

  1. Ahmed Safwan says:

    Thanks for this great post.

    I have written a story but i think i must revise it again after reading this post

    • Alex Fakhri says:

      No problem Ahmed, Stories are great, I think it just takes a couple of times to get it right!

  2. Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon says:

    Excellent post. Telling stories is a great way to connect and build trust with your readers, especially if they are stories which many other people can relate to. Telling stories can be very powerful in building and sustaining an audience for your blog but I think that many people are missing out and not doing this because they don’t want to reveal themselves online.

    Thomas

    • Alex Fakhri says:

      Hey Thomas,
      Great point, I think a lot of people try and hide their identity online and because of this they miss out on actually connecting with their audience properly! To make it online you have to be able to connect and interact with people properly.
      Alex

  3. Sheyi | Ivblogger.com says:

    The best business man or sales man is the one who can write compelling stories and at the same time present compelling stories too. As a speaker, if you lack the act of telling stories well, your gig will be boring and you might not get another invite.

    Story telling helps a lot in life…

    Sheyi

    • Alex Fakhri says:

      Couldn’t agree more Sheyi, I always remember the speaker that tells me a story and not the one who just sicks to facts and figures. Stories have incredible power to capture the imagination and also help you be remembered if you are the story teller!

  4. Goa casinos says:

    Hi,

    Content is the still king from google point of view. Beside that blogging is that kind of thing if you will know each and every little thing about that then i don’t thing so anyone will stop you for achieve success.

    • Alex Fakhri says:

      I think there is a huge difference between writing for Google and writing for your audience. I think if you write for Google you can be successful in terms of getting massive organic traffic, however it’s the posts that are written for the readers that can ultimately have more of an impact and potentially go viral and bring in a much more of a targeted following and also have the potential to make theses readers come back time and time again as they know they will be able to find great information that is interesting to read as well as informative and actionable.

  5. Fascinating post. As a writer, I find it easy to write the story. Now all I have to do is find some proof and a bit of tech help. 🙂

    Thank you for a helpful post. I’m going to check out some of the links you included. I think I can learn from them.

    • Alex Fakhri says:

      Glad you enjoyed it Anne, I’m sure you will be just fine on the tech side as well!
      Alex

  6. Navneet @ Exam Results says:

    Well Alex i love to hear stories from other fellow bloggers and i read their blog regularly. Best eg. is Oni . Though i never created a story, will post my other blog soon 🙂

  7. David @ Build A Freelance Biz says:

    Storytelling and persuasion can be closely related. One of the reasons Abraham Lincoln is now widely considered to be the best American President is that he was able to get action and results from people with no interest in helping him.

    He engaged with his friends, the people, and more importantly his enemies and hostile audiences on a personal level, by telling stories and anecdotes that were persuasive and motivating. For Lincoln, this was a personal trait. He did it throughout his life, utilizing his skills as a storyteller to get elected to local and national offices.

    He won over his enemies and detractors by telling stories that 1) Related to them; and 2) Made a persuasive argument. These detractors often went on to become his greatest advocates.

    Of course, having a great memory of details, plus the unusual ability to have appropriate stories and anecdotes ready at any moment, and to be able to relate these stories with sincerity were all vital to Lincoln’s success, and certainly differentiate him from merely great storytellers.

    Now, if only I could get Abraham Lincoln to do a guest post on my blog!

    • Alex Fakhri says:

      Great input David, really enjoyed reading that! I think to make a better story teller you need to be able to use story telling and persuasion together like Lincoln if you want to get results and when it comes to blogging. We’re all looking for results and we all want our audience to take action, I think we can learn a thing or tow here!

  8. For the last few months I’ve been using the storytelling approach with pretty good results. While I knew it was powerful, I really didn’t use it in my blogging in the beginning because I thought I was creating authoritative blogs that were for information, not stories.

    I started getting followers as soon as I switched to the storytelling technique. It’s also the way I’ve gotten my last few guest posts, which I also learned about on this website.

    Great job and great content. Thanks.

  9. Puneet says:

    Yes stories are great and specially if the story was real.

  10. Pat Flynn’s a big fan of telling stories. Tell something small (doesn’t have to be too long) to engage your audience.

  11. Jamie says:

    thats a wonderful idea Alex. I’ve actually just started my own blog and my main focus is write stories that can relate to the readers rather then just make something up, so I wish you the best of luck with yours and hopefully we can help each other with our blogs.

    Best regards,

  12. Matt Smith says:

    Great post Alex! Telling stories that readers can relate to is such a great way to build relationships with your site visitors. If they can trust you by what you say/show them, then that will benefit you greatly in the long run.

    I publish many different types of posts on my site, but I have to say that one of the best types are the ones where I can relate to my readers in some way. They are also the ones that seem to get the most comments.

  13. Koundeenya says:

    That’s really an intersting one Alex. Telling stories to people can be raelly interactive if and only if we are relevant. Thanks for the great one

  14. Nice article Ahmed, what if you dont have compelling story to write or your blog is not about how to make money online ,how do you retain audience when you are an MMO blogger.Are we going to wait till miracle happens.I have devised a way for myself I introduced element of story and offer free consultancy service to businesses based on my blog content.Ahmed do i need to have a professional blog before i can succeed as a blogger?

  15. Andi Minion says:

    hi Alex, great post, I agree, a writer and blog owner should show himself and let the readers know a little about him, otherwise they become a faceless corporation with stories that cannot be believed.

    Cheers
    Andi

  16. Gemma D Lou says:

    Hey Alex, it’s true what you say.

    I think everybody loves a story. That’s why movies are huge, books are popular, comic books, graphic novels, tv shows, plays, theatre, opera, all these tell stories. http://www.lifeprinciples.net/SuccessatLife.html

    They’re engaging. I just read what I thought was a fictitious story about a fisherman and a businessman. Even though it was fictitious, I enjoyed reading it.

    The one of the most famous stories is the story about the Samaritan! The lesson could have been a simple, ‘not all those who you’d think would help will help, so you go and help those in need when you come across the needy.’

    Or what about the boy or girl who kept on crying wolf, and then one day, there really was a wolf, but no one was listening. The person who started the story could have just said, “don’t lie, because when you tell the truth, no one will believe you.”

    Stories are great, and I love them.

  17. Nitesh Ahir says:

    Hi Alex,

    Don’t mean any disrespect but this story is getting old. Most people know it takes years to become a writer. End of that story. But the bigger story here is that people want to know how to get there. And, the big and that people want to hear are the stories of those who are making a decent living online, as you are. I suppose, until they get there. Now that’s the real story.

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