“But how could you live and not have an interesting story to tell?” author Fyodor Dostoevsky asks in his short story “White Nights.”
The love of interesting stories is universal to human culture.*
If you are looking to engage blog readers or social media followers, telling an interesting story is a magic charm you need.
By the time you’re done reading, you will know:
Why you need to tell an interesting story.
How to tell interesting stories.
Where to put your interesting story.
How to make money by telling an interesting story.
- Why You Need to Use Interesting Stories
- How to Tell Interesting Stories
- Types of Interesting Stories**
- Where to Put Your Interesting Story
- Wrapping Up: How to Effectively Weave an Interesting Story
Let’s take a journey into the world of stories.
Stories boost your SEO, engage your readers, and help you make money.
Why You Need to Use Interesting Stories
Image Courtesy of John Garrett on Instagram
As Branson indicates, you need to stand out from the crowd. You will be memorable when you tell interesting stories. Do you want to beat your competition? Telling stories is a way to get people’s attention that your competitors may be ignoring.
Stories make the complicated understandable. They do this by producing mental images that facts alone may not produce.
An interesting story provides a great quote. Look at the introduction to this article. You see a quote from the short story “White Nights.” Use the quote on social media sites to promote your post’s content.
Stories help you build a brand, an online personality. These tips are for small businesses still growing their brand. Telling interesting stories will help you do it.
Interesting stories make great hooks. When I introduced my Flipboard post, I told a story about how Flipboard brought me so much blog traffic, I refused to go to sleep.
Stories are relatable. Someone wrote to tell me they found my story relatable since concern over blog traffic keeps them up at night as well. If your readers or social media followers find you relatable, you are more likely to get blog followers or customers. People trust people they can relate to. Therefore, their experience on your site is enhanced. Telling interesting stories gives you the opportunity to improve user experience and trust.
Interesting stories are engaging. Too often readers stop reading a blog post due to disinterest. When you start with a story, readers are hooked waiting to discover the end.
Stories improve your bounce rate. When people are hooked, they stay on the blog post as opposed to “bouncing off.” Therefore, your SEO improves when you use stories. Google sees people are staying on your post and gives it more visibility.
Using an interesting story in your content leads to conversions. Incorporating an interesting story improves the likelihood readers will get to the end of the post. Your call to action sits at the end of your post. If you ask people to sign up or purchase, using stories improves the chances they will get to read your CTA.
How to Tell Interesting Stories
Tell true stories. You will lose credibility with your readers otherwise.
Can you tell other people’s biographical stories? Of course. Just give source credit by linking to the author.
For example, when McKeown wants to make the point you need to remove obstacles to success, he shares a story about a hiker named Herbie who slowed a hiking group down. When the leader decreased the weight of the slow hiker’s backpack and redistributed the weight into the backpacks of the other hikers in the group, the hikers reached their destination faster.
Use the Cliffhanger Technique. This is one of the most effective tactics in marketing as well as literature. There will be times your interesting story will appear so ludicrous that people won’t believe it to be true. Incorporating a seemingly unbelievable story is the time to use the Cliffhanger Technique.
How to Use the CliffHanger Technique
- Tell the start of the interesting story in your introduction.
- Share the outcome of the story in your conclusion. People will keep reading until the end to discover how the interesting story ended.
- End the introduction with these words: “What I’ve told you is mostly true.” or “Everything I told you is true, but there’s a big exception.” Would you keep reading? I would.
Types of Interesting Stories**
According to expert Cathy Goodwin, writers are archetypes and archetypes have stories. Before you can tell an interesting story, you need to know your archetype.
Role Model Stories
Are you a role model? Then tell your story. “I did it, and so can you.”
For example, perhaps you overcame adversity or built a strong business as a stay-at-home mom or in retirement.
According to Goodwin, You do not need a hard-luck story. You don’t have to be vulnerable. You should be professional.
I talked about my life when I discussed how to fix broken links.
Role model stories take place in the past.
You don’t have to be an actual celebrity to tell these types of stories.
This archetype discusses their personal lives.
Goodwin advises you to avoid “rags to riches” stories as they may not be believable.
Celebrity stories take place in the here and now.
The celebrity mindset: “My life is great now. Yours can be too.”
The educator tells “how-to stories.” This archetype is seen as an expert.
Experts share their knowledge.
They rarely talk about their personal lives.
An example of an educator story: One person did X and one person did Y with different results.
For example, Goodwin shares an interesting story about two men who worked in a mailroom. One read the Wall Street Journal and ended up a CEO.
[Related Reading: See this article about how to share your knowledge in an Amazon ebook.]
An innovator builds a business and brand by being new and different. The stories combine creativity and practicality.
Innovators have an ear to the ground. They stay ahead of their peers in their niche. They know trends.
The innovator mindset: “Something isn’t working. I will figure it out. I’m the only one who can give you the solution.”
For example, in his post about productivity tools, blogger Marios tells an interesting story to make his point that a list-making tool is needed.
In the introduction to his post, 5 Must-Have Productivity Tools for Authors, Marios weaves a tale of a 12-year-old boy who didn’t know the value of lists.
Although I predicted that the boy would learn the value of lists by the end of the story, what I didn’t predict was the end: Marios turned out to be the boy.
Do you notice how hooked I was? I was so engaged that I started predicting the end of the story. I was analyzing because I was hooked. I was hooked since I was engaged by the story. It drew me in like a magnet.
Passionate Advocate Stories
Passionate advocates have a backstory. They tell an interesting story about how they saved the day in their blog posts.
The Passionate Advocate mindset: “My client was on the brink of disaster, but I helped him.”
For example, podcaster Gresham Harkless interviewed a man whose goals consist of helping legal immigrants to the United States. Harkless told the story on his blog using an interview format.
Goodwin makes an interesting point: Passionate advocates tell stories about how they help their clients avoid the worst outcome. They don’t help them have a positive outcome.
Other Types of Interesting Stories**
You can use concept stories in your blog posts to convey your post’s concepts. For example, “The Drunk and the Car Keys” is a concept story.
Goodwin shares the interesting story of a drunk who lost his car keys at night under a car. The police found the intoxicated man looking under a lamp post for the keys.
When asked by the police why he was looking under the lamp post for keys that were under a car, the man responded that he was looking in the most well-lit place he could find.
This story illustrates this concept: The obvious solution (looking where the light shines) is not always the best solution (since the sought-after keys were in a dark spot).
Create “aha” moments for your readers. Memorable stories are relatable.
These stories focus on the transformation that leads to success. Success stories focus on the client.
Where to Put Your Interesting Story
You should incorporate your interesting stories into your content planning. Use an interesting story when you post content on social media. You should also weave an interesting story into your writing.
Instagram Stories and Features
No discussion about interesting stories would be complete without including Instagram Story secrets.
I use Instagram Stories to engage my followers and promote my content and services.
Do you see “Seen by 85” in the lower left-hand corner? Whether you are marketing content or good and services, using Instagram Stories is an effective method of social media marketing.
Notice: My story contains suspense, often a characteristic of interesting writing. In this Instagram Story, the first part of my storyboard, you can’t see what’s in my cup.
Note: Although “Seen by 1” is listed, 23 hours later, 98 people had seen this part of my Story. What a way to extend your reach! This is free advertising for you.
Do you see I have a 3-story storyboard? In Story 1, I give the situation or exposition. In Story 2, I create suspense so the reader wants to continue. In Story 3, I give the outcome or the resolution. I ended my story with humor and irony.
I linked to my Blog Coaching Services Page and gave a Call-to-Action. I extended my reach with hashtags and Geo-Location Stickers.
Instagram develops new features regularly to enhance your Stories. For example, you can now use music complete with lyrics to accompany your Story!
When Mark Newsome helps a happy client, he asks for a testimonial in the form of a YouTube video. The videos advertise his services for him on YouTube or wherever else he chooses to share the video testimonials such as in his blog posts. His clients tell the story in the video of how he helped them and recommend his services at the end.
Tell interesting stories in a YouTube video or as a hook for your “how-to” tutorial video.
View the video, and take note of the interesting story I weaved.
In my “story,” as seen in the video, I started with the end: You’ll celebrate and you’ll soar. In the middle, I reminded Instagram users their stats are cold and ended by saying they no longer need to be cold. Then, I showed them the link to buy the book. I used urgency by telling my viewers to buy the book “today.”
To recap: Telling an interesting story about how to overcome a problem fits into the Role Model Writer Archetype.
Note: These are free ways to use interesting stories for marketing purposes.
If you are marketing to sell, remember to include the link to the place of purchase. Put the link to buy at the end of the video and in the caption. The caption contains a live link, but people who get to the end of the video may not read the caption so be sure to include the link in the video.
I recommend using a Bitly link shortener so people who don’t see the link in the caption can type it out.
[Related Reading: Instructions for making a marketing video can be found in the section titled “Spark Video.“
Niche Blog Posts
My daughters and I were brainstorming about how to start a business. I told the story to introduce a post about how to have enough money to start a business.
Also, as explained in the introduction, I also introduced my Flipboard post with a tale of my refusal to sleep.
However, you don’t have to limit the use of interesting stories to niche blogs.
There are many ways to tell stories in lifestyle blog posts.
For example, in my early days of blogging, before I settled on one specific niche, I was a lifestyle blogger.
I shared a true story about a girl who discovered her DNA and her cultural roots in adulthood.
A friend of mine knew I was considering switching away from being a lifestyle blogger to settle on a niche. She was so engaged by my story, she begged me to remain a lifestyle blogger!
Ryan Biddulph’s Stories
Blogger Ryan Biddulph is the master when it comes to blending interesting stories and blog posts. He has it down to an art.
He introduces his posts in ways that boggle my mind. He makes logical the illogical connections between an interesting story and a blog post topic.
Case in point:
In How to Be a Better Blogger: Be a Blogging Student, 8 Ways he starts by discussing sitting in a corner wearing a dunce cap.
Wrapping Up: How to Effectively Weave an Interesting Story
Interesting Story Takeaways
This guide to interesting stories shared nine reasons you need to use an interesting story, how to incorporate these tales in your content, and where to put your content containing stories.
To clarify: There might be overlap in your type of story. For instance, the educator archetype tells both Success Stories and Concept Stories. The Innovator might as well.
This guide to effective ways to use interesting stories ended with a section on how to use interesting stories in your social media marketing for free and in your blog content.
As you can see, including stories in your content planning is a must.
Readers, please share so content creators learn the necessity of using an interesting story in their web content and social media content.
I look forward to your views in the comments section:
Do you currently use an interesting story to start your blog post? Do you find readers more receptive to your content when you do? As a writer, which archetype are you? What are your effective practices for blending an interesting story into your content?