How to Make People Spend More Time on Your Blog with Stories

By: | October 9, 2016 | Tags: , , , , | 22 comments

#Bloggers and #writers can engage readers with stories

Have you ever been to Alexa.com to check your bounce rate?

Perhaps you are afraid to look.

Your bounce rate tells you how quickly people are leaving, or bouncing away from, your site.

Consider this comment from a reader in response to my SlideShare post. “Slideshow looks very promising for improving bounce rate. My bounce rate has been really high.”

You don’t need to only use technology to keep people on your blog longer.

You could keep readers from leaving your blog and lower your bounce rate by telling stories.

Start with a story, and you will engage your blog readers, so they continue reading your post to the end of the article.

This post will explain a 5-step formula for telling stories which will engage your blog readers, so they don’t leave your blog.

Your bounce rate will improve, and your comments will improve as well since readers will be staying on your blog post until they get to the bottom.

Value of Stories

Telling stories is the oldest form of communication because it pulls readers in.

Even before the advent of writing, stories engaged listeners.

This is a follow-up to my post This is How to Hook Your  Readers [11 Ways].

In that post, I explained 11 ways to hook your blog readers. One of those ways was by starting with a story. This post will explain the value of starting your post with a story and how to effectively implement the strategy.

CoSchedule’s Ben Sailer discusses the value of stories for bloggers and marketers. “Smart marketers know customers connect with narratives.” He goes on to say that bloggers need to formulate unique angles that hook reader interest. This post gives you that 5-step formula.

The Social Media Examiner agrees bloggers and content marketers need to incorporate stories. “Building your social media campaigns around stories helps you stand out from other brands, and grab the attention of [readers].”

Consider these comments from bloggers who use stories:

According to Donna Parker,

We love to tell stories, we’re natural born storytellers. Over 7 billion of us on the planet, telling our stories. So many stories. While we’re telling those stories, or hearing those stories, we’re not going to agree on everything all the time or be pleased all the time, but could we put all the hate, bullying, vitriol, name-calling, hyperbole, lies, persecution, injustice on the shelf? Maybe we could strive to disagree respectfully. There are many ways to tell stories, from many perspectives.

Consider this excerpt from a post written by a lifestyle blogger.

As a lifestyle blogger, what draws my readers in is my ability to tell a story. Whether it is just a tidbit from our daily life that I share on Facebook or a full-length post about my son growing up, these stories are what really drives readers to my site. I know my readers don’t come to my site to read a review that they could easily find on Amazon or get the information they could find on a brand’s website, they come to the site for my story.

According to John Jantsch from CoSchedule, “Stories are what get people engaged and emotionally connected. A story is something unique, personal, and engaging. Stories let us see the people, idea, or values that you represent.”

According to blogger Will Blunt, every introduction should start with a story.

#Bloggers can engage #readers with stories

Step 1: Start with a story.

Your first step is figuring out what point your blog post is going to make.

According to the Sticky Blogging Technique, your article should solve a problem for the reader. Think of an anecdote that illustrates how the reader can get their problem solved.

This hook will engage your readers until the end of your post since they want to know how to solve their problem, also called a pain point.

They know from your introduction that if they stick around until the end of your article, they will get the solution to their problem.

According to Seth Godin, a good story is authentic. So, you’re not just going to start your post with any story. You should start with a true story.

Since creative writing is not my strength, I have no problem starting with a true story.

Here are some examples:

Example 1:

Article: This is Why You Should Promote at Kingged

Story: 

When I started blogging, I guest posted on some big blogs. The result? Dismal.

When you promote, it’s important for like-minded bloggers to see you. I guest posted for marketing blogs.

Business people were there. I don’t give business tips, and at the time, I never gave marketing tips.

Example 2: 

Article: How to Get Swarms of Free Blog Traffic With Flipboard

Story: 

I refused to sleep.

“Janice, come to bed,” implored my husband.

“I can’t,” I responded.  “I am getting massive traffic from Flipboard.  I can’t go to sleep until I know which one of my links is there and who added it to Flipboard.”

“All that matters is that you know how to add one of your links to Flipboard.”

The point of my articles: Mostly Blogging is a blogging tips site. People come here looking to increase their blog traffic.

Both the Kingged article and the Flipboard article had the same point– if you use those sites, they will increase your blog traffic.

Step 2. Make your point.

The Sticky Blogging Technique says your point should be the solution to a problem. According to Kelly at The Take Action WAHM, some of the most profitable blogs try to solve problems for their readers. Apparently, there are problems bloggers can attempt to solve in any niche.

Give the history of the situation and then make your point.

Example: 

Article: 9 Proven Ways to Skyrocket Your Traffic

Why do some bloggers have posts that go viral and others don’t?

Why is it that you don’t?

One blogger who has experienced mind-blowing success offered to explain how he was able to achieve 40,000 traffic referrals just within the last year, and just from one source– StumbleUpon.

As you can see, I stated the background of the situation– lack of traffic is frustrating. Then I made my point– StumbleUpon is a way to get massive traffic.

Step 3: Argue your point.

The rest of your blog post should be an explanation of why your point is valid. Stats are a great way to prove your point. People can’t argue with statistics, especially if you cite a credible source for them.

By offering statistics and a credible source for them, you will look credible. Readers’ trust in you will build. Will this keep them on your site longer? Absolutely.

Example:

Article: How to Create Better Blog Content That Will Bring You an Enormous Audience

With 164 million blogs out there, your blog has got to be standout strong, so strong that it will not only stand out from the crowd but ensure your readers  send their readers to you.

According to recent statistics, 77% of internet users read blogs. This post will ensure they are reading your blog.

Notice I cited two statistics– 164 million blogs and 77% of internet users.

Step 4. Counter Your Point. 

I counter my own point when I play Yes, No, Maybe So with my readers.

Example: 

Article: Idioms: To Use or Not To Use? That is the Question

I posed a question for the reader. “Would people unfamiliar with the colloquialisms of each other’s culture understand their blog posts?” Then, I countered myself by arguing both sides of the question.

Ever since, when I find writers on the internet that disagree with my position on a topic, I invite them to write a joint post with me. They counter my position, or I counter theirs.

Examples:

Article: 18 Important Things You Should Know About Self-Hosting, I argued that bloggers should self-host. The other blogger argued that bloggers should stay on WordPress.com.

Article: Do You Need to Worry About Using Social Media? Veda, the guest writer, argued yes. I countered her by arguing no.

Article: Are High Page Views the Greatest Thing in the World? I argued yes. My guest author Molly countered me and argued no.

Putting the formula aside momentarily, the goal with the “countering” technique is to get your readers to weigh in about who they agree with and why in the comment section.

Your engaged readers will have helped your bounce rate by making it to the end of the post. Also, research says your SEO will improve if people leave you longer, thoughtful comments which they are more apt to do if they take sides in a debate.

According to the Huffington Post Guide to Blogging, readers love debates.

Step 5. Conclude with a Walk off Line.

Conclude your post with a memorable walk-off line that makes your point.

Examples:

Article: 7 Ways Blogging Helps You Better Navigate Life

Point: Bloggers have great value even if they don’t get paid to blog. 

Walk-off Line: Bloggers get great value from blogging whether or not they earn a cent. Bloggers are in it for the outcome, not the income. 

Article3 Shrewd Ways to Easily Triple Your Productivity

Point: You can save time using three free blogging tools. 

Walk-off Line: You’ve invested only minutes. Now, is that a worthwhile Return On Time Invested? Of course, it is.

I may not be the Queen of Catchy, but you get the idea.

Conclusion

In closing, I realize only Step 1 relates to stories. However, all five parts of the formula are interrelated.

If you like following formulas, hopefully, you found this formula, how to keep readers on your blog longer, an intriguing one to follow.

Five simple steps to more comments and a better bounce rate is all this formula entails.

Readers, please share, so other bloggers know the value of starting with a story and how they can apply this formula to their blogging for greater success.

Related Posts:

How to Write a Killer Blog Post

How to Engage Blog Readers Who Are in a Rush

How to Engage Your Blog Readers

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  1. Carol Graham at 10:12 am

    You always have great tips and thank you for confirming the importance of stories in this post. My bounce rate has always been great and I know it is because people want to read the whole story. Same reason my memoir, written as a novel, won awards. (Sorry for the plug, but making a point – stories sell!)

  2. Alana at 4:11 pm

    (Yes, you made me look.) I enjoy telling stories. I also pinned this for future reference – there is so much material here, will take a while to discover what will work for me.

  3. Isaac Anim at 11:29 am

    Great post

    I don’t know what is with humans and story telling.

    A blog of highly targeted and engaged audience is the most valuable asset of any blogger.

    Thanks for sharing
    Isaac

  4. Lisa Sicard at 11:53 am

    Hi Janice, yes people do LOVE stories. As long as they are not too long I do too. They must be easy to read, scannable and I’ll stay on the post til the end. It’s a great question to ask oneself when composing a post, would you yourself be able to get through it easily?
    It’s even better if it solves a problem. Stories and problem solversa re winner blog posts!

  5. Donna Parker at 8:49 am

    Janice, this post really made me think (and I’m sharing so others can read it as well). I admit, I don’t think about bounce rates, etc., but maybe I should be thinking about it.
    Thanks for the advice and for featuring my words in your post.
    Hope this week is treating you kindly. 🙂

  6. Janice Wald at 3:56 pm

    Hi Donna,
    I was happy to link to you. I bet if you check your bounce rate, you will see it’s low. (Low is good.)
    Your graphics are so engaging, I can’t stop scrolling through them! I bet others are mesmerized as well and don’t “bounce” readily off your site.
    Janice
    Janice Wald recently posted…What Happened to the Blog Post?My Profile

  7. Ryan Biddulph at 9:03 am

    Hi Janice,

    Well said! Seeing Seth Godin and John J and other heavies offer advice clues you in: stories reel people in. We love stories. From Netlfix to books to eBooks to movies, all people love a good story. I regularly weave my travel stories into both my blog posts about blogging and travel. Fun for me – because I’ve wild ones to tell LOL – and for my readers too. I share, readers can step into an exotic, tropical world, and learn a lesson or 2 as well. Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…Are You Excited to Become a Successful Solopreneur Blogger?My Profile

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