Yes, it’s true — you should study your specific craft. If you want to write great informative and shareable articles for the Internet, then that’s what you should study. But do you know what the people who write those articles are studying? It may come as a surprise to you, but many of them study the principles of fiction writing.
Proof That Stories Propel Content
The people over at Buffer (a social media app company that specializes in effective communication) suspected that storytelling could be a useful tool and used their own audience as a test. They did an A/B test where some of their readers were sent to a version of an article with no story at the beginning. The rest of the readers were sent to a second version that opened with a story.
And according to Buffer: “The post with the narrative intro had nearly 300% more people scroll all the way to the bottom, and average time on page was more than five times higher!” So that’s just one real-world example of the same information being presented with and without a story — and the difference in audience engagement that resulted. Imagine if every one of your blog posts or articles had 300% more people scrolling all the way through.
And if you have that many more engaged readers, imagine then how that can snowball into more social media shares, more mailing list sign-ups, and more members of your personal tribe. If people enjoy reading your pieces, they become part of your audience.
5 Ways You Can Incorporate Storytelling
- Open with a story: What story can you tell that relates to the lesson you’re teaching? Is there a personal experience from your life you can share to create empathy with the reader?
- Paint a scene: How can you put your lesson into a real-life and dramatic scenario?
- Rely on the senses: What does it feel like to do what you’re telling us to do? Or to make the mistake you are helping us solve?
- Re-tell a story your audience already knows: Maybe a folk story or anecdote exists that illustrates your point and that many people will be familiar with and therefore relate to?
- Persuade with a story: Is there a testimonial that will speak to the power of what you are teaching, sharing, or selling?
To learn more about each of these techniques, sign up for my How to Write Meaningful Content for the Internet online class. Classes begin in July and September and you can work through the course materials at your own pace.
P.S. Read My Micro-Fiction
Writing fiction doesn’t mean you have to commit a year of your life to writing a novel. You can write flash fiction in one night! Flash fiction is generally defined as anything 1000 words or less. Check out my most recently published piece of flash: The Downed. It’s only a couple hundred words long — it won’t take you much time at all!