The worst day of my life: November 25, 2016, the day I was fired from a job. When I got the message, I stared at the mail, again and again, locked and unlocked my phone as if the content would change. “We are sorry,” the bitterest line read, “this would be the end of our relationship.”
If you’d told me that I would overcome it, I would laugh at you. It was as if an apocalypse had happened, and a thousand zombies would knock on my door.”
Stories sell, if they’re done well. People buy millions of fiction books every year on the Amazon kindle store.
In the marketing world, the brand that could tell the best stories connects with its audience deeper.
How best can you sell ideas to people? How can you convince them about change, body positivity, the power of one man who never gives up? The list goes on and on.
I guess you’re thinking of the best videos or short articles you have read. If you look at your answer closely, it’s probably a story.
The principles of stories are simple (well, most of them). It is about “change”:
- How the poor boy became a great man
- How the slow and steady tortoise wins the race
- Or how you as a business owner transform to a world giant
It can also be negative: how something great becomes shambles.
But one thing remains: stories are about dramatic changes.
As a storyteller, I want to explain how to practice storytelling when creating content on your website. If you have a website and wonder why people aren’t reading your article or why the number of returning visitors is so low, things need to change.
With storytelling tips, you can increase the reaction to your content. Captivate your audience like an enchanting storyteller. Give them a reason to come back for more.
To begin, stop stating just facts. That’s what the dictionary does.
You want to build engagements, gain many happy customers, increase your brand’s likability, etc. Then, you need to tell stories instead.
Learn how to practice storytelling. Next, apply the tactics to your blog content and social media posts, and your level of engagement will increase depending on how well you do it.
Will your website build a lot of visitors like the GOT or Harry Potter fanfic?
But, surely, it will create memorable experiences and reduce the bounce rate on your website.
The question is:
How to practice storytelling in SEO writing
Many readers might not know that I tell stories, but I do. One day, I will share my experience as a fiction writer on Upwork.
Okay, that’s enough. Let’s get to business.
Examples of using storytelling in an article
I like working with examples. From my experience as a fiction ghostwriter and reading lots of great posts that use storytelling elements, I’ve seen examples of great story elements in articles and blog posts.
I like how Havard Business Review used transition in this article:
This makes sense because the next paragraph is actually a story about — well — wine.
How to practice storytelling in your blogpost:
Below are the storytelling tips you can apply to your blog writing. Remember, you don’t have to use all of these at once. Start somewhere. Once you finished writing, before you hit publish, read it one more time. Ask yourself: if you are a reader, will you enjoy this?
Now, let’s see what you can storytelling tips you can practice.
#1. Use surprises
The best stories are those that take us by surprise. They present a situation that makes us stop and ask questions. This element of surprise will keep you reading. And if new revelations keep coming, you will continue until it leads you to a climax.
I know what you’re saying is somehow true, but I need examples. Say no more.
This article explains that what anyone needs to earn a good living is 1000 fans. To make a living, a creator or artist needs 1000 devoted people. It will be enough to sustain you if you can offer them something valuable like a book at $100 – $1000 every year. It will be enough to support you.
Oh, wow. I’ve never thought of that.
That’s what I am talking about when I say “surprises.”
That’s what great stories do. They hook their readers or listeners as soon as possible.
Do the same. Give them a sense of wonder, and do it early.
#2. Go for the emotions
I include a story in the introduction of this post.
The worst day of my life: November 25, 2016, the day I was fired from a job.
Can you think about the emotion that gives you?
Sadness & despair.
What do you think the story will lead to?
How I overcame it & What I did.
That’s what you should do when you want your reader to feel something that connects with them.
First, determine the emotions you want to evoke and use the right words to portray them.
Talking about using the right words for evoking emotions, what words capture the “sadness” in that sentence.
“Worst” and “fired.”
And that brings us to the next point.
#3. Show sensory details/be specific
“If those who have studied the art of writing are in accord in any one point, it is on this: the surest way to arouse and hold the attention of the reader is by being specific, definite, and concrete. The greatest writers…are effective largely because they deal in particulars and report the details that matter.”E. B White, Element of Style
This is a quote you should never forget if you want to learn how to practice storytelling. Use details in your write-ups. Use figures, names of places, real people’s names (if you have the permission).
Look at these examples:
I missed your calls.
I woke up in the middle of the night to see I’d missed your calls.
Look at the extra detail in the second sentence. Does that make it more believable?
Yes, it does. Details are like proof. If you add them sparingly, they are like evidence that can convince readers that something happened.
How Tracy wrote a book that made $130,000 giving parenting advice
Give us details that appeals to our sense of sight, taste, touch, smell, and sound.
Example A: I talk about my book.
Example B: I talk about my book in a hall filled with a thousand people. They clapped when I stood on the decorated podium.
When you’re writing, think about details that will make your offer believable. Then, add those details and make your story more convincing.
It is one of the reasons why adding facts and linking to your source is a great exercise in SEO writing.
Let’s go back to our previous example, the short story at the beginning of this article. What details do you pick?
We have the date: November 25, 2016
We have a specific action: lock and unlock my phone (which clearly shows that the storyteller was fired through electronic media).
#4. Tactically withhold information
Why would anyone read your article from start to finish? First, you need to give them reasons to read each line. Second, you want to encourage them to read further.
Give them some story but not the whole thing.
There’s a method novelists use in their writing books that are as long as 100k words. They call it “Chekhov’s gun,” where they put little details in the early stages of a story and reveal the importance later. For instance, you read or saw an object at the beginning of a book or movie. No one says a thing about it, but it became an integral plot twist later on.
But in your case, you don’t hide the details in your article. Instead, you put some information carefully, but you won’t explain everything yet so that your readers follow you till the end.
Let’s see another example again.
This picture shows how Naomi Dumford nudges readers to read the next part of her writing:
Now you see how it works, yet I want to ensure you have a practical understanding of this approach.
When writing a post, break your information into three parts. First, reveal all the details of the first part as early as you can. Then, in the middle of that, tell your reader about the second or the third part but without being explicit. Hint at it, but don’t use more than one or two sentences for this.
Since you explain the first part fully, you have given your readers some trust in you. As a result, they tend to listen or read further. Then, slowly, tell the rest of the information.
#5. Tell us about the transformation
Remember I said stories are about “change.”
So you have to let your piece of content follow the part of the change, how the characters (which could be readers) would transform.
It’s an art you can practice by giving us information that is directly opposite of what you say at the beginning of the article or piece of content.
For instance, you want to sell an idea to them about the power of SEO writing. Maybe start with the everyday life of someone who ignores this method of marketing, their struggles. Towards the end, your content will explain all the great things the process can bring.
It’s easier said than done, and it usually takes years of practice to master. Anyway, I am here. You can hire me. But if you want to start practicing and see results, check my tips below.
Tips to increase engagement on your website
- Practice, practice and practice
- Create visuals that use any or all of these tips. Use videos, charts, or images.
- Study the blog posts that give you that feeling of reading a story. The writer is already teaching you something if you pay attention.
- Write your first draft. Improve the flow, and add the storytelling tips later.
- You’re open to a lot of stories everyday. That video ad that catches your attention, that emails that you click right away, or that book or movie you binge.
- Don’t go overboard with details. You are an SEO content writer, not a novelist. If some pieces do not help you sell or help your reader understand your point, remove them.
Go and change the world
Now you know how to practice storytelling in your copy or content. You’re not done yet. Use it. It can be the reason your content resonates better. There is a lot of information in this world, but no one can ever tell a story as you would. It’s like a fingerprint. It stands your content out. But, again, you have to apply it. And I wish you good luck.
Or hire a freelance SEO writer/storyteller. It’s an easier choice if you ask me. Use the contact form and send me a message.
A Beginner’s Guide to Storytelling in Marketing
17 Best Practices for SEO content writing