Why Storytelling Will Keep Readers Hooked On Your Blog

blogging fashion writing

Storytelling can be the secret sauce to luring in and keeping readers on your blog.

And if you think about it, it makes sense. Blogging is about forming a connection with readers, and storytelling is a way of honing in on this connection. It's important to give your readers something — or someone — to care about. Furthermore, the narrative form is relatable to any reader, so here's why storytelling works for enticing (and keeping) an audience:

1. Human emotion is a powerful thing — and tapping into those emotions on a personal level will have your readers coming back for more. Instead of simply presenting an outfit you wore, it may be beneficial to say why you wore it. Were you going somewhere special? Does it remind you of something? Who were you with when you wore it? Did something funny happen (or sad, or infuriating, or boring)? For the most part, it doesn't really matter what happened, as long as there is an emotional element presented. Example: “While wearing this trench coat, I celebrated the Chinese New Year by eating dumplings — I've never felt so full!” may be a more enticing way to present it than simply a photo of the coat and a price.

According to an article featured on Fast Company, there is actual scientific proof that storytelling affects our emotions: “Further investigation has revealed that the actual physical process triggered by stories is the release of oxytocin, which is a hormone that’s usually affected by close emotional interaction, which is why its nickname is ‘the love hormone.' Researcher Paul Zak from Claremont Graduate University, California, explains how oxytocin makes well-crafted stories that we read in books and watch in films and on television irresistible: ‘We are empathetically engaged. We are treating this as if it is our real family. We can't help but care for these people.'” Through storytelling, readers will consistently want to “tune in” to see what's next.

2. More than just emotion, storytelling also taps into our intellect. Why do you think stories of mythical creatures were once (and sometimes still) used to explain scientific phenomenons? It's because as humans, we inherently like to have an explanation for things — even if the explanation may seem outlandish, it's better than having none at all.

The same could be said of blogging; readers want an explanation for why something is posted and why it is important. Stories make it easy for us to string the pieces together and understand it all.

3. Storytelling also provides a certain relatability — it's a primal instinct to place yourself inside the story as the reader. The narrative can take us into another world where our reality is skewed. According to the article mentioned previously, “scientists discovered that fictional stories affected the same region of the brain that reacts when we ourselves are engaged in real-life drama. Stories create a bonding empathy which causes us to strongly identify with the made-up protagonist, as if we were, in fact, that person. In other words, stories have such impact because our brains actually get a little mixed up as to what’s real and what’s not.” Storytelling can let your reader live vicariously through your words, making the writing more alluring.

4. It's been a long-held marketing technique. Brands have long used stories to sell products to their customers — how often have you heard about a product that came from a family farm? Or the long-standing struggles the CEO faced before he or she founded their multi-million dollar company? Politicians do it. Athletes do it. Oprah does it. And bloggers can, too.

See also: How To Use Storytelling To Boost Traffic

 What will you provide for your readers so they feel fulfilled and incentivized to come back? Have you tried storytelling as a writing technique?

[Image credit: Shutterstock]

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20 Responses

  1. Sarah's Real Life

    I definitely agree, although there’s a fine line between a personal narrative and TMI! I’ve read some blogs that – while I still read and love them – have gone off on tangents about medical issues in the context of their outfit posts. Maybe I just value my privacy more than others, but I don’t really feel the need to give the entire interwebs a glimpse at my medical chart, and I feel a little weird about reading other people’s, especially when I read their blogs for the clothes. Speaking of tangents, I guess I’ve gone on one! The point is that I do like this article and I think it’s pretty good advice 🙂

    Sarah’s Real Life

  2. Kathleen Lisson

    I absolutely agree. In the beginning my blog was full of front yard OOTD posts, but I have switched to showing the specific occasion in which a type of outfit is ideal – ‘the best hat and outfit for apple picking’ was a recent post. I want That’s a Pretty Hat to be different than all the ‘I styled this dress, now buy it on my affiliate website’ fashion blogs.
    I’m also very happy with my current project of interviewing a few ladies who enter and win racing fashion competitions in Australia and sharing racing fashion videos and tips from stylists in Australia, New Zealand and the UK as well. Racing season at Saratoga is over for the year, but the story of racing fashion is still being told on my blog.

  3. Rachel

    I think there is a happy medium. I hate when you consistently visit a blog but don’t know one personal fact about the person. However, I don’t want to know about every single issue/problem a person has. It’s just nice to feel like you somewhat have a general idea of the person.


  4. mes bijoux

    I tried (and still keep this way of blogging), but I have to say that most of my readers don’t read a word of my story, they only check the picures. And this is quite frustrating to me, because I write my blog in two languages that are not my mother tongue and it is very difficult for me! anyway, I will make the same because I don’t find any sense in sharing only pictures without a word that explains it…
    kisses from Barcelona!

  5. Liya

    It seems quite effective sometimes, it really depends how i would go about doing it. Usually the title attracts and the first few sentences. x


  6. Ana

    I’m on Tumblr, so storytelling is not the platform’s forte, but I do intend on doing it when I transition to a full-blogging platform.

  7. Mineyb

    I keep trying to think of how to make my blog more appealing and how to retain readers. I do believe that storytelling will bring a new edge to my material.

  8. Justagirl

    My blog started out as a journal but then I started delving deeper and deeper into fashion and its become a mixture of both. I wrote/write about everything from how I met my boyfriend to my stress over exams. I think its important for the reader to get to know the person behind the outfits.


  9. Akvile

    At first I used my blog as online portfolio (for about a year). And then I got so many things going on, fashion week, doubts about studies (from arts to business), so I decided to share it with my readers. I call my blog fashion documentary, and today it’s not only what I draw but also what I see, where I work and what I think. And how do I look sometimes, of course (I realized that what I like in other blogs is to see the individual behind the www). Note that this comes from a girl who used to hide her fb pictures in high school! 🙂
    And then it just hit me – I got more readers and amazing feedback from them. I really appreciate that and want to develop my blog even more.
    You can see my fashion.doc here: http://doc-fashion.blogspot.com

  10. Leigh

    I think that when it comes to story telling it is important for the blogger to always right in an upbeat sort of way! If people want to get to know you or live vicariously through you, then they wantto know the good, happy, upbeat details. At least I don’t like reading constant complaining. Its an instant turn off, unless its written in a funny way almost like you are making fun of yourself.

  11. francesca b.

    It is very true: story telling and personal details are what make the outfit (or whatever you are talking about) alive. It’s the the sparkle to the charcoal.

  12. moiminnie

    I had the same problem as mes bijoux, I felt as if my readers just look at the pictures, leave a “nice photos!” comment and move on. It still happens, but I noticed that a lot of people really DO read what I have to say. And not so rarely they participate and share their opinions if it a debatable thing. So just do your thing and develop a signature writing style and the readership will stick!


  13. LILY KG

    Really interesting idea- i’d never thought about this, but now that I do I realise many of the blogs I read and enjoy use this technique. Will definitely be trying it out

  14. Jade Dressler

    I love this article. Just as craft, and what I call Slow Luxury are emerging from the “Fast Everything”…it’s natural to go to our primal roots as story lovers. I think blogs can be new media in that freedom to spin a really delicious yarn. My blog has always been long-form. Like art, it comes alive with readers, and, like art, it is an immersive experiment into story, emotion, the moment and beauty. http://www.jadedressler.wordpress.com I invite conversation with other such bloggers. Also see The Clairmonde Project. Perfumers and Bloggers collaborated based on a story. The genius of IndiePerfumes blogger, Lucy Raubertas. http://indieperfumes.blogspot.com/ http://jadedressler.wordpress.com/tag/the-clairmonde-project/

  15. LA

    It’s a great informative blog, I think maybe it is nice go have some emotion behind a ‘Look For The Day’… Bloggers like my friend Reem Kanj of fivrfivefabulous adopted this very early on & her blog is a huge global Success. I don’t know why I didn’t do this earlier, but I sure am going to now.