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?
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