Don't have time to read? Listen to the article instead
The best way to people’s hearts and pockets for brands, including personal ones, is still through content and blogging is becoming more and more of a priority for B2B, B2C businesses, as well as regular Joes and Janes.
With the growing number of publishers and content, it should come as no surprise that around 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts. Sometimes this is due to a mismatch between the blog and its readers, a bad website or simply content that’s all over the place. Today, I’m excited to share a few storytelling formulas you can match to your blog to help your content fall into place.
A lifestyle blog in three acts
Probably the most frequent blogs out there are lifestyle blogs. They’re also seemingly the easiest to set up and get going. Seemingly. They are the ones we reach out for the most because everyone’s got a life and, therefore, an endless stream of topics we can routinely share but that’s also what makes them some of the trickiest to build a strategy for and the most prone to becoming a hot mess nobody wants to get close to.
The three act structure, with its setup, rising action and resolution, is a great choice of storytelling formula for lifestyle blogs.
Because it largely resembles how we remember events – life is interrupted by a thing and we deal with the thing – the three act structure can help lifestyle bloggers set the scene up for the reader, build up anticipation to get them emotionally invested in their plight and, finally, solve the problem or present a potential solution. Sounds like you’d use to tell deep, earth-shattering stories right? Well, not necessarily. Sometimes it can be about a bathroom. Yep, you’ve read that right – a bathroom.
In Apartment Therapy’s Before & After: A Brand New Use For a Messy, Stuffed Closet, we find out how Robin and Ed’s stuffy closet became a fancy powder room but not before we’re introduced to challenges like layout and lack of plumbing. The point is, it doesn’t have to be about how you made the world a better place, it works for how you’ve improved your bathroom, vacation, wedding or career.
A hook for product and service brands
Engaging, traffic-generating, loyalty-building blogs are close to, if not down-right top, the Christmas list of almost every brand but between wanting and getting one, there’s a whole lot of work. In addition to the regular challenges blogs have to tackle, product and service ones have the added issue of trying to refrain from producing “me” content.
People trust other people, so when you tell your story in a blog, your readers will empathise with another human being, rather than some cold, distant, abstract business trying to get you to care. Unless you already have a strong relationship with your readers, they won’t care about your challenges or solutions so a three act structure isn’t likely to work here.
The star, chain, hook storytelling formula, where you use a positive motivator to draw attention, develop the story through a series of convincing facts and wrap it all up with a strong call-to-action is a much more effective choice.
Because of how the formula works, you need to start by coming up with the hook and the star and then the links to the chain in between.
I love MailChimp, not as much as a service, which in itself is great, but much more as a brand that continues to learn how to speak “people”. I picked this example not just because the article itself is really cool and uses the star-chain-hook formula very effectively but because it takes a perceived negative, failure, and hugs it into a positive. In between, Aynn talks about all the reasons why this approach to mistakes works and will likely inspire more than a few people to give it a go.
The same formula, works really well for personal brands, food or photography blogs.
A low-to-high-point formula for personal development
Everyone I’ve ever met wanted to improve some aspect of their lives, whether it be their relationship, career or wardrobe; and that’s how it should be. Yet, we snicker a lot at people attending personal development classes, reading self-help books or blogs, for that matter.
This, unfortunately, puts such authors at a disadvantage so it’s important they connect to the audience from the very first phrase and the best way to do that is by sharing a personal experience they can relate to.
Dale Carnegie’s Magic Formula allows you to do just that. Starting with a relatable personal experience, the story focuses on the way the problem is solved or prevented and concludes with the benefits that result from the approach.
Celestine’s post doesn’t just start with one relatable personal experience but several, zooming in on how she faced her own challenges when her parents didn’t support her goals, providing readers with several approaches they can try.
The Bottom Line
Unless they’re kicked off by a once upon a time we might not even recognise them as such but we’re hardwired to try and make sense of things, share our experiences, learn and thrive through stories.
So why not take advantage of some tried and tested storytelling formulas to make your way to your audience’s hearts and minds? Test, combine, adapt and find the one that helps you build a stronger dialogue with your audience.