Let me tell you a quick story.
I was in a greasy spoon cafe two days ago, chatting away with a friend. And I heard someone behind me talking rather loudly about Game of Thrones.
He had a big dramatic voice, one of those ones you can’t help but overhear. Before I knew it I was listening in – you know the feeling, when you just can’t help it.
In fact, I noticed other people in the café were starting to listen too.
He was giving rather a good impression of Tyrion (by far the most awesome GoT character)
With great gusto he was recounting the story Tyrion told his brother Jamie in his dark, dirty prison cell as he waited to face almost certain death. The story of ‘Orson the Bugslayer’ – Tyrion’s cousin who sat around killing beetles with a stone all day long in their childhood.
“Nothing made him happier than killing those beetles,” Tyrion was saying. “And I was strangely curious. Why was he smashing all those beetles, what did he get out of it?
“I became possessed with knowing what they were. I began to spend inordinate amounts of time watching him. I would eat my lunch in the garden, chewing my mutton to the music of ‘Gugh, Gugh, Gugh’ as he smashed away.
“And as I watched… I became more and more sure of it. There was something happening there…”
Wait – let’s pause for a moment!
What exactly is happening here?
The Awesome Power of Very Very Very Simple Stories
You – our lovely reader – have been drawn into Three stories in just a few seconds. My story; the loud café talker’s story; and Tyrion’s story.
And it’s pretty darn engrossing, isn’t it?
I would love to say it’s the writer’s skill that drew you in. But alas, it’s just the tool I’m using – the awesome power of a good quick story.
You were grasped by the relevance to your passion – blogging. A few familiar things – overhearing a conversation, a greasy spoon café, and of course; Game of Thrones.
And by those seven magic words:
“Let me tell you a quick story”
Stories Hook You Hard and They Hoooold You
When you open a blog post with a story, it’s five times more likely to get read, five times more likely to get finished, and five times more likely to get enjoyed and remembered.
(Figures I just made up; but believe are more or less true – feel free to disagree!)
We as humans are hardwired to get addicted to stories.
If you don’t believe me, have you ever heard of anyone who started watching Game of Thrones and then just… stopped? (Sorry for anyone who really hates GoT, but I’m sure you have your own secret series addiction too!)
It’s Easy to Use Stories in Your Blog Posts
Stories illustrate things so so beautifully – so use them!
And there’s no need to be complicated and clever. Just follow these 3 steps:
- Think of a Simple Simple Simple Story
Keep it simple. From your life or made up. Think how it can in some vague way help illustrate the point you are trying to make. And make it so your reader can relate – with something they’re interested in or have also experienced.
It can be about doing up your shoelace – there’s no need to be fancy to be interesting.
- Begin with those 7 Magic Words
All together now: “Let me tell you a quick story”
- Cut it Midway – Tease Your Reader
You may have noticed you’re unconsciously waiting for me to finish those three stories. You kind of need it. We all do.
Starting a story puts us in a mild kind of trance, and opens our minds. That’s why we love ‘em so darn much.
So tease your reader – cut the story before it’s finished. And then talk about what you wanted to talk about! Before you finally finish the story and let them go.
As I will now…
“‘Gugh, Gugh, Gugh!’ I watched and I watched. I was obsessed,” Tyrion continued. “I had to know. Because it was horrible. That all theses beetles should be dying for no reason. It filled me with dread. Thousands upon thousands of them. Over the days, months and years. Every single day.
Until he died.”
Tyrion looked up at his brother with pain in his eyes.
“So what do you think? Why did he do it? What was it all about?”
“I don’t know,” said Jamie. And then the bell rang, signaling the death match to decide Tyrion’s fate.”
By the time my neighbor had finished talking, the whole café erupted in excited Game of Thrones conversation – about a dozen people!
It was funny, how can one series – one story – become so popular it’s almost as common a conversation topic in London as The World Cup?
And then I thought, ‘I think I’ll write a post about that.’
Some Other Top Notch Blog Posts about Storytelling
Pretty much every savvy copywriter, content marketer and blogger knows how powerful storytelling can be for luring the reader in and delivering your message with real impact. Or at least they should.
Here are some other powerful posts, that will help you become a Tyrion-style storytelling master:
The Psychology of Storytelling: Transportation Leads to Persuasion – by the awesome Gregory Ciotti at Sparring Mind.
3 Simple Storytelling Methods That Can Do Your Selling For You – by direct response copywriter Ben Settle, guest posting on the legendary Copyblogger blog.
Storytelling for Fun and Profit – an extensive step by step guide to persuasive storytelling in sales, by Nick Reeves.
Storytelling and Emotional Connections in Blog Posts – this is a must-read post by content marketing Goddess (and friend) Sarah Arrow. She really delves into the ins-and-outs of storytelling and the power of emotionally connecting with your audience.
Finding Truth in Fiction: The Power of Creative Storytelling – by the big cheese himself, Jeff Goins!
And last but not least… If you want to see the power of stories in action, you can pretty much read any blog post by the great copywriter, Joe Vitale, here:
Have you got any thoughts on using stories in blog posts?
Are there any examples you simply love?
Or got any comments on Game of Thrones?