Challenge: Create a Story Post
This is 4th challenge in ProBlogger’s 7 Days to Getting Your Blogging Groove Back Challenge that we kicked off a couple of episodes ago.
To recap – every day for the next week I’m going to suggest a particular style of blog post for you to create. My challenge is to create and publish that challenge – to join our ProBlogger Challenge Group on Facebook and to share your post on this thread and to check out the other posts others are submitting.
Today your challenge is to publish a ‘story’ post.
You can listen to this episode in the player above or look for episode 141 on iTunes.
The challenge with stories is finding a way to tie into the rest of your blog and make them relevant and to ensure that they have some point to them that is useful to your readers on some level.
In Today’s Episode 14 Types of Stories You Can Tell on Your Blog
- Personal Discovery Stories
- Stories as Analogies and Illustrations
- Success Stories
- Failure Stories
- Biography/Tell Someone Else’s Story
- How I did it Stories
- Picture Stories
- Case Studies
- Reader Stories
- Collective Stories
- Imagine If…. Stories
- A day in the life – Walk your readers through a typical day
- Create your story post – publish it
- Head to the ProBlogger Challenge Group on Facebook and share the link with us on this thread
- Check out some of the other reviews people have written. Comment, like, share
Hey there friends, it’s Darren from ProBlogger. Welcome to the fourth challenge in ProBlogger’s Seven Days to Getting Your Blogging Groove Back. This is Episode 141 of the ProBlogger Podcast. As I said, I’m Darren Rowse, the founder of ProBlogger, a blog that’s dedicated to helping bloggers to get the most out of their blogs to create blogs that change the world but also sustainable blogs, blogs that are profitable.
We’re over halfway not through this seven day challenge, a challenge where I’m giving you a challenge everyday for seven days to create a piece of content that has a different style. Everyday I’m giving you a style of blog post to create and allowing you to choose the topic and then asking you to publish that challenge within twenty-four hours and share it over with us in the ProBlogger Challenge Group on Facebook.
It’s been great to see so many hundreds of bloggers participating in this particular challenge and I look forward to seeing what you come up with today because today is a style of post that I love. I think it’s a style of post that has the ability to really make a deep connection with your readers to create a memory in their mind and to bring about change in their lives.
Today, I want to issue you with a challenge to publish a story on your blog, a story post, a piece of content that is about a story or at least that includes a story. As always, you can create a written story, use video, use audio, use visual content, be as creative as you’d like. Stories are my favorite type of content and they’re very effective for a number of reasons. Firstly, they engage the imagination of your readers. They go beyond facts and theories. They reveal something about you as a blogger, particularly if it’s a personal story. They trigger emotions and the senses in your readers.
They are conversational, they stimulate other people to react and to tell their stories. They provide hooks for readers to latch onto your blogging in new ways in that they’re relatable. Stories grab attention and hold attention, it’s amazing when you tell a story how far people will read. Stories create memories, they’re the type of content that people can remember years after you tell them. They illustrate your points and help you to teach and to be more convincing and convicting in your content. Stories also get retold, they get re-shared. This is great if you want other people to find your blog, word of mouth kicks in with stories.
The challenge with stories is finding a way to tie them into the rest of your blog and to make them relevant and to insure that they have some point to them that’s useful to your readers. That’s probably the biggest challenge for today for you is to find a story that you can tell that is actually on topic and that is relevant for your blogs. I’m going to give you some suggestions to help to identify those particular types of stories in a moment.
While telling the story of how your dog dug up your vegetable patch might be interesting to you, the readers of your blog about makeup or cameras or traveling with kids might not be quite as fascinated so you do need to find something that is a little bit relevant.
Back in Episode 81 of this podcast, I shared fourteen types of stories that you can tell on your blog. Rather than you going back and listening to the episode, I want to whip through those fourteen types of stories and hopefully as I do, some stories will begin to come to mind that you could tell on your blog. Your story need not be a deeply personal thing, it may not need to be hugely inspirational, there’s a whole heap of different approaches that you can take.
Here’s the fourteen types of stories that I mentioned back in Episode 81. Firstly, there’s the personal discovery story. This is how you discovered a lesson. These stories show your readers how similar you are to them. It’s you giving some practical advice on how they might learn from your experience. An example of this on ProBlogger quite a few years ago now, I wrote a post called The Number One Reason My Blogging Grew into a Business.
I told the story of my wife giving me an ultimatum to get my blogs to a full time level or to get a real job. It didn’t happen quite like that but it was a story where we kind of together, Vanessa and I, decided to really ramp things up with the blogging. I told that story and it’s amazing how many people related to that, it’s amazing how many readers related to that moment of having those sorts of discussions but it’s also a story that enabled me to teach an important lesson as well. It was a personal discovery story I guess in many ways because in making that decision, my eyes were opened to a whole heap of new things.
The second type of story is a story as an analogy or as an illustration. This is where your whole post might not be a story, it might just be you telling a story to illustrate a particular point. Or, to use as a metaphor if you like.
Another example of a post that I wrote on ProBlogger a number of years ago was a post called My Search for The Perfect Cafe and What it Taught Me About Blogging. I pulled some principles of the cafes that I was seeing and tied them to how to build a blog that’s welcoming and that people want to keep coming back to.
The third type of story that you might want to tell is a success story. Tell them how you achieved something. These stories can be inspirational, motivating for your readers, and can also teach them along the way.
On the flip side of that, the fourth type of story is the failure story. I find these stories are actually more powerful, they make you relatable, they show people that you’re not perfect, that you’re human but you can learn from your failures.
Probably the classic example of this on ProBlogger was a post where we told the story of how we sent an email to a whole heap of more people than we probably should’ve, it was an email that we sent out by mistake. I think it was titled How Not to Send an Email, A Day We’d Rather Forget but a Story We Need to Tell.
The fifth type of story is a biography. Tell someone else’s story, share their journey. Maybe something that you interview them to get their story or maybe just your observations of another person’s story or maybe you do some research on a historical figure.
On the flip side of that, you might want to tell an autobiography. Tell your own story from start to finish, or at least part of your story. I’ve done this a number of times on ProBlogger for example with a post called Becoming a Blogger, a story of many parts where I walk readers through how I started a blog but how I became a full time blogger and the steps that I took along the way.
Another type of story that you might want to tell is a how I did it story. These are autobiography type stories but they also can be more practical. Talking your readers through a process. Another example of this is a post that I wrote many years ago now on ProBlogger about the first ebook that I launched and how I walked through that. I talked about eight lessons that I learned through that process and talked about the step by steps of what I did in launching that ebook.
Another type of story you might want to tell is a picture story. This is using images to tell the story rather than any words at all. This can be very effective. You may choose to mix up some words and images or even use video or audio as well. You’re creating pictures using something more visual to create your story.
Another type of story you might want to tell is more of a case study. This is where you pull apart someone else’s experience in a case or your own experience. This, again, can be sort of walking through a process but also I guess telling the beginnings of stories. Often, people see examples of those that they admire, the end results, but they don’t know how they got to that end result. A case study can really walk people through that.
Another example of a post that I did that I would consider to be a case study is a post I published on ProBlogger. Again, Twelve Blogging Income Streams where I walked my readers through how I added different income streams to my blogging over time. Really, a step by step type process.
You might try a fiction story. A well written, made up and imaginative story can be a really good way to lead into a post. You might want to start a post with sort of a fictional story in some way, it doesn’t have to be a true one although you probably want to come clean about whether it’s true or not.
Reader’s stories can be another type of story that you can tell where you tell the story of one of your readers, you might again want to interview them or you might want to get a reader to submit a story as well. That might be a bit hard for today’s challenge but it’s the type of story that you could tell in the future on your blog.
What about writing a collective story? This is where you tell the story of a group of people or your industry or your niche. I saw someone do this a little while ago on the release of the new iPhone where they told the story of smartphones for example. It’s not a personal story, it’s the story of a developing product category. That would be another way of doing it.
You might want to tell the story of photography, you might want to tell the story of a certain type of technology or a type of niche within the blogger’s field. Go back through the history of different blogs that have been invented. There’s a whole heap of different ways that you can do that collective story.
The second to the last one, story number thirteen that you might want to do is an imagine if story. This is almost like a hypothetical where you get your readers to imagine their life in the future. It actually paints a picture of what could be. These are kind of fictional but they’re kind of in the future. It’s hard to explain it but I’ll give you an example of this in the show notes in a post I wrote on ProBlogger called How to Craft a Blog Post where I tell the story in the second person with the reader as the main character. These are useful to help your readers to feel something, to be in the shoes of themselves in the future. Difficult one to tell but check out the example in today’s show notes.
The last type of story that you might want to tell is a day in the life type stories where you walk readers through a typical day for you. I have done this a number of times on ProBlogger, day in the life of a professional blogger, and readers love it. They love to see the work flow, the rhythm of my particular day. That might be a really useful one for you to show your readers what a typical day in your life is like. Or, you might want to document someone else’s day as well.
Today, I’m issuing you the challenge to tell a story on your blog. Your story might be long, it might be short. It might be written, visual, audio or video. It may be the whole post or it might just introduce your post or be a part of your post. It’s totally up to you. Be as creative as you want. It could be a serious story, an inspirational story, a funny story. It’s totally up to you but I cannot wait to read it or to view it if it’s a video.
Create your post, publish it, head over to the ProBlogger Challenge Group on Facebook and share the link to what you’ve created. It’s really important because you sharing your link is one, going to get you hopefully a little bit of traffic to your blog and help it to be seen, you never know who might see it and share it but it will also help the rest of us to get some inspiration and to learn how to create better content ourselves. That’s what this challenge is all about.
If you’ve got a few moments today, check out some of the other posts that other participants have submitted in the Facebook group as well. Comment on them, like them, share them if you find them inspirational as well. We’d really love it if we could pay it forward a little bit with this whole challenge.
I can’t wait to see what you come up with today. We are over the halfway mark in this seven day challenge. We’ve got three more to come and I promise you that one of them is a fairly easy one. You might be able to do it fairly quickly, I’ll save that for Sunday. That will come up in a couple of episodes time.
Tune back in tomorrow. If you haven’t already subscribed to this podcast, subscribe now. You’ll get notified of when the next episode goes live in about twenty-four hours. Head over the the Facebook group and check out the show notes today where I do have links to the examples that I gave you over at problogger.com/podcast/141.
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