COM0014 – Blog #2: How do you tell your story?

Storytelling is part of our every day life. Whether we are doing a presentation for work, telling a friend about what happened at the ball game last night, or writing a blog post – we are all telling a story.

All stories should start with a beginning, have a middle and an end that ties it all together. The beginning grabs their attention ‘oh, this sounds good, tell me more’. The middle lays the ground work, and the end sums it all up in a clear and concise manner. This is important, you do not want the reader to feel confused or mislead in any way. Leave out any unnecessary information that does not tie into the story, ‘I had a chicken taco for dinner. Did you see Jake’s amazing catch? It won us the game!’. What you ate for dinner has no impact on Jake making that catch and winning the game.

Ever hear someone use the phrase ‘he has a memory like a goldfish’?

Research shows that people have around an 8 second attention span – a goldfish has a 9 second attention span. This means you have exactly 8 seconds to gain someone’s interest. After those 8 seconds if what you had to say is of no interest to them, they are moving on.

Keep things short, sweet, and to the point.

First thing you want to ask yourself is: why am I telling this story? You want to make sure that your readers are walking away with a clear understanding of why you were telling them that story. Are you trying to sell them something? Are you reviewing a product? Are you sharing an experience? Make it known early on what it is exactly that you want them to get out of this story.

Have you ever opened an email and at quick glance you know this is going to take you forever to read?

For myself, when I see a long email come in, the first thing I do is skim it over, picking out the key words to see if it will be worth my time to read. Same goes for a blog post. A neat trick I learned while taking a copywrite course, is to bold key words. This not only helps with those skimmers, it will also help you out when you are reviewing it. If you just read the words that are in bold, you should be able to get what your message is. Try it out next time you write something and let me know if it helps!

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