Storytelling is a universal language. Humans use stories to connect, regardless of the medium. The “language” we use is critical to our understanding of the world around us. We all have the power to mold and shape our ideas to drive action and deepen understanding.
As I develop my own storytelling voice, the following five approaches from this week’s lesson resonated with me.
Define your purpose. Answer questions such as: Why am I telling this story?, Who am I writing for?, What response do I want? What action do I want them to take? Why should they care?, What value can I offer? or How can I inspire or motivate them to take action? Thoughtful answers to these questions can help you tap into your audience’s emotions and make is easier to write.
Use the appropriate structure. There’s a lot of competition online. You only have only a few short seconds to get your audience’s attention. Put your main ideas front and centre, followed by more details. Your audience will decide whether they want to engage deeper into your content.
Elicit action. Use active language to engage your audience. Sentences written in active voice are easier to understand, clearer and more concise.
Check your work. Have you ever been immersed in a good book or article then visually tripped over a misspelled word or grammatical error? Your experience can quickly become soured and colour the author in a bad light. Take the time to double check your work for spelling, punctuation, grammar and style errors to avoid damaging your credibility. This GrammarGirl podcast offers some great tips for proofreading.
Practice. Learn and grow from your writing experience. Review your work over time to see what’s working and what’s not. Ask more questions. Is your audience finding value in your content? How can you approach things differently? Keep creating content.
I am comforted by the learnings in this week’s lesson. In my experience working as a graphic designer, I tell stories on behalf of my clients. I use many of the approaches we’ve discussed, only using different elements.
Writing online is relatively new to me. I am a private person and need to learn the best way to share my stories with others. This is my challenge.
“You know you have a world of knowledge to pass on – but you have no idea how to wrap it into an exciting package your readers will love.” says Alex Limberg of SmartBlogger. His post also beautifully illustrates the power of storytelling.
Do you have any stories about your first experience publishing content online? I’d love to hear from you.
Quick and Dirty Tips . (October 20, 2006). Proofreading Tips [Podcast]. Retrieved March 16, 2019, from https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/proofreading-tips.
SmartBlogger. (March 1, 2019). The Blogger’s Guide to Telling Stories That Win Hearts and Minds [Blog post]. Retrieved March 16, 2019, from https://smartblogger.com/storytelling/.