One of the most common things that is missing from people’s writing when they are writing content is that they forget to tell a story.
Of course I don’t just mean telling any story. If the story you are telling is about what you ate today and the types of things you like to do, you are not differentiating yourself from the crowd.
Not only do you need to tell a story, but you need to tell an engaging story that your readers will be interested in.
One more important point: don’t create unnecessary flourishes in your writing or you’ll end up drowning in them. Keep it simple and just write what you mean.
Try out the four tips below in your next piece of writing.
1. Tell a story that is personal to you.
People are often concerned about telling a personal story about themselves (especially online). Don’t be afraid to put a bit of personality in your writing.
However, don’t tell a story that is going to make you or others feel uncomfortable. If you feel that the story is too personal, find another means of communicating what you want to say
But never forget the power a good personal story can put into your writing. People identify with other people, and don’t tend to identify much with abstract concepts. That’s just human nature.
2. Give audience-specific examples in your writing.
While this seems like obvious advice, we very often forget who we are writing for when we put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
Don’t just think about whether your audience will be interested in your topic, but think about whether the way you are communicating the topic is interesting to them.
For example, if you have to speak or write to a group of computer programmers about this year’s sales figures, they are probably going to have a difficult time relating to your topic.
In this instance, you could use a specific sales example from the computer or software industry that relates your example to what they do. Instead of speaking in generalities, get specific with examples that relate to your audience.
3. Tell a story your audience can relate to.
Now that you have established who your audience is, think about a the story you want to tell them.
Will they be able to accurately relate to the story you are going to tell? Is it too complex for them to follow? Too simplistic?
A good measure of this is to test your story out on a few potential audience members. Do they find your story and the way you’ve conveyed easy to comprehend? Or are they filled with questions half-way through your telling of the story?
4. Use a metaphor or story to convey your tacit, important points.
It’s easy to use a story to introduce some of the points you have that are easier to explain.
Don’t tell a story that tells people about numbers, facts or figures. Tell a story that has some emotional appeal.
In the example I talked about above, using a story from the software industry would be a great way to get computer programmers more interested in the sales figures you have to convey to them.
But don’t try to weave sales figures into an otherwise interesting story. It’s just not going to work.
Instead, focus on the specific actions you would like your audience to take. This is the tacit part of your writing, the part of your writing that should motivate them to do what you need them to do.
Always keep this in the back of your mind as you write each sentence. What do you need your audience to do? Does giving them a complete breakdown of all the sales figures by geography really make sense to them? Do they care? Does it help me achieve my end goal?
I hope these four points will help you in your writing.
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