In March of 2015, I left my job as a Systems Engineer for the Navy and, in April, I took a $75,000 pay cut and became a full-time entrepreneur. Those first few weeks after driving away from the Navy Yard, there was this thrill and excitement, a constant hint of un-comfortableness, and pure passion in my bones. It was time to come alive, stop hiding, and embrace all that I am and all that I had learned in service to the world and the people closest to me.
Unfortunately, there was one thing I wasn’t prepared for and one thing nobody seems to tell you before you quit the safe, stable, 75k-a-year-job, and jump face first into uncertainty…
Stepping out under my own name, and with my own story leading the way, brought up every single tiny insecurity I had and ever had.
“This is stupid. No one cares. No one likes you.”
These were the thoughts that ran my show.
“Will people listen? Will they respond? Am I credible? Do I have anything to share?”
At one point, I went to my fiancé, threw my hands in the air, and declared once and for all that I wasn’t cut out for this dream chasin’ life. He slowly turned around, gave me this big, mischievous smile, and said, “Cheer up, Kelly! You’ll be able to turn this into a blog post one day!”
At first, I was shocked (and annoyed) at his less-than-ideal response when I felt like my whole world was caving in. But then, I realized he was right. I realized that as much as an experience I’m in might suck, I would be able to share its story later. I’ll be able to connect with more people, walk alongside a greater population, and turn around to help others following my footsteps. To give a hand when someone needs it most, exclaim a truthful “Oh girl I’ve been there!” and let another know they are most definitely not alone.
All of a sudden, a smile flashed across my face and a tiny bit of laughter crooked out of my throat. He was right.
I can turn anything into a story and it’s one of the most powerful tools in my toolbox.
Stories take good messages and make them great. They help us remember ideas and concepts in a way that numbers, statistics, and facts can’t. There’s enough information in the world to last us a lifetime. Billions of links to tens of millions of pieces of content are shared each month through social media alone. But while the content and information available to us is magnifying by the day, the context that connects us to the content is still missing. Those who can create and share powerful stories will build followings, find tribes, and change lives more quickly. Here are four other reasons to start your next blog post with a story.
4 reasons to start your next blog post with a story
- Your story is unique, and part of the reason I’ll want to work with you and only you. When you craft your brand story, you form a deep connection with your ideal clients, one that can’t be found anywhere else.
- It’s empowering. Have you ever shared a piece of your story? Maybe one that felt a little vulnerable or raw? When we take ownership of our stories – the good and the work in progress – we stand a little bit taller and feel a little bit more confident in who we are and how we can serve.
- It makes writing content easy. All you have to do when crafting your next blog or social media post is tell me a story, tell me how that story connects to your message, and then tell me what to do or how I can apply this message to my life. When you use this formula (story + connect to message + leave a takeaway), and have a deep connection to your message, content ideas are endless and you know exactly how to start each post!
- It’s captivating. “Stories work in marketing because human brains are hardwired to remember them. Storytelling is as old as time. They have long been used to hand down history and build community. A great story cuts through the clutter of (too much) information.”
When you’re ready to start your next blog post with a story, here’s my favorite three-part formula (inspired by one of my favorite story-tellers Stephanie May Wilson).
- Share the story and paint the picture: Your blog post topic could be anything. It could be how to eat for better skin if you’re a health coach, how to create a sales funnel if you’re a business coach, how to write your website if you’re a copy coach, or even the top 5 bodyweight exercises if you’re a fitness coach. But no matter what you do or who you help, you can always start with a story that brings context to your topic. This story will give me a better chance at remembering whatever it is that you’re teaching.
For example, tell me how you realized what you ate could help your skin. Or, tell me a story of a client who made a dietary change and saw improvement in her skin clarity as a result. If you’re the business coach talking about sales funnels, then tell me about your first sales funnel experience, a sales funnel “fail” you went through, or even tell me about a brand with a great sales funnel and what it was like for you to move through it. If you’re the copy coach helping write websites, tell me your first experience writing copy, how you got into the field, or how you learned that copy matters in the first place. Finally, if you’re the fitness coach, then consider sharing a story about how you learned the value of bodyweight exercises or what it was like trying your first bodyweight fitness class.
When you put context on a topic – something that can help me relate to whatever you’re talking about and understand that topic on a deeper level – then I am more likely to remember what you taught me and to go back to you when I’m in need of your expertise again.
- Connect that story to your message: For the second piece of your blog post, tell me how that story connects to your message. This is where you tie the story into your work and why you do what you do. To get started, think about these questions:
What is the purpose of the story you shared?
What are you teaching me or what can I learn from your story?
What’s the one thing you want me to take away from this blog post?
How does this story relate to your ideal clients or your work?
- Leave me with a takeaway: Last but definitely not least, end this post with some tangible value! In this piece, you want to bring the post back to your ideal clients by telling how to apply your teaching to his/her life. This is where you get to showcase your knowledge – your expertise of what you do – and give your ideal clients something of value.
What are you trying to teach me?
What can I now do?
How does this help me?
What can you give to help make life easier?
This is where you teach me, help me, give me insights, tell me what to do, post an action or two, etc. If you’re the health coach, this might be where you tell me what to eat to improve the clarity of my skin (and maybe even give me one of your favorite recipes). If you’re the business coach, this might be where you list 5 tips for creating your first sales funnel or the number 1 sales funnel mistake not to make. If you’re the copy coach, you may share 5 ways to improve your copy immediately or a template for writing a sales page copy. Finally, if you’re the fitness coach, you may share 5 bodyweight leg exercises to build muscle or 5 bodyweight abs exercises for better core control.
When you start your blog posts with a story, the inspiration is suddenly everywhere!