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6 Storytelling Strategies to Snag Subscribers & Sponsors

storytelling strategiesSuccess Starts with Storytelling

What does it take to attract a loyal following of subscribers and sponsors?

Some bloggers make it look so easy that it makes you wonder if there is a secret formula.

The truth is, successful blogging starts with storytelling.

Successful blogging requires a variety of factors. Yet, storytelling is the most fundamental skill to learn. If you cannot master the art of storytelling, subscribers and sponsors will overlook you.

Don't fret! This article will teach you 6 storytelling strategies to snag subscribers and sponsors.

Storytelling Strategies

how to write a story

Storytelling Strategy 1: Grab their Attention & Keep it

In today's fast-paced world, getting a reader’s attention is only half the battle. The other half is keeping it.

One way to do this is to use a hook. Your first line should hook your readers into your story. Use a question, a challenge, a shocking statement or a vivid opening line. This hook places your reader into the first scene of your story.

Now that you have your reader’s attention, focus on maintaining it.

Spare the boring details, remove redundancies in your story and keep the momentum going. Instead of keeping your story in chronological order, focus on getting to the conflict. The sooner you can deliver the dilemma, the better. Next, overcome the hurdle and share your message.

Storytelling Strategy 2: Have a Message

A story with a motive is a powerful marketing tool. People do not buy items. They buy experiences, stories, and fantasy. Your message should always center around this psychology of consumer behavior.

  • Have a clear message right from the beginning with a concise title.
  • Consistent messages targeted to your niche keep your content relevant, reliable and memorable
  • Use images to support your message and enhance your story
    If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is the value of a thousand words paired with powerful pictures?

The use of images in your content marketing strategy is valuable. By adding images, your content becomes more appealing, memorable and powerful.

Keep in mind that your message should have a motive. Your message should drive the reader to act. Use images to provide visual fantasies for your readers and you will earn influence.

  • Images improve the readability of your page as it breaks up your content.
  • Adding images helps your SEO. Add keywords as alt-text to improve SEO scores.
  • Images heighten brand recognition and help clients remember your message.

Strategy 3: Don’t Be Afraid to Be Vulnerable

Readers remember good stories. Good stories don’t feature you as a perfect person or some kind of hero. Be vulnerable. Talk about when you screwed up.

If you think this will take away from your credibility, think again. Readers connect with you when you admit your mistakes. You actually become more credible because you seem, well, human.

Remember, nobody wants to read an article full of self-pity. Thus, it is important to find balance in your writing. Point out your flaws and joke about it. Continue your story by showing how you resolved your mistake. Your conflict resolution re-establishes your credibility as an expert.

Strategy 4: Use Cliffhangers

Keep your readers wanting more. People want more when something is taken away from them. Don’t believe me? Think about a conversation you had with someone who stopped mid-sentence only to say "oh, never mind." That probably drove you mad with curiosity.

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Use a cliffhanger to leave your readers wanting more. Pay attention to the use of cliffhangers in TV drama series. Watch to see how producers and writers master this skill to get viewers to return.

Suspense is a powerful motivator. A cliffhanger transforms writing into entertaining content that influences readers to return.

Strategy 5: Touch Your Reader’s Soul with Your Words and Their Senses

Include the five senses to master the art of descriptive writing. Knowing how to incorporate sensory detail seamlessly into a blog post can be difficult. To help with this, think of your post as a stage and aim to create a scene.

Instead of writing, “She felt sad.” try creating a descriptive picture by writing: "The pain in her heart from her sadness became unbearable as tears welled up in her eyes."

Notice how the descriptive version makes you feel as the reader. You can visualize her sadness by seeing tears build up in her eyes. Depending on your own life experiences, you probably can relate to her heartache.

The use of descriptive writing and imagery can actually touch the soul of your readers. Incorporating the senses into your writing creates a connection with readers.

Strategy 6-Be strategic when selecting images

Visuals can enhance your storytelling process if you are strategic when selecting images.

  • Find images that look natural
  • All photos you select should resonate with your audience.
  • Visuals that reflect human experience are ideal.
  • Always use high-resolution images.
  • Get free high-resolution images from Pixabay.com
  • Aim for captivating images that you wish you could jump right into.
  • Incorporate Instagram into your storytelling strategy to give readers a behind the scenes perspective.

The use of sensory images in your blog post creates a picture in the minds of your readers. Stories are not only entertaining, they make ideas stick. Including visuals makes your brand even more memorable.

Visual Storytelling Is Critical Now

how to write a story

Newspaper, magazine, and television ads are nearing extinction. Big companies are desperately turning to social media influencers to market their brands.

Despite this time of opportunity, millions of writers continue to saturate the blogosphere. This impacts you, the budding blogger because you need to stand out somehow as competition gets steeper.

Visual storytelling is what will set you apart from the pack. Use these six strategies in every blog post.

If you can master these techniques, you can be one of the most powerful marketing agents in the world. You will convert your visitors into subscribers and your advertisers into marketing partners.

Jacquelyn Ward is the founder of DIYDESIGNMOM.com, a home design blog for busy moms on a budget. Ward, a branding expert with a marketing degree from Rutgers Business School, recently launched JacquelynWard.com, her branding agency that specializes in helping bloggers fine-tune their identity and overall branding strategy. You can also follow Jacquelyn on twitter @JacquelynWard and say hello!

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40 comments on “6 Storytelling Strategies to Snag Subscribers & Sponsors”

  1. Hi Sue and Jacquelyn

    What an amazing article

    I find that the blogs that i'm most drawn to do a great job of weaving storytelling into their content.

    For me its a must because I have issues with staying focused when reading.

    However whenever when I'm engulfed in the story I go into a trance like state and before I know it I finished the article.

    I also think the education gleaned from the content stays with me and has more of a impact for some reason.

    Anyway thanks for sharing this it was well received

    Mark

    1. Great points, Mark. This is the part of blog writing that I always have to work on.

      Thanks for your comment.
      Sue

    2. Mark,

      Thank you for the compliments and honest feedback! Like you, I struggle with keeping focus. Who doesn't find themselves daydreaming when reading boring text? I definitely can relate. Storytelling produces images in your mind and helps you relate the content to your actual experiences so it is very possible that this is why you retain the educational value of content that incorporates excellent storytelling strategies. I am working with new bloggers on JacquelynWard.com to begin or refine their branding by identifying their story. What's your story? Thank you so much for sharing!

      Jacquelyn

  2. Jacqueline, I love these story ideas! I can't wait to put them to use. The times when I have told a story in my email newsletter or on my blog, have gotten the most engagement, far and above the non-story posts. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jane,

      Isn't storytelling such a magical marketing secret? Remember story time as a child? Whether sitting on the floor in a circle or perhaps being read to before bedtime, the actual storytelling process often evokes wonderful memories. I believe it is a universal concept that people just love stories. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Jacquelyn

  3. Jacquelyn and Sue, Thanks for sharing more insights on storytelling! The world definitely needs more stories. I've written about stories myself and resonate with these ideas, especially the need to paint word pictures (show, don't tell) and develop suspense.

    Most of the time readers appreciate and respect vulnerability - especially if you're already perceived as successful! But with some audiences, you can substitute your client's success story or even tell a story, completely unrelated to your business, to make a point.

    1. Cathy,

      Thank you for reading and sharing your own useful tips. I love how you put it- the need to paint word pictures. This is a great way to think about the art of storytelling. You have some wonderful advice. I am looking forward to reading more from you. I really appreciate the last part of your comment and am inspired to learn more. Can you share an example of when you told a story completely unrelated to your business to make a point? I would love to learn more! Thanks again for reading and sharing! I appreciate hearing your perspective.

      Jacquelyn

  4. thank you for this great article. I'm an author so basically all the points that you explained here I try to use them while I'm writing my first novel ( except the image part) but I find interesting that we can use them in a blog post too.

    thank you again

    1. Houda,

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. I love that you are writing your first novel. I plan on writing mine too...mostly based on a true story. I would love to hear what your book is about. Please divulge! Thanks for your comment! I appreciate you taking the time to write.

      Jacquelyn

  5. Storytelling is my favorite thing to do, but one has to be careful to shift the focus to the reader and WHY your story will benefit them. Being vulnerable shows a human side and combining that with winning images is a win-win. Excellent tips to remember as I set out to conquer a new blog this weekend!

      1. Laurie,

        You made such an excellent point. Everyone wants to know the answer to "what's in it for me" and so you are spot on with your advice. It is important to turn your story into a marketing piece with a relatable component, features, and of course, benefits. Thank you so much for sharing and for your wise words!

        Jacquelyn

  6. This article really inspired me a lot and gave me one good idea. We are a small education company and our students come from very different financial backgrounds. Most of our ex-students are well established now and doing great. After reading this article, now I am planning to start publishing a weekly article on the journey of our students who faced lots of challenges and difficulties in their past but doing good today, in job and freelancing career. This will surely inspire others too. Thanks for sharing this article and ideas.

      1. Sujata,

        I love that you are inspired and it absolutely touches my heart that you will use my storytelling tips to create your own stories about the transformations you have seen. I would love if you shared some of these stories. I appreciate you reading and writing about my article!

        Jacquelyn

  7. Hi Sue Anne,

    Thank you for this post on story telling. It takes courage to put your story out there.

    through the ages, people used story telling as a way to carry the message. During World War Two, people told stories about the treatment of the Jews. I know this because I know survivors who are still telling their stories and are passing them down to their children. The story telling from World War Two is a dying breed. I knew many survivors and now I only know one who is 86 years old and all she does is tell stories about her experiences, surviving while Hitler was killing all the Jews I'm sorry, I'm rambling on.

    We have to be vulnerable in our story telling as it makes us human.

    Grabbing people's attention, You must have a clear message that motivates people to know, like and trust you.

    The next time I watch a movie on the TV, I'm going to follow the cliffhangers to keep my readers wanting more in mind.

    Touching peoples heart through senses is a hard thing to do, but I'm going to test drive it.

    I am going to use your six methods in a blog post to see how they work together.

    Awesome post!

    You have a wonderful day!

    Linda

    1. Hi, Linda,

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply - storytelling is such an important part of sharing our history as people.

      Sue

    2. Hi Linda,

      I am so happy you plan on using this piece in your writing. You are absolutely correct that being vulnerable makes us human. In a world where we often have to act like robots, the use of storytelling helps remind us that we are all human.

      As a passionate genealogy hobbyist, I love documenting and sharing stories of my family members and passing down experiences to honor my ancestors' legacy. Some special stories in my family take place during the Holocaust. I personally understand the importance of sharing stories within a family. I appreciate your perspective on this article. Thank you for reading!

      Jacquelyn

  8. Hello Sue and Jacquelyn,

    From the days of our great grand parents, stories has always existed. I enjoy it whenever a blog post is filled with interesting stories.

    If you really want to keep your readers crying for me then, you should incorporate your writing with good stories. And yes, i can relate very well to the Cliffhangers approach in fact, i hate it whenever someone tells me an unfinished story. It makes me mad especially when its interesting.

    There are so many ways to craft out a good story that can be included on a post. Its either you use someone's experience or your own experience.

    Sometimes if you're creative enough, you can even originate the story and your readers will still find it amazing.

    The main thing is for it to be relevant to your choosing topic.

    I've also come to understand that people tends to learn more through stories. For example, if your mother tells you that you should "stop playing with the kitchen knife to avoid getting cut" and if she started with.....

    "Cynthia my friends daughter was playing with their kitchen knife yesterday and mistakenly gave herself a very terrific cut to the extent that she nearly lost her finger"

    Now, which of them will you pay more attention to? I'm sure its the second one and you will never get the feeling of getting a terrific cut off your mind which will in turn enable you to avoid the kitchen knife at all cost until you know how to use it.

    That's the power of using stories to convey a message.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Theodore,

      I love your example. You definitely made a point there. I will definitely not use that kitchen knife if I heard that personal story! I also get certifiably angry with cliffhangers. The worst is when the cliffhanger is at the end of a movie or a television finale. Remember the Soprano's finale? Use cliffhangers to keep your readers coming back, but please don't ever just leave someone high and dry with your interesting story if you don't finish it. That drives me bonkers. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your insight.

      Jacquelyn

  9. Fantastic post Jacquelyn, and thanks for posting it here Sue.

    I am with Jenna, this is the second post on storytelling I've read recently. Though I don't think I can get enough, as I am sure no master at the art. Yet 🙂

    Really like #2, the message. That people don't buy products. That is so powerful and something I think many people don't realize.

    Cliffhangers are one of my favorite techniques. I try to use it in my blog posts, thought not enough, and more importantly in my emails, can do wonders for open rates.

    Thanks for sharing this, guessing I am not the only one that appreciates it.

  10. Hi Sue and Jacquelyn! It's amazing the way you have crafted every inch of the information and made everything understood so well, that it looked like I m not reading anything but actually visualizing. We are digital marketing training start up and we are looking forward for great ideas which can help us in improving our skills and knowledge and can share some great practical information with our fellow students. Every strategy you mentioned is worth implementing and I m looking forward to add and mix them a little bit with my strategies. Great Job!

  11. Fantastic post full of fantastic ideas for every writer/blogger to consider. If you are weaker our less focused in some of these areas. Make an effort to improve; take classes, and focus on these areas to enhance your writing. This will help in making your site a desired destination! Thank you for sharing such an informative and insightful post Jacquelyn!

  12. Hi Jacquelyn n Sue

    This post if incredibly timely and it's almost as if it were written just for me (it wasn't was it?? if it was big hugs n kisses)

    I've been trawling through my posts becoming a tad frustrated with myself that I keep using my lecture voice.

    I've got a varied background including formal communications, political writing, training documentation and the like. While I also dabble in more humorous and light-hearted prose, on my blog I do find my tenor slowly sliding towards lecturyish. I've been intending to introduce more of a story-telling tone so this post is very helpful in that regard.

    Ta!

    1. Oh, the lecture voice. I know that one well - I tend to use it also! One of my mentors says to remember you are having a conversation with just one reader and to just talk to post out loud before or after you write it. That does help.

      Thanks for your comment on Jacquelyn's great post, Lisa!
      Sue

  13. Hello, Jacquelyn and Sue.

    Grabbing the Audience attention is not easy task nowadays, audience is so much clever time by time, I am not good story teller as much you are, But Yes I learned something new here and Worthful post for me... thanks for sharing, I will definitely implement this strategy

  14. Really liked your article.
    As a writer, I totally with your point about being vulnerable
    If as a writer you admit your mistake, then it draws greater audience

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