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14 Types of Stories You Can Tell On Your Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 5th of November 2009 Writing Content 0 Comments

Yesterday we explored WHY stories can be such a powerful communication tool on your blog.

Today we’ll look at 14 types of stories that you might like to try on your blog.

14 Types of Stories You Can Tell On Your Blog

  1. Personal Discovery Stories – tell how you discovered a lesson. These stories show your readers how similar you are to them and also might give some practical advice on how they might learn from your experience.
  2. Stories as Analogies and Illustrations – tell a story that on the surface has nothing to do with your topic but which illustrates a principle that is relevant.
  3. Success Stories – tell how you achieved something. These stories can be inspirational and motivating for your readers.
  4. Failure Stories – I find that these stories are incredibly powerful – particularly if you are able to show some lessons learnt through a failure.
  5. Tell Someone Else’s Story – sharing the journey of someone else and how/what they learned can be effective
  6. How I did it Stories – these practical stories can be effective because they talk your readers through a process in a relatable way
  7. Biographies – pick a key person in your niche and tell your readers that person’s story – pulling out useful parts that can be applied and used to enhance your readers lives.
  8. Autobiographies – tell your own story from start to finish. I’ve done this a couple of times (example) and find readers really respond well to it. It can also be something to link to from your About Page for further reading.
  9. Picture Stories – using images or video can be another great way of communicating a story because it engages the senses in a way that text can’t (similarly – audio posts/podcasts can do this too).
  10. Case Studies – quite often pulling apart someone else’s experience in a case study can be a powerful way to connect with readers. Similarly you can use your own story, or the story of a project, brand or company that you had something to do with can be useful.
  11. Fiction – if well written a made up and imaginative story can be a good way to lead into a post. You’ll probably want to come clean about the fact that it’s not true though :-)
  12. Reader Stories – ask your readers to tell you their stories/experiences on a topic. You might kick things off with a short one of your own but then quickly hand it over to others to share.
  13. Collective Stories – sometimes telling the story of a group of people, industry, niche etc can be very powerful. This might be presented as a ‘history of….’ your niche/industry which chronicles key developments over time. These pieces can almost become reference material for others in your industry.
  14. Imagine If…. Stories – another type of story that I’ve seen used well on occasion is one where you get your reader to imagine a hypothetical scenario that they are in. Here’s an example of this where I told a story in the 2nd person (with YOU the reader as the main character). These posts can be particularly useful for getting readers to FEEL something or to help them to understand that the problem that you’re writing about is one that is personal for them.

I’m sure there are plenty of other types of stories to tell. Feel free to suggest your own in comments below. I’d also love to see examples of where you’ve tried some of these story telling techniques (and others) as part of your blogging and to hear your stories of how they went!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Love it. I have done a couple of these.

  2. Having started a company (in pre-blog 1995) that, at the heart of every thing it does, helps people/companies/places tell their stories, this post is beyond excellent. As Muriel Rukeyser (American poet, political activist) said, “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.”

    In the last few years we’ve seen how vital and POWERFUL stories are becoming, and this personalization and “connection” will only gain importance. Earlier this year Forbes.com published an article about “The Ceo as Storyteller in Chief.” This is true in business and with your own life story (on your blog, in talking with someone in the coffee shop, wherever and whenever). When you successfully share stories, you ratchet up potential connections and relationships with people.

    Thanks for a great post to help people know how to share different kinds of stories in a variety of ways!

  3. Oops! Watch that title Mr. Rowse!

  4. How about memories and traditions? In my niche I often bring up family traditions. Most everyone can relate to those. And memories…I recently did a post why I didn’t dress up for halloween (the story explained why that was important to me.) and it got visitors talking.

  5. Darren,

    It’s great that you are continuing this series on “story telling on your blog”.

    I’m a big believer in story telling and to be honest my blog and the stories I tell on my blog have saved my life in the sense that my first blog started, in June 2007, at a moment of incredible personal, emotional, financial and career low for me.

    The blog and my stories and knowing a few people were reading gave me a sense of existance … the blog allowed me not to feel so isolated/alone.

    I quite like this point you make: “Failure Stories – I find that these stories are incredibly powerful – particularly if you are able to show some lessons learnt through a failure.”

    Talking about failure is important because it helps show other people that success is NOT overnight and that sometimes success comes after MANY failures. I guess as long as you keeping learning everytime you fall flat on your face, then you should be moving forward.

    I find it quite important to read that people I admire admit that it wasn’t always Champagne & Caviar and that they’ve had to work hard at getting where they are.

    It gives me hope and keeps me going!


  6. These are great suggestions. I really enjoy reading your articles bevause they are always informative and you don’t have spam/ads all over your page. Thanks!

  7. Great article, but there the post is titled “14” with “12” in the subheading.

  8. The fail story is probably the hardest one, since you have to admit to making a mistake… Going to make a solid effort to do this in a future post, if I ever make a mistake… :)

  9. Check. Check. Check and hooray!

    I’ve got these story-type posts in the bag. ;)

    I’m sure this will serve as a good reminder and quick inspiration for writers block.

  10. Really nice looking list there! As a university instructor and keynote speaker, I find that telling stories is the best way to get through to my audience. I use the same tactics when I blog and have had pretty good success.

    Often times, even if I have to take several minutes to tell a story just to deliver a quick punchline, I know it’s worthwhile since the lesson will be burned much deeper into their brains.

  11. Fantastic list. I think I can apply some of these to my fitness niche.

  12. I write fiction every Friday on my web magazine ( http://www.observingcasually.com/category/weekly/fiction-friday/ ). We try to style ourselves as more of a magazine (along the lines of a New Yorker, with varied content). Fiction is just one of the many types of work feature each week.

  13. I love reading personal stories, so that I can learn from the person’s mistake.

  14. Love the bit about the “How I did it” stories…

    People really do want to know how others make things work – especially in making their dreams reality!


  15. Great post. Stories really help support the underlying premise of the Social Media trend, that making a connection has value.

    During a #SmallBizChat Live call the other day @TPEntreprenuer said “those who make mony in social media, will be those that successfully build rapport.” Rapport leads to people wanting to know more, it leads to them taking that next step. Telling a genuine story, or helping someone else tell their own story, can make a concept easier to understand. We can often relate to some ideas better when couched in the form of a story.

    FYI, In order to motivate myself and some of my fellow blogging people on Twitter, I have declared this to be #BtrBlogNov or Better Blog Month. Story posts are a great addition to the list of suggestions I’ve been collecting. Thanks.

    We are focusing on content – taking one month to increase the Quality, Quantity & diversity/or focus of our blog posts. I will be linking to this post (as well as to your 31 Days to a better blog – both the posts and your ebook) for inspiration. We are doing just 3 exercises a week, to jump start our blogs.


  16. I always find that How I did stories offer the best results on blogs. This is because it allows the audience to learn and ask questions about your experiences.


  17. Darren,

    Lately there seems to have been a lot of stories addressing writer’s block and other issues related to the act of writing.

    I understand that writing is a central component of blogging, but these articles make the site feel more like a clinic for writers than for people who run blogs. The subject of writing feels very remedial. People can learn to write teh English good somewhere else — starting with public schools — but they can’t get what you specifically have to offer anywhere else. (What they didn’t teach me about blogging in college is a lot. Writing, on the other hand? Check.)

    If someone is a sucky writer and/or struggles coming up with topics, you probably should bother blogging in the first place.

    I would prefer to see articles here more focused on managing, marketing and monetizing blogs.

    FYI – I checked the feed. This is a repeat post. Also, the title says “14 types” while the subhead says 12.

  18. Telling stories is important for branding and selling. If you don’t know how to tell a story to help someone relate to something, then you won’t be able to properly brand yourself. Everyone has their own unique story to share that I am sure at least one person on the earth will benefit from. So help someone else out by telling your story

  19. Indeed, I found this kind of entries on my blog quite popular – people just love learning on someone else’s experiences.

  20. Even if it is just the intro paragraph, a story sets up a good post. This advice is especially useful to how to posts, because we forget to do this.

  21. I think, case studies are very important, specially in technical blogs. Case studies help establishing blogger authority as well as experience on the subject.

  22. Currently I am blogging about my Journey in to Entrepreneurship and the failures and successes that come to light during the week. I find that there are more and more bloggers using the story methods as opposed to the “Term Paper” or “Just the facts” methods. I feel that may have to do with the youthfulness of bloggers and the free sprit that comes with that.

  23. Solid post. I’d add “interviews”.

  24. There’s something about telling stories, especially stories that involve YOU, something you’ve experienced, learned, or failed at that really brings readers in. It truly helps people get to know, like and trust you. I’ve seen this as the absolute truth on my blog. The more ME I allow in to my blog the more my readership grows, and the more my income grows because people trust that when I actually recommend something I’m not doing it just to make money but because it’s really something that will help them in their journey.

    To Jeffry’s comment ~ you may know how to write, but a huge part of monetization ~ for me ~ was learning how to build this kind of relationship with my readers ~ and I did that by telling stories. Once I really “got” my income grew rapidly. It’s not so much about “ad placement” that made me money but really becoming a trusted adviser to my readers ~ and I did that by telling stories.

  25. Jackie, my comment was not simply about this one post (which was posted twice). It’s a broader observation.

  26. I like this list. I never thought about telling fiction stories, but I’ll definitely give em a try. If constructed right I can see how those stories could really drive a point home.

  27. Hey Darren,

    Stories are the most effective communication tool. Personal success and failure experience not only is helpful to readers, it also builds your credibility.

    Your personal experience makes your article personal, so people in a similar situation can relate.

    Your personal experience makes your article convincing. Your results shows that what you’re saying works – it’s not just an idea or theory. And your failures serves as lessons for readers, in addition to building up your honesty and credibility.

    Thanks for your other suggestions, and just the overall reminder to continue telling stories and making them more personal.


  28. Good tips.. Don’t take all of the method.. Just grab 3-4 method and elaborate it to become a great article

  29. Darren,

    I stumbled upon your website from http://www.cenaynailor.com, she linked to your 21 blogging mistakes article. I wanted to comment on that one but it is old and closed. Anyway, your website is very informative, thanks for your posts.

    To Jeff, perhaps you shold proof read your original post. Also, I visited your website and the menu’s are messed up. The search button and the contact button are merged. Not sure if you saw that but just thought I would let you know.

  30. We all have to be story tellers these days to get people’s attention and maintain it. I’ve already tried Personal Discovery Stories, Analogies, Success Stories, Someone Else’s Story, picture stories and Bios in the form of interviews but plenty more ideas for other stories to be told here.

    My only contention is the Failure Stories – If they’re about you I think you then have to show how you turned your faliure around into a success story! And how do you do that without coming across as boastful? It’s tricky….

  31. Thank you for sharing this post! You have given me some great ideas for sprucing up my story telling methods on my blog.

  32. I’ve done eight of these. I’ll look for opportunities to do the other four.

    Rita Blogging at The Survive and Thrive boomer Guide

  33. I’m glad to have read this since I”m about to publish a story about how I got held up at gunpoint after a high speed car chase in Tijuana, Yes it’s a true story :)

  34. Hi i was wondering how much you would calculate to set your blog design up on my web blog for me, because i really like the look of your web logs but i don’t know how to build such a great design.

  35. As like the rest of the crowd on here, I agree an excellent list, in a really easy to read style!

    I tend to lean towards motivational and success stories with grab headlines.

    Great Work Darren


  36. Victoria says: 11/05/2009 at 7:22 pm

    I truly appreciate your story emphasis as I’m about to start a blog site that will primarily be anecdotal stories. Developing this method truly causes us to connect with ourselves and our audience.

  37. I think failure stories can have a tremendous effect, if you can also provide a positive outlook by showing what lessons can be learned. Obviously, it takes some courage to “strip down” in front of your audience, but chances are you will be rewarded.

  38. Hello Darren and thanks for this post. Came across it on Twitter today. I was stuck at my blog, not knowing what to write and I’ve been in a funk for a couple of days, so I thought I’d check in to see if what I was writing about was in your article which I have Bookmarked.

    Sure enough there it is : Failure stories. LOL I’m afraid I’m going for that one first. I have 3 blogs to write before 1pm Aussie time tomorrow, so I’m sure this post will come in handy many times.

    So, if you don’t mind, I’ll go and wallow in my failure story, get it off my chest, then I can stop this victim mentality and get on with living. LOL

  39. I think people like to know other people’s business. that is human nature and we can’t deny that. They would also be very interested to know, how did you come out from those difficult situaution? How did you manage to beat your fears? and what routes did you follow towards the success?

    So, creating post that relates to yourself always help to draw readers. Because, they can also relate those situations to themselves as well.

  40. Good tips.. Don’t take all of the method.. Just grab 3-4 method and elaborate it to become a great article

  41. I totally agree with story telling. I’m currently writing a story to post on my blog about a SNAKE in my TUB! Yes, true story! And I have many, many more that I can add.

    When you share who you really are, readers are able to connect with you a little better. We are all human (or at least some of us) and it is important to show that.

    Great ideas on the 14 list and I’ll have to incorporate more of those in my blog.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    Deb :)
    Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer

  42. Hi Darren

    I’m very new to blogging and am also one of your students for 31DBBB.

    After reading this i am now going to start implementing stories onto my blog but i have one question,

    For a new blog such as mine, http://www.richwealthsecrets.com , how would i know if something im implementing such as stories posts is going good or bad?

    This is a problem that im having!



  43. Both success and failure stories are eligible to be written. Both types of experience can guide others. Your success story can become a light house for others, and your failure story can become a lesson for others and precaution. Anyways, blog stories are always have good impact.

  44. Hi Daren I also read your previous post that you write on it. The topic you mention here is really nice for tell story to our reader. Now I will try to follow this guideline while I write new post.

  45. Basically, you can write about anything. It all depends on the “type-of-blog” you have. i.e., Your target audience.

  46. The no.s 1, 6, 11 and 12 look interesting, and I think I can apply them at my blog. :)

  47. Are we not see point about inspirational story? I think it’s worth to put in one point stand..

  48. Thanks for the tips. Even as I read through the list I was enlightened with ideas!

  49. Great source of inspiration. I often think of this and get lost in my ideas…

  50. Great post Darren, a nice reminder of areas to cover for future posts.

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