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14 Different Stories You Can Tell to Get People Reading Your Blog

Today’s episode is about how to work out what to write about when you feel like you have nothing left to say. It’s part two on this topic, so you might like to listen back to episode 80 first. I share 14 different types of stories you can use to get people excited about reading your blog, and resources and reading you can refer to into the future when you get stuck.

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In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). In today’s episode:

  • How to tell a personal discovery story
  • How to tell an illustrative or analogous story
  • How to share a success story
  • How to share a story about failure
  • How to tell someone else’s story
  • How to tell ‘How I did it’ stories
  • How to tell a biography story – a story about someone else
  • How to tell your autobiography – tell your own story from start to finish
  • How to use images or video to tell a story
  • How to tell a story using a case study
  • How to tell a fictitious story
  • How to share reader stories
  • How to tell collective stories
  • How to tell ‘Imagine if…’ stories

Further Reading and Resources for 14 Different Stories You Can Tell to Get People Reading Your Blog

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Hi there. My name is Darren Rowse and welcome to episode 81 of the ProBlogger Podcast. Today, we’re going to continue on from my last podcast where I encourage you to tell your story as a way of coming up with something unique to say on your blog. That being a struggle that a lot of bloggers have is that everyone’s already said it, while no one’s already said your story. You can actually listen to that last podcast episode in episode 80.

But today, I want to give you some different types of stories that you might want to tell on your blog. Some of these are stories that you could tell about your own story, but some of them are also other types of stories. I’m going to give you 14 of them. You can find today’s show notes where I’m going to give you a whole heap of examples of these types of stories. You may actually want to open up this link so that you can pause the podcast as we go along and check out the examples. You can find the show notes at where I’ll give you those examples and you can also share your own examples in the comments. Let’s get into today’s episode.

Let’s get into the 14 types of stories that you can tell. The first one is the personal discovery story. This is where you tell the story of you discovering something for the first time, a lesson that you’ve learned if you like. These stories are really great because they do allow your readers to see that you are on a journey that you’re still learning. It’s often the type of story that they can really relate to because they are often in the position before you discovered your lesson, can relate to you before, and then get inspired by the after.

A good example of this is episode 38 of my own podcast here where I shared a lesson that I’d learned in 2015 about blogging, which was more about my health. I talked about my own health journey. By sharing that story, I had hundreds of people contact me and many of them said things like, “You just described me and you’ve inspired me to do something about my health as well.”

I have seen this over and over again when I’ve shared those personal stories of discovery and the lessons that I’ve learned not only the personal ones but also the discoveries in my professional development as well. How I had maybe learned a new technique in blogging or in photography as well for my photography blog. That’s the first type of story.

The second one is a story where you tell a story as an analogy or as an illustration. Again, I can give you an example from a recent episode of this podcast in episode 67. I was talking about creating products for your blog. I started that podcast off by telling the story of a busker, or in fact, two buskers street performers that my family and I had come across a few years ago. While the story of those street performers had very little to do with blogging, they illustrated the power of having your own product to sell quite well. Here’s where you tell a story that may not seem like it’s particularly relevant to what you’re talking about, but then you make it relevant. You use it as an illustration or an analogy.

The third type of story is, I guess, a little bit similar to number one, but it’s a success story. It’s how you achieved something. These stories are quite often inspirational. They’re motivating for your readers. Perhaps the best example I can give you of this is a guest post that John Merrow did back in 2011 on ProBlogger, where John told his story of overcoming some real hardships in his life and just having some remarkable success.

That guest post has been one of the most viewed posts on ProBlogger, including all the posts that I’ve written as well. That post really resonated. To this day, five years later, it’s still getting read every day and being shared on social media. It’s a story that doesn’t date. It’s an evergreen story if you like. But the key again is the before and after the journey that he’s been through and the success that he’s had despite the hardships.

That story, type three. On the flip side of that is story type four. This is where you tell a failure story. These are also incredibly powerful, particularly if you’re able to share a failure or a mistake that you or someone else made, but also pull out some practical lessons and things that people could learn from your failure.

One of the examples of this that comes to mind is a couple of years ago. We shared the story on ProBlogger of how we sent an email to hundreds of thousands of people that were supposed to go to about 100 people. I think about the numbers. It may have even been more than 100,000 people. We shared that story about how we made that horrible mistake. It was a horrible […] we felt terrible, but we wanted to share that story because it’s so easy to do and we wanted to share what we did after we made that mistake.

Again, I’ll share the link to that story and all these others in today’s show notes. But again, we had a lot of really positive feedback about sharing that story. We could quite easily have tried to keep it sacred and not share it, but we really wanted to come clean and most importantly, help other people who may have been in a similar situation to that or help people avoid doing the same thing we did.

The fifth type of story that we wanted to briefly touch on today is where you tell someone else’s story. You could do this in some of the other ways that we’ve already talked about as well. This is where you share the journey of someone else, what they learned, what they overcame, and how they succeeded perhaps in different ways.

Again, a good example of this is a fairly recent post that we did on ProBlogger where Stacey who edits ProBlogger interviewed Carly Heitlinger from College Prepster. You’ll find if you go and check out that post, it’s partly an interview post but Stacey also tells her story before she does the interview as well. We’ve done that a number of times that semi interview, semi storytelling-type posts, and they’ve worked really well for us.

The sixth type of story that you can tell is a “how I did it” story. These are a little bit more practical and might not be so emotive or so much about the story, but it’s almost like a tutorial that you tell with an example. This is how I actually achieve this thing or this is how I work through this process.

A good example of this is one which we had as a guest post recently, How a Simple Blog Led to Writing for Forbes, Mashable, and TechCrunch. That was a guest post that we wrote where the author walked through that process of how they actually took a simple blog and opened up all kinds of opportunities as a result of it.

The seventh type of story is the biography. This is where you pick a key person in your industry or niche, and then you tell your readers that person’s story, pulling out useful parts or interesting parts that perhaps your readers could apply. You don’t even need to interview that person to tell a biography. You just need to be able to research.

This is particularly good if you don’t have an opportunity to speak with that famous person or that notable person, but you will actually find that a lot of people will be open to being interviewed to help you put those biographical types of posts together. Don’t be afraid to approach someone and say, “I’d love to just write a post that shares your story.” You might include some quotes or you may even find that they’re willing to guest post that for you.

The eighth type of story is the autobiography. This is where you obviously tell your own story from start to finish. I’ve done this a number of times over on ProBlogger. Again, I’ll give you an example of one post that I wrote back in 2006 that told my four-year story to that point of blogging and how I started as a hobby and grew it into a part-time job and then into a full-time thing. I then went back and updated that post in 2008, I think it was, so there are the first six years of that story now. I probably could go back and update it again, although I’ve done a similar thing on the about page on ProBlogger as well.

This is where you tell your own story right from the beginning, right to the end. Those types of stories often do quite well as a landing page perhaps on social media to include those types of stories because people do like to see where you’ve come from.

The ninth type of story is where you use images or videos to tell a story. You don’t actually have to write your story. You could actually shoot it on video, you talking or even visually if you want to get a little bit creative just by sharing pictures with very few words.

The 10th type of story is the case study. This is where you pull apart your own situation and really delve into the processes that you’ve gone through, or you do that for someone else, or perhaps even a client if you have a client.

I’ll give you an example of a post on ProBlogger that I wrote a couple of years ago. It was my 12 blogging income streams post where I actually walked through how I started to monetize my blogs right from the very early days, the first money that I made from blogging. I walked through how my monetization has evolved over the years and talked about the top 12 different income streams that I’ve used.

I could quite easily have just written a post with 12 income streams, but I found that by telling that story and telling why I chose the different income streams at certain points, and how I found them, and how much they made in the early days, it actually made it much more relatable to people. People actually read that post right through. Whereas I find if you just list 12 things, people don’t tend to engage with it quite as much.

The 11th type of story is where you write a fictional piece. I’ve never actually done this. I’ve never written a post in that kind of form, but I know there are quite a few fiction bloggers around in the blogosphere. That may be either a good to have as a whole post or to lead into a post in a similar way perhaps to an illustrative or an analogy type of post.

The 12th type of post that you might want to experiment with is where you ask your readers to tell their stories and share their experiences in the comments. You may actually want to get them to submit via a Google form for example where you get all of their stories in and then you post some of those as actual posts on your blog as well. I find reader stories can really work very well. They don’t need to be long. You might just get your readers to submit a 200-word story of how they discovered something or all their experience of a certain situation.

The 13th type of story is difficult to explain. This is a collective story. This is where you might tell the story of a group of people. It’s biographical but it’s not just of one person. It’s over a group of people or an industry, a collective group in different ways. You might want to tell the story of how Silicon Valley developed, as an example. It’s a biography all that, an area or a group of people within a particular area.

I might tell a story of blogging, how bloggers started out, how blogging has changed over the years, and give examples of different people along the way. It’s more of a collective story or a history of a particular aspect of life.

The last type of story that you might want to experiment with is what I call an “imagine if” story. This is where you tell a story that projects forward. You’re not actually telling a real story. You’re actually telling a hypothetical scenario. I’ll give you an example of this as well.

I started off by a series of blog posts that I wrote a few years ago called How to Craft a Blog Post, 10 Crucial Points to Pause on a Talk over these 10 blog posts about 10 different aspects of writing a great blog post, but I kicked off that series with a little story. It was a hypothetical story. I’ll actually read it to you. This is the start of that blog post.

“It hits you like a ton of bricks. It’s an idea for that killer blog post that’s just bound to bring you all the traffic you’ve ever dreamed of. With the idea fresh in your mind, you sit down at your keyboard and bang it out desperate to hit Publish as quickly as you can for fear that someone else will beat you to the punch. As smoke rises from your keyboard, you complete your blog post, quickly add a title to it, and proudly hit Publish. Visions of an avalanche of visitors, incoming links, and comments swell before you, but then reality hits you like a slap in the face. There are a few visitors, no comments, no links. It’s not a killer post. It’s dead.”

I told that story and then I went on to say, “Well, have you ever had that experience? I’m going to start this series of blog posts and it’s going to help you to not have that experience again.” It wasn’t a real story but it was a story. It was an imaginative story. It was trying to get my readers to start feeling while I was writing that series of blog posts and get them in the mood for it and get them ready for it.

That’s just 14 types of stories that you could perhaps experiment with on your blog. I know in my last podcast, I talked a lot about you telling your own story and I think that’s a really powerful thing to do. In many ways, your whole blog may be your own story and maybe a continuation of your story from blog post to blog post, but you don’t need to just tell your own stories. You can also tell other people’s stories. I think it’s a really powerful thing to practice the art of storytelling.

Now, in the last episode, I did have some further reading on how to tell good stories. We’ll include those same links in today’s show notes, as well as all the examples that I’ve mentioned in this particular podcast. But like I said before, I would love to see the stories that you’ve told on your blog. I love a good story myself and I’d love to read them. I’m sure other listeners of this podcast would love to read them as well.

Do feel free to either tell your story in the comments of today’s show notes or share a link to a story that you have told on your blog. You can find today’s show notes at Look forward to seeing your story there.

How did you go with today’s episode?

What other types of stories have worked for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Feel free to include a link to an example of one of your story blog posts that has done well.

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