This guest post is by Matthew Brennan of Matthewlbrennan.com.
Stop for a second and consider this blog post opening:
“Matt rose from his unpadded chair, and stopped to scratch his head and stare at the empty document on his computer. He tiptoed through his pitch-black apartment at 2 a.m., careful not to step on the sleeping cat.
“He opened the refrigerator, stared into the bright light, and settled on making a ham and cheese sandwich, even though he wanted turkey. As he arranged the lunchmeat over the bread, inspiration struck. Once he returned to the computer, food in hand, he began clinking away on the keyboard, knocking the words out.
“Matt defeated another case of writer’s block…”
How to make your readers invest in your work
It’s time for small business bloggers to reconsider how they package their blog posts. Search results always turn up several (or more!) posts on the same subject. Providing a new twist will help yours to stand out.
Journalists can teach bloggers something when it comes to enticing a reader. A good journalist is always considering how to make their story stand out. They’re regularly competing with their counterparts from different newspapers, but also with the journalists who wrote the stories that surround theirs.
They crave the attention of a reader. They act on it by capitalizing on the human element.
Journalists are master storytellers
They implement a little-known writing secret: people want to read about people. Journalists know that readers want a little action with their morning coffee.
So, when you sit down to write a “list” blog, why not give us those tips with a little action? My initial example could easily be summed up in a short sentence on a list blog:
“To defeat writer’s block: Get up and move around. When you walk away from the computer inspiration can strike.”
Sure, this might be helpful, but seeing it in action creates a stronger mental image. I guarantee your competition will likely not write about the creative inspiration stirred up while fixing a ham and cheese sandwich at 2 a.m.
A personal story shows that your tip or trick works. It shows the frustrations that come with writer’s block, and the corresponding action to battle it.
Zoom in, zoom out
Journalists give us a close-up image. Think of it like a magnifying glass on somebody performing an action. Once they have a reader hooked, they pull the magnifying glass back to give us a view of the big picture.
Say, for example, you own a health club. Instead of just dully writing about the three best exercises for flatter abs, maybe you begin the blog writing about your workout, or the workout of one of the trainers.
If it’s working for the poster child of the physically fit, readers will be more interested when you pull the magnifying glass back to establish the bigger picture.
Try these techniques yourself
Bloggers could benefit a great deal from a dose of personal storytelling. It creates a stronger investment from your reader. The greater the investment, the better the chance they will complete your call to action.
Don’t be afraid to go tell a personal story! What are some of the better examples that have worked for you in the past? Tell us in the comments.
Matthew Brennan is a freelance journalist and copywriter, telling stories in the Chicago area. He blogs and runs his copywriting business at Matthewlbrennan.com.