As I write this it is the first Tuesday morning of a new month and I’m sitting in a local coffee shop going through my ‘start of the month routine‘.
It involves a large lattè (everything else hinges on this) and some delving into my blogs metrics to see how they’ve been performing.
While I do keep track of the traffic stats of my blogs each day I like to set aside an hour or two at the start of each month to go a little deeper and do some more analysis of trends on my blogs – I find that when I do this I notice things that I can build on to continue momentum on my blogs.
This morning as I was looking at the type of posts that had done well in the last few weeks on my blogs I noticed an interesting trend – many of them were ‘story‘ type posts.
- The Power of Being Personal on Your Blog – the hottest post on ProBlogger last week – a post where I tell the story of being jumped on/hugged by a reader who I’d never met before.
- The #1 Reason My Blogging Grew Into a Business – the hottest post on ProBlogger in the last month - the story of my wife giving me a 6 month deadline to get my blogging to a full time level – or go get a ‘real job’.
Both posts got a lot of traffic, were linked to by numerous other blogs and were re-tweeted more than normal.
I’ve always known how powerful ‘story posts‘ can be on a blog but I decided to dig a little further to see whether this continued deeper than just the last month.
What I discovered was that story posts have been among the most popular posts on this blog over the last 5 years time and time again. They’re not the only type of post that does well (there are a few other types of posts that do well – we might explore these in a later post) but they certainly have performed very well for me.
Here’s a few more examples of popular story posts:
- The Day 250,000 People Showed Up at My Blog – a case study that recorded my experience of a successful post.
- 9 First Step Goals for New Bloggers – a post introduced very quickly with the analogy of my son’s first steps (and a picture of him).
- Learn from My Mistake – Don’t Leave Money on the Table – a story of where I failed – shared as a warning to others.
- Becoming a ProBlogger – a Story in Many Parts – my full story of going full time as a blogger – a mini biography.
- Lessons from an Umbrella Salesman – not a personal story but an analogy type post from my early days of blogging.
- Another Day in the Life of a ProBlogger – a post from a few years back which outlined a typical day of mine.
I could go on…. and on! Each month that I looked back on through my blog here at ProBlogger a story type post featured in the top 2 or three posts.
Why are Stories Effective?
A lot could be said about the reasons why stories tend to do well on blogs but here’s a few reasons that I’ve seen in my own experience:
- Stories engage the imagination of readers
- Stories go beyond facts and theories
- Stories reveal something about yourself as a blogger (they’re personal)
- Stories trigger emotions and the senses
- Stories are conversational - they stimulate others to react and tell their stories
- Stories provide hooks for readers to latch onto in your blogging (they’re relatable)
- Stories grab and hold the attention of readers
- Stories are memorable – while people don’t always latch onto facts and figures – a good story can be remembered for years
- Stories illustrate your points in ways that can be much more convincing (and convicting) than other types of information
The key with stories on blogs is making them tie into the rest of your blog – ie make them relevant and ensure that they have some point to them that is useful to your readers on some level. While telling the story of how your dog dug up your vegetable patch might interest you, the readers of your blog about (insert your blogs topic here) may not be quite as fascinated – unless you use the story to illustrate something about your topic.
Now that we’ve looked as some of the reasons stories are effective on blogs – in my next post I want to extend the idea of story telling with a 2nd post that explores some of the types’ of stories that you might like to use on your blog.