Switch: How to Make Your Blog Better with Storytelling

Switch Book CoverThis is Part One of  series about the book Switch: Making Change When Change is Hard by Dan Heath and Chip Heath. Look for other posts in the series next week.

I’m currently halfway through reading a compulsively-readable book. I can’t seem to put it down. I’ve been reading in bank lines, in the car, in restaurants, and in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep.

The book is called Switch: Making Change When Change is Hard, and it’s one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. Heck, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, period. And one of the things that makes it great is that most of the content of the book is stories.  I love books like this.

I’m a big fan of author Malcolm Gladwell. In Gladwell’s books – The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers – he uses real-life stories to introduce his concepts and illustrate points. His books are so much fun to read that don’t even realize you’re learning a ton of information as you’re reading his stuff. He sort of sneaks it in. 🙂

Chip and Dan Heath (who are brothers) have a similar writing style in “Switch.” And story-telling doesn’t just make a piece of writing fun to read – it actually makes the author more convincing, too! It’s hard not to buy into a concept when you’ve just read a really interesting story that illustrates that concept perfectly and shows you how it works in real life.

Storytelling-style writing is also easy and fun to pass around. It can be fun, memorable, sometimes funny, moving, emotional and inspiring – all things you’d potentially want to tell your friends and family about (or post on Facebook!)

So how can you introduce more stories into your online writing?

1. Include a story in a blog post. Instead of saying “My life is different than it was when I was 21,” show your readers HOW it’s different. Add a lot of relevant detail and make the story really come alive.

2. Use a case study. If you’re blogging for your business, tell your readers a story about one of your recent clients and how they used your product or service. Give background on the client and talk about where they were before they used your service. What difficulties were they having and how did your service fix their problem? Hint: This is a great way to include a client testimonial, too! And why do you think testimonials are so powerful?? Because they’re STORIES!

3. Create a video that uses storytelling. Use Powerpoint slides, screencasting or just point a Flip camera at yourself and start talking. Tell a story in the video the same way you would tell it if you were talking to a friend.

Stories are powerful. Incorporate them into your posts whenever you can, and you’ll be well on your way to creating highly compelling content that people will pass around and link to on their own sites!

Check out Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. The Heath brothers also have a very cool blog.

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  1. Beth Hayden, you ROCK! Love this post and love working with you! Thanks for taking time to share your knowledge so generously!


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