Some blogs are strictly focused on business, while others are of a more personal nature. Either way, you need to be yourself from time to time if you want to connect with your readers. Some blogs thrive off of this “personal story” approach and use it often. Others only use it sparingly, though to great effect.
Regardless of how personal stories fit into your particular blogging style, it’s important to remember that they have their place. Sharing your own experiences and revelations with your crowd can have a myriad of powerful benefits. Storytelling isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” formula.
Below are some of the different kinds of personal story tactics that you can use in your blog. Each one has a specific goal and effect as you use them in your posts.
The Power of Sharing Personal Stories: Different Kinds of Personal Stories
When you see the term “personal story” it might make you shrink back in terror. The thought of being intimate and exposing your personal life to your audience can sound overwhelming.
The truth is, though, personal stories can take many different shapes and sizes. A good story can consist of childhood memories, cherished vacations, or unpleasant experiences. The experiences can be decades old or as recent as a few minutes before you wrote them down.
Along with the natural diversity of stories themselves, each kind of story has its own effect on the reader. In other words, personal stories vary both in style and use. As such, they should be used with both purpose and care in your writing. This is critical, as it can help you come across as genuine and not merely formulaic.
Here are five different kinds of personal stories as well as examples of how they can be used in your blog.
Stories That Elicit Emotional Responses
Evoking an emotional response from the reader is probably the most commonly thought of use for a story — and with good reason, too. A well-timed or properly presented story can move a reader to tears, get them laughing, or even invoke anger.
When the story is your own, it also serves as a sense of “proof” to the reader that you, more than anyone else, have the right to use this information to make a point. While this provides a sense of exclusivity, you can take things one step further by inviting the reader into your story with you.
If you use inclusive language as you share your story, it invites the reader to participate in your experience. This helps to connect them emotionally to the story being told.
Stories That Reinforce Your Blog’s Purpose
Company blogs serve as powerful platforms where owners, executives, and even employees and customers can express themselves. As such, sharing personal stories on a business or for-profit blog can serve as a way to communicate a deeper point. It can connect individual experiences to the heart and soul of your company’s existence.
For instance, a nonprofit like Compassion International can share individual stories of children that they’ve helped. They can also showcase employees who have done work with the children that they support. This can help to connect readers to the very reason that the company is in business.
Another example could be a blog about personal finance. Anyone can — and most finance blogs do — rely heavily on broad statistics, such as the fact that the average American spent $10,739 on healthcare in 2017 or 79 million Americans are currently living in medical debt.
However, a more effective way to reach your audience could be sharing a personal story. You can trot out a story from when you had to create your first budget. Recollect about a time when you broke your arm and landed a staggering $20,000 hospital bill. These intimate, personal stories will help to reel readers in and encourage them to buy into the greater purpose of your blog.
Stories That Are Relevant to Current Events
Another effective use of personal stories is using them to connect you and your blog to current events. For instance, say you had a blog in early 2020 that discussed the common modern struggle with depression and anxiety.
You could have taken advantage of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global quarantines that it sparked. Rather than simply resharing news stories with un-relatable facts and figures, you could have explained how the shutdowns and subsequent isolation had impacted you personally.
Sharing your own struggle to maintain your mental health could enable you to remain relevant and connected to your audience.
Stories that Personalize You to Your Readers
You may have a powerful blog that reaches thousands of readers and has a significant impact within your niche. However, if your readers don’t know who you are, you may be missing out on a key blog marketing strategy.
By using personalized stories, you can explain who you are to your followers. You can reveal to them the parts of your personality that drive what you do. You can show them your past experiences that brought you to your current blogging situation.
For instance, if you manage a blog about mental health and addiction, sharing your own story about past struggles can be powerful. You can detail the time when you tried to quit without rehab and got slammed by the withdrawal symptoms. This, in turn, can help readers feel that you understand their pain.
It doesn’t matter what your blog is focused on. Sharing personal stories enables you to relate to your readers. It can also take a cold exterior of a blog and show that there’s an actual human behind the scenes.
Stories that Demonstrate Something
You can always use a story to demonstrate something. A point, an argument, a claim, whatever the situation, personal stories can be the perfect underscore. This use of storytelling can often take up entire articles. This is because, in this case, the story often serves as the outline or the structure within which you make a larger point.
Say, for example, you run a coffee blog and you claim that using a reusable pour-over coffee filter doesn’t work. You can make this claim within the greater context of a story about your own experience with a reusable filter.
You can go into great and engaging detail about how you personally used a filter — and a nice one at that. In spite of the quality of the product, no matter how careful you were, it still let far too many of the grounds into your cuppa.
Laying out your argument in this format immediately backs it up with personal experience. It also naturally includes a call to action as you silently wait for readers to either object or agree. This can increase engagement with your content, something that all bloggers love to see.
Using Personal Stories in Your Writing
There are many different ways to use personal stories to accentuate your writing. To recap, you can use stories in the following ways:
- Elicit feelings from your readers and connect with them on an emotional level.
- Back up the purpose of your blog with tangible, real-life scenarios.
- Show your readers that you’re up to date with current events and understand how they impact your blog’s audience.
- Personalize a company or fact-focused blog by revealing the person “behind the curtain.”
- Back up, underscore, and generally help to make larger points through personal experiences.
Each individual possesses so many great stories. What personal stories do you have that you feel would be worth sharing with your readers? How will they help your blog succeed?
Share them in the comments below. Or, better yet, share a link to a post you’ve already written that utilizes one of the above strategies.