The third post in the just do it series focuses on advice that can help you fill the pages of your blog with content that’s worth reading.

Content builds audience engagement

In 2007, iPhone reinvented what we think of as a phone. It is hard to remember what
it was like before iPhone …
— Steve Jobs

In March 2010 Steve Jobs and his team at Apple released the iPhone 4. The revolutionary retina display rendered text in a higher resolution, changing their customers Internet and media viewing experience.

Nine months later Apple launched the iPad, further improving the viewers browsing and reading experience. Apple also extended their market demographic and sent a Tsunami through the traditional media worlds. When the waves subsided the media landscape was altered. Print publishing was hit hardest, the publication and viewing of content albeit advertising, literature or news was irrevocably changed.

Jobs understood market strategy and brand loyalty. He launched Apple’s new products, using speeches crafted to build the audience’s anticipation and increase the product hype. The narrative of each speech took audiences on a journey.

Content comes from narrative or more simply story-telling.

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.
— Robert McAfee Brown

Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey is the foundation of creative processes and storytelling

The story has three parts

  1. The Hero begins his journey in an ordinary world,
  2. As the journey advances the Hero is called to adventure,
  3. Our Hero meets a mentor, who assists him to overcome the obstacles and delivers him to a new place.

Narrative moves the audience from an ordinary world into a special world

Steve Jobs’ March 2010 speech draws on the theory of Hero’s Journey — he took his audience from an ordinary world without an iPhone and transported them into the wondrous world of the sleek architecturally designed and innovatively engineered iPhone4. He kept his audience engaged and they came back for more — the Youtube video of that presentation has had 646,823 views.

It’s amazing how a great idea can give you just the burst of adrenaline you need to pop from the ground seconds after you think you might have just fallen asleep
— Gary Karton (The Last Akaway)

Ideas are most effectively conveyed through storytelling because they provoke a physical reaction

Search engines may bring viewers to your blog however, key words designed to trigger robotic calls to drive traffic to your site will not connect your audience (followers) to your idea. Whether you are prompting an idea, marketing a product or have a niche blog you cannot build loyalty and trust without that connection. These ingredients cannot be bought. Blogger Julie Neumark explains, “The challenge is that the ingredients are not found on the shelves of a store but must be sourced from your own backyard.”

Narrative is found everywhere …

Julie Powell’s The Julie/Julia Project is one of the great success stories of blogs. Her quest to cook 524 recipes (Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking) in 365 days, slowly engaged followers. Once on board they began sending her ingredients. Powell’s readers empathized with the desire to escape the daily grind behind beige cubicles and achieve a goal. Powell not only completed the project she found the writer’s Holy Grail, a book deal. Later she sold the movie rights.

A more recent success story is Australian Katy Quinn Davies foodie photography blog What Katie Ate, the title itself an invitation. Upon entering the site words and images engage viewers, who keep coming back for more. Katy’s blog has lead to three cookbook publications and a monthly 8-page editorial feature for Australia’s ABC Delicious Magazine.

Fashion also relies heavily on narrative; photo shoots are styled to take viewers on a journey, designer’s draw heavily on stories for their collections. New Zealand designer Kate Sylvester’s Spring/Summer 2014/15 collection drew heavily on the South Island’s Heaphy Track. She created her on vintage style prints to bring alive the rugged and moody nature of this region. From this earthy textile palette Sylvester produced clothes, inspired by the characters and scenes from Eleanor Catton’s book The Luminaries. For her Autumn Winter 2015 collection, Sylvester followed once again took her inspiration from an already published story, this time Donna Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch.

Content comes from stories

Stories surround us. Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools available for engaging an audience.

Ready to get going? Great. The fourth and final post in the just do it series aims to help you harness your creativity by making it a part of your life. It will help your blog to continue to grow.

Missed the first two of the series? Head on to:

Part 1 – Naming your Blog

Part 2 – Finding the right theme (look for your blog)

Anthea Noonan Wade

Storyteller. Owner and Writer at The Artful

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