Hook your reader from start to finish

You pour your heart into every blog post.

You wait for the crowds to come — but they don’t.

Sure, you share your work. You post links on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But still, you only get a ripple despite your best efforts.

What’s Missing?

You’re passionate about your subject. You want to tell the world — and you’re willing to put your work out there.

But there are a few things missing.

1) Your writing isn’t conversational.

One of my favorite things to do is drink coffee. The next best thing is to have it with a friend.

Coffee is warm, like friendly conversation. These are the moments that you remember forever. They comfort you when life is hard. They sing to you about how much you’re worth. And they can be the start of something great that lasts forever.

Treat your writing like a conversation. Then you’ll have more people commenting and starting conversations with you.

Photo by Christin Hume via Unsplash

2) You’re only thinking about what you want.

Sometimes my son and I talk about our passions.

He tells me about the games he’s playing. He names the characters and describes them as if I know them. I listen and nod, but let’s be honest. I’m not as interested in video games as he is.

The same thing happens when I tell him about what I’m passionate about. I love writing and marketing, but he doesn’t want to hear about it.

It’s only when we talk about YouTube that his eyes light up. I have a show now, and he has an idea for one. We could talk for hours about that and time would seem like it was standing still.

When you talk about what your listener’s care about, they’ll read every word.

3) You haven’t given your reader a reason to care.

Imagine you hear that half of all smokers die from smoking.

If you smoke, you’ll be tempted to believe that you’re not in that 50% — especially if you’re under 30.

But if you see a picture of a lung blackened with cancer, it’ll scare you to death.

When you make a point, make it personal. Otherwise, people will ignore it, thinking it doesn’t apply to them.

Take Your Reader on an Unforgettable Journey

When a reader comes to your post, he’s looking for something — change.

Photo by Peder Cho via Unsplash

The first thing you need to do is decide what change you want your reader to experience from start to finish.

  • How will your reader feel when he sees your post?
  • How do you want him to feel when he’s finished reading?
  • How will you move him from where he is to where you want him to go?

Every tour guide needs a map. I just gave you yours.

Now let’s look at 3 powerful ways you can make your blog posts unforgettable!

3 Keys to Irresistible Stories, Blog Posts, and Books

Write like you’d talk over coffee.

I remember sitting in college classrooms dreaming I was somewhere else.

I don’t remember much of what I learned there. So, it’s debatable I learned anything other than how to survive a boring lecture.

That’s not exactly stuff that will get you your dream job.

The professors who stood out were those who treated us as friends. I remember a Biology professor I had who went to great pains to learn all of our names — and there were 100 people in our class! But by week two, he had every one down.

That quarter my wife had a miscarriage one night. So on the day of our weekly quiz, I was at the hospital with her. I called him and told him the story. He said, “Don’t worry about the quiz. Tell your wife I hope she feels better soon.”

When I got back to class, he asked me how she was.

I never fell asleep in that man’s class.

The best conversations we have are over coffee. Coffee is warm and inviting, just like your writing should be. Stand on your ivory tower in your free time. If you want readers, be warm, be real, and show people you care about them as individuals.

If you want to listen to someone who does this extraordinarily well, listen toSarah Werner on the Write Now podcast.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash

Tell stories filled with emotion.

Go to the front page of the Amazon bookstore and you’ll find that most of the bestsellers are stories.

We go to the movies on the weekend because we love a good story. We watch Netflix in our spare time because a story captivates us. We buy DVDs because a story is so good we want to see it again and again.

At the Tribe Conference last fall, I met Marsha Shandur, a fantastic storytelling coach. She appeared on stage several times telling stories and sharing wisdom. One of her best pieces of advice was this:

People may not have had every experience but they’ve experienced every emotion. — Marsha Shandur

Not everybody is a lumberjack.

We can’t all do brain surgery.

You probably haven’t been to the moon.

We’ve all gotten mad when we’re stuck in traffic.

We’ve all cried when someone dear to us dies.

We’ve all jumped with joy when we win something big.

It’s emotions that make stories powerful, move us to change, and get us out of our chairs.

Infuse everything you write with emotion, and your writing will get more readers, more likes, and more shares!

Give actionable tips the reader can use right away.

This is easy enough to do when you write nonfiction.

  • Give 3 tips for doing something better.
  • Explain them with stories.
  • Show how someone like them did the same — and won.

But what if you’re telling stories?

Photo by Andrew Neel via Unsplash

Aesop did this years ago. He would tell a charming tale, then end with a moral — a summary of the truth inside.

Modern storytellers can show how the hero changes after doing something. The Hero’s Journey offers a great timeline for this.

  • You find the hero in his ordinary, boring world.
  • He receives a call to a great adventure.
  • He doesn’t feel up to the task, so he resists.
  • He’s forced in by circumstance.
  • He deals with a storm, an enemy, and a huge conflict.
  • He resolves that no matter what, he’s getting out of this alive.
  • He nearly dies trying, but somehow finds the strength to overcome seemingly impossible adversity.
  • He comes back with the treasure he fought for and lives a changed life.

Along the way, the reader will see himself in the story. He cheers for the hero because he’s emotionally bonded with him. Then he begins to not only see himself differently, but act differently than he did before.

When you can do that, you’ve got power.

Now Go Change the World

You change the world by moving people to action.

Now you’ve got a powerful plan to do that.

Do that regularly and you can build a business on your writing. Repeat these three steps:

  • Tell a story.
  • Teach something life-changing.
  • Offer to go deeper with your products and services.

I’d love to hear how this works for you. Have questions? Drop them in the responses below.

Visit Frank at FrankMckinleyAuthor.com and see more of his work here.

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