It doesn’t matter whether you are blogging your way to an entire family history, or the complete story of your life story, or any other non-fiction genre, if you write a blog post that tells a story it will help to draw in and engage your readers.
“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” Brian Clark
Grab your readers with your opening sentence
The opening sentence is often the hardest to write so don’t be afraid to leave this bit to the end. When you do get down to writing a blog post, think about what will grab the attention of your readers and what will draw them in to your story. This may all become clearer when you start to write your post.
The basic elements of any story
With each blog post you write you should try to tell a story. The basic elements of any story are theme, characters, dialogue, setting, plot and conflict and it is these elements that can turn even the simplest post into an engaging story. They may not all be relevant to your story but understanding how these elements come together to create a story may help you to get started.
What is the theme of your blog?
All blog posts/stories should have a theme. The theme could be based around a specific event, a special occasion, a particular place or group of people, a significant experience, incident or period. Whatever theme you choose remember that this is the focus for your story.
Engage your readers with your characters
Your characters are the people who take part in the action of your story and give your readers someone to identify with or relate to. If your audience doesn’t care about your characters they will soon get bored and stop reading.
Describe the setting
Where does the action of your story happen and when does it take place? Descriptions of the landscape, the weather, the seasons, the buildings, the town, the city etc. etc. will all help to evoke a sense of time and place.
What is the plot of your story?
The plot is the sequence of events and the actions of the characters that happen within a story. Many stories include an introduction where the characters and setting are revealed, followed by some rising action to help build up the suspense. This then leads to the climax which occurs at the most dramatic point of the story. The story then continues with some falling action where conflicts and events start to unravel and resolve before finally concluding with a denouement where the loose ends are tied up and the final outcome is revealed.
When writing a blog post introduce some conflict
Conflict refers to the struggles and problems between the characters or forces within the plot of a story. Conflict adds tension and drama to a story but it doesn’t only have to be between people. Conflict can also be against the forces of nature, society or any other external source.
Get your characters talking
Although you do not have to include any dialogue in your post, conversations between characters is an important part of many stories. Dialogue not only breaks up the narrative but it also helps to bring the people in your story to life.
Most family histories, life stories, memoirs etc. include images and photos because not only do they provide additional interest they also help readers to visualise the people, places and events being written about. In short blog posts it is probably better to limit the number you include (probably just one or two per post) but well chosen, pertinent images can be very effective.
How often should you write a blog post that tells a story?
This of course depends on what suits you best but if you aim to build up a full-length book blog by blog (see Blogging your way to a book), then it is probably a good idea to commit to a regular schedule (for example, daily, bi-weekly, weekly, monthly). Whatever schedule you choose, make sure it is realistic and achievable. If you aim for a particular time or day of the week your readers will always know when they can catch up with your latest post and you will have the pleasure of seeing your complete story gradually unfold.
If you want to learn more about the basics of writing a blog, take a look at How to write a blog post – getting the basics right.