I know that’s how I felt for a while, constantly overthinking things. With so many thoughts running through my head, I didn’t know how to lay them out in a logical yet engaging way.
Let’s be honest. There can be quite a bit of pressure. If a blog post isn’t interesting or engaging, the audience won’t read it.
But that’s when I turned to my secret weapon, StoryBrand.
The StoryBrand framework makes marketing engaging through the power of story. And using the same principles, you can use it to write a damn good blog post.
Strap in, and I’ll show you how!
Step 1: Plan your Blog Post
Open up a document (I usually write in Google Docs, but you can use Microsoft Word or even a blank piece of paper if that’s how you roll).
And write these headings:
- The Controlling Idea
Give yourself some space to write under these headings. You’ll start with small sentences and then flesh them out.
Let’s talk about the start, the Controlling Idea.
The Controlling Idea
The Controlling Idea is a technique that Donald Miller taught me as a StoryBrand Guide. It’s the one thought you want to ensure has been planted in someone’s mind after they’ve read your blog post.
It also acts as a filter. So every word or sentence you write, you’ve got to ask yourself, does this line up with my Controlling Idea. If it doesn’t, then cut it.
For this article, my Controlling Idea is that using Storybrand to structure a blog post makes writing much easier and way less stressful.
So you can see just how simple mine was. You really don’t have to overthink it.
Once I feel pretty good about my Controlling Idea, I start to plan out the body of the post.
Write bullet points for the Post Body
The easiest way to plan out the body of the post is to write headings.
List the three-to-four topics you want to cover or create a step-by-step formula your reader can follow. You could note down a three-to-four step plan to achieve x, with each step being one of your main headings.
Pick a formula that works for you, and decide on your topics. Next, move on to the introduction.
Step 2: Write the Introduction
The introduction is a crucial piece of your blog post. It’s where you hook the audience in and invite them to keep reading. If you’re not careful, you can spend hours writing a good intro and run out of time! I know this from personal experience.
This is when I use the StoryBrand framework to keep me on task. I like to begin by defining “The Want,” “The Problem”, and “The Internal Problem.”
The first thing to do is have a good think about your reader and define what it is they want. For this article, my reader wants a stress-free and simple way to write. So I might start the introduction by asking, ‘Are you looking for an easier way to write?’
Start noting down what your reader wants and make sure it’s related to the topic of your blog post.
To take things to the next level, think about what problem your reader might be experiencing. The reality is everyone is frustrated about something. You want the topic of your blog post to be set up as a solution to this problem.
My reader’s problem in this article is that they’re getting stuck looking at a blank page and unsure of what to write. This is illustrated in my article when I say, “Have you had enough of staring at a blinking cursor, hoping the words might write themselves?”
By clearly defining a problem, your reader is much more likely to be interested and want to read on.
The Internal Problem
Once you’ve discovered the problem your reader is experiencing, take it one step further by identifying a ‘feeling’ element. In StoryBrand lingo, this is called understanding a customer’s Internal Problem. It’s here that we ask, ‘how does this problem make the reader feel?’
My reader probably feels tired of wasting time attempting to write blog posts and is frustrated with their lack of inspiration. Acknowledging these internal problems helps add weight to your words and inclines the reader towards the solution.
Take some time to identify “The Want” and “The Problem” and how this problem is making your reader feel. You’re now on your way to creating a captivating piece of work.
Make yourself known as the Guide
Every good story has a Guide. You might recognise the Guide by a different name, but you’re on the right track if you imagine someone like Yoda in Star Wars. It’s basically the person the main character (your reader) is looking for to help them with their problem. Someone who helps the hero win the day.
In your article, you want to set yourself up as the Guide. There are a couple of ways to do this:
Firstly, empathise with their problem. You want to show that you understand what they’re frustrated about and that you care. Expanding on simple phrases like ‘I understand’ or ‘I’ve been there before’ can help show compassion. In this article, I reflect a bit on my writing journey and offer empathy about challenges that come up.
Lastly, you want to offer a level of authority. The reader is unable to solve problems on their own, and they need the Guide to help. Describe how you’re going to help them and why you’re the best person for the job. Be careful not to use this as an opportunity to list flashy credentials and awards you’ve won. Instead, focus on their problem and how you have the expertise to help them solve it.
Setting yourself up as the Guide is something you can do throughout the article. It doesn’t need to be placed in a particular section. Just ensure you’re consistent about your role, and remember to guide your reader towards solving their problem.
Step 3: Flesh out the Post Body
You’ve put a lot of thinking into your article, and now it’s time to flesh things out. Using bullet points or complete sentences, start noting more details about your topic underneath your headings. It’s important to keep your readers’ problem in mind as you write. This will help keep you on track, ensuring you hold their attention.
Step 4: Write the Outro
This is where you want to introduce what the StoryBrand framework calls ‘The Stakes’. This section effectively illustrates what it’s like for your reader to ‘not’ follow the plan, showing them what they could be missing out on. The human brain is incredibly visual, so it helps to use illustrative language to describe what this could look and feel like.
An example stakes element for this blog post could be:
You are wasting precious time trying to write without a plan. The more time you spend working on your blog post is less time you can spend building other parts of your business
Here I’m laying out what's at stake if you don't use the StoryBrand framework when writing a blog post. It helps make your call-to-action more impactful.
And on that note, we can’t leave things hanging. Like any good story, it’s important to have a conclusion. This is where you begin to lay out how your readers’ problem can be solved, and guide them towards a solution. People can handle about 3-4 steps at a time, so you want to clearly communicate the actions your reader needs to take to achieve success.
Make sure you’re laying things out simply so it’s easy to follow. This could be as simple as creating a 1-2-3 step plan, or writing a couple of sentences illustrating the path to success.
Remember that you are the Guide helping the hero (the reader) move forward on their journey towards success. And you want to make it super clear how they can get there.
Step 5: Edit your Post
Here are three tips I’ve found helpful when writing:
A fresh perspective always helps
Checking your work is always a good idea. Sometimes coming back to a piece of writing after some time away can help bring a fresh perspective. You may want to rephrase sentences or read your work out loud to ensure it makes sense.
Use a consistent tone
The tone of your writing is also important. Depending on the topic, your approach could be light-hearted and easy-going or a bit more to the point. Be consistent throughout your article and make sure your tone is in line with your organisation’s goals.
Be mindful of your verb ‘tense’. These can trip you up sometimes, so make sure you’re clear whether you’re describing something happening in the past, the present, or the future. A tool like Grammarly can be a great way to help with this, although (warning) it doesn’t pick up everything. Perhaps a colleague or friend could review your writing to pick up anything you’ve missed.
Step 6: Launch it to the world
The best part about creating a long form piece of content like a blog post is you can get a lot of mileage out of it. Rather than just posting the blog onto your website, why not break the ideas down into smaller segments and use it on social media and email campaigns. This way you are reaching more people on more platforms, and optimising the efforts you and your marketing team are putting in.
More on this in our next blog post. Keep an eye out.
So there you have it - a whole blog post of helpful tips to get you started on your own piece of writing. Using this framework will help keep away confusion and brain-strain and really set you up for success.
If you have any questions about writing content for your business, send me a direct message on LinkedIn. I'd love to help!