The spitting cobra locked onto me.
He bobbed to and fro, doing a deadly dance few people ever get to see and live to tell about it.
I wasn’t a snake charmer cockily and confidently lazing in front of a defanged snake.
I was a scared Booley in Bali.
The spitting cobra hissed.
He could have easily projected his venom 10 feet into the air, aiming for our eyes, as spitters typically do.
My Balinese neighbor even shared a sad tale of how her dog was blinded and killed by a spitting cobra.
After a few tense moments and a lethal jab from a spade by my friend the cobra lay on a wall, headless.
He decapitated the snake.
I buried the cobra, dead mother hen and 2 dead baby chicks the following day.
The weirdest thing about this experience?
I learned a brilliant blogging lesson that you struggling bloggers need to learn.
Here’s what it is: always be prepared.
Until the moments where you find yourself completely unprepared.
Then, you just need to run with it until you’re done with it.
Or, you need to see any hairy, challenging or difficult blogging situation through, by any means possible.
Storytelling and Blogging
No way in Hades you’d read those prior 16 lines and say:
“Yeah, typical blogger goes to Bali, faces down a spitting cobra, helps his friend decapitate one of the most dangerous snakes on earth type stories to lead in a post….BORING!”
I probably arrested your attention after you read the first line.
I snagged your focus.
Like the spitting cobra grabbed my focus the split second I got within spitting range of this impressive, beautiful and terrifying reptile in a Balinese fishing village.
Blogging From Paradise ain’t always about sitting on tropical beaches and drinking fresh coconut juice, ya know?
Anyway, the story I told pulled you in.
You had no other choice.
You had to pay attention.
If you want your readers to lock on like a pitbull grasping a play toy or heck, like a spitting cobra zeroing in on a mouse (or on a well-built, storytelling, island hopping, Amazon best selling pro blogger), simply tell stories and link the stories into your niche.
No Need to Be Exotic
Commonplace, day to day stories are entrancing too.
Everybody loves a good story. And everybody has a good story to tell.
You are human. By default, your life is a story.
Cave men told stories and every human since then has lived and told a story.
Doesn’t matter if you’re facing down spitting cobras or sharing challenging tales of building your blog part time as a single mom of 3 growing kids.
Doesn’t matter if you’re a college student struggling to publish one post a week while trying to ace a challenging major.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a meteorologist, former fired security guard and current world traveler who inspires people to retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging (yes, that’s me. Meteorologist by schooling. Al Roker, eat your heart out).
Some of my life’s wildest stories occurred during my days as a security guard in a shipping terminal.
Life is an intriguing story.
Every blogger has a story to tell if you can learn to:
- Add details to build a vivid picture
- Link the story to your niche
How to Tell Stories
Observe your life.
What happened today?
Tell 3 to 5 stories – out loud – to yourself, to develop your power of observation.
Here are a few stories of mine from today: I spoke to someone on the train who asked me what I’d say “paradise” is, after I suggested he buy one of my 126 eBooks on Amazon, when he gazed at the back of my Blogging From Paradise T-shirt. I noted paradise is wherever you’re happy, then suggested the island of Fiji and Bali as 2 of my fave islands, where I am pretty dang happy. He suggested I visit St. Kitts and Barbados. This happened on a New York City Subway.
I listened to a kinda out there woman scream about Moses, keeping your money hidden and being evicted from a corner deli on the subway.
I spoke to a deli owner while he prepared a delicious bacon, ham and cheese hero sandwich for me here in NYC. Learned he was from Yemen. And that Yemen was in a civil war. Which I’m afraid to say, I was unaware of. I told him how we visited Cyprus and Istanbul, Turkey recently. We then talked Syrian refugees.
So many stories to tell when you observe them.
2: Add Details to Build a Vivid Picture
Add as many details as possible to your picture.
Read Will Hatton’s blog, The Broke Backpacker.
Dude is a brilliant story teller who vividly takes you through his wild world travels, one detail at a time.
Add details to your daily stories.
Colors, movements, sounds, everything.
You think in pictures.
If you build a detailed blog story you do much of your reader’s legwork for them.
3: Link the Story to Your Niche
Link the story to your niche.
I turned my experience with a Balinese spitting cobra into a blogging lesson: be prepared, until the poop hits the fan. Then, be flexible, be in the moment and roll with the situation.
Connect your story to your blogging niche. Lead off with a colorful blog post title (grab my eBook if you’re struggling to write effective blog post titles).
Develop a connection to transition from the true tale to some super important lesson for your readers.
You don’t always need to tell stories through your blog, like I used to do a few months back.
Just work them in here and there to captivate your readers.
Do you use stories to reel in your readers? Or are you having a terrible time trying to seize your reader’s attention? What storytelling tips can you add? Let me know by dropping a comment below!