The World Craves Great Storytellers – Why Everyone Should Blog

I watched The Voice on Monday night (don’t judge) with Jackie. Somewhere among Christina’s best Chesty LaRue impersonation and Adam Levine’s sad attempts at Blue Steel, Blake Shelton said something that really hit me hard — like a bullet train to the forehead hard.

As country musicians we tell stories. I already know that both y’all are great singers. I found myself really trying to figure out which of these two has the ability to make me believe what they’re singing. The winner of this battle, for me, is RaeLynn

On the surface it seems simple enough, but he chose RaeLynn as the winner after two of the other three judges had recommended he pick her competitor, Adley. The general consensus was that that Adley was a better vocalist, and Blake still chose RaeLynn. Why? He chose her because she was a better storyteller. The words that were coming out of her mouth may not have been right on pitch or even articulated in just the right way, but they were real.

What does this have to do with blogging?

This has everything to do with blogging, and business, and creating great art.

Great storytelling drives action.

My family’s experience with Pixar is a perfect example of this. My writing gets a little bit better every day, but there’s still some serious room for improvement. That said, when I told the story of the impact Pixar has had on my son Collin’s life, people took action. It was my most shared post by far since I started this blog in January. Not because of the way it was written but because of the story and the truth behind it.

For the most part blog metrics are highly overrated, but my site traffic on the day I published the Pixar story tells a story of it’s own. Those days that look like they’re almost touching the baseline are days when I had 200-250 unique visitors come to the blog. On the Pixar post day, it was 40 times that. People wanted to “pay it forward” or “spread the wealth.” They didn’t even think twice about it. It was pretty much instinctual.

Storytelling is great for business

It’s a lot easier for me to spend my money when I know the story behind the place where I’m doing business. When a company goes out of their way to tell me about the road they’ve traveled to end up where they are, it really helps me be more patient when things don’t go perfectly, and my wallet is a little less stubborn too. I know I’m using Pixar as an example for pretty much everything lately, but they’ve executed this perfectly. Even if every single product I bought from them for the rest of eternity included a free punch to the face, I’d keep on buying it because they’ve invited me to be a part of what they are. They’ve actually made me part of their story.

Note: I’d prefer my face didn’t get punched. It’s my moneymaker.

The best songs are stories converted

The best songs in the world are the ones that tell a great story. I’m sorry, but “Whip My Hair” just doesn’t give me enough background to truly appreciate the hair whipping. However, when Jack Black and Kyle Glass tell the story of meeting a demon in the middle of the road that tells them to sing the best song in the world, not only does hilarity ensue, but some seriously awesome music is made. It’s the kind of music that makes me want to create something super myself.

(Watch the Tenacious D Tribute video on YouTube by clicking here!)

Your story is unique

As far as I know I’m the only person that’s ever lived my life. Even the bizarro version of me who looks just like me hasn’t lived the same experiences that I have. There’s only one me anywhere. The same goes for you. There’s only one of you and in order to connect with you we need to hear your story. Even if it’s not the most eloquent rendition of your story, there’s something to be gained from us hearing it. It will drives us to take action.

Maybe your story will inspire us to work a little harder.

Maybe your story will help us be more empathetic.

Maybe your story will make us want to learn how to Dougie.

Whatever the case, any story you share has the ability to create an attitude of action in someone else.

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) used to always carry a note around in his pocket with a quote from a social worker he knew. This is what it said:

Frankly there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.

I realize that sounds like unicorns and rainbows but it’s hard to deny that it’s true. So much confusion and hatred comes from a lack of understanding and communication.

This world craves storytellers in a very big way. There are plenty of blogs that talk about the “next big thing in social media,” but we have a shortage of people giving us their real, true-life story. The story that we can all connect with and learn from. The story that teaches us things that matter. Maybe a blog isn’t the best medium for everybody, but please, I beg of you, tell your story.

The world depends on it.

P.S. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take the time to watch this TED talk from Pixar Director, Andrew Stanton. I’m sure you didn’t block out 20 extra minutes to be on my blog today, but it’ll be totally worth your time to bookmark it and come back later. He talks about what makes up a great story and does it using movie clips and some heavy-hitting wisdom. (He does use the F word once. In my opinion he uses it hilariously, but if you don’t want to hear it then skip to 1:15).

P.P.S. The first comment below gets to the heart of the point fast. It’s a must read. Thank you Miz!

Comments

  1. says

    I will watch the TED later!!
    you know, for me your post says that everyone shouldnt blog.
    Everyone shouldnt blog in the fashion it’s being done now.
    Get creative.
    Tell YOUR story.
    Find the way your story begs to be told.
    All video.
    All photos never a word.
    All through recipes.
    Only through crafts.
    Tell your story but honor your story and share it in the way it is meant to be shared and not in a way perhaps stories have ever been shared before!

  2. says

    I often find myself selfish reading other people’s stories and not sharing mine, looking for inspiration instead of inspiring. Yes, I am selfish. So keep on writing, Ryan :)
    Loved the lecture and the youtube clip!

  3. says

    I can’t write anything better than MizFit! It is so true! I can tell when I read certain posts how they pull me in. Yes, I love informative posts on exercise too but those “telling your story” posts show how true it is for sure! I am not ready to do that with a lot of my life but I try to do my best when I post… I try to share some of the struggles & wins!

    GREAT POST!

  4. says

    Sharing, to me, is scary. We all crave recognition in some way, and if you put yourself out there and share something that means a lot to you, it hurts when no one notices. When the tree falls in the forest, you might not hear it, but it can still hurt something when it hits the ground.

    • ryan says

      I totally hear you Kyra! Totally. Toward the end of the post I do say “Maybe a blog isn’t the best medium for everybody, but please, I beg of you, tell your story.”

      I’m not even advocating bearing your soul to the world. There are a lot of things I keep private and never talk about on this blog. BUT, I do try and keep those things on a private blog because that’s an easy way for me to get my thoughts down quick.

      Keeping a journal is great and there is no problem at all with waiting for enough trust to be established so that you feel comfortable to share yourself with someone. None at all!

  5. says

    I especially love what you said about storytelling being great for business. As a marketer, I’ve long hated that many of my brethren start with a “buy now” message when a potential customer doesn’t know why they could even care. Make me care! (Like Andrew Stanton says in the video.) Whether art or business, the same principles apply. Love it. Thanks for sharing.

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