Tell me a story. Please. For the love of god. Tell me a story. I’m a little bit sick of this. I read a lot of online articles. Blogs, articles, posts, e-zines, whatever you want to call them. I read them. And I love them. But I’m starting to get sick of the pattern I’m seeing a lot. Step 1: choose a number. Step 2: apply said number to something it would be useful to know (ie sleep better, be more productive, be better at general things). Step 3: write boring prose about those things. Rinse. Repeat. And I’m sick of it.

I try not to do that when I’m writing and I certainly try not to read those anymore. There are some people who don’t do this.  How do you tell a story? Well, here’s 5 ways… I’m kidding. I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to tell you a story. Most things in the world should be about storytelling. Whether it’s a book or a blog, a motion picture or a kickstarter video, storytelling has to be the goal. The brands that are winning are the ones telling a story. The up and coming startups are the ones that have faces…talking…about real things.

You see, we’re getting sick of commercials. And I don’t just mean those 3.5 minutes between breaks in Duck Dynasty. I mean advertising in its most pure form. That can be a blog that just oozes insincerity. You know the one I mean. The one where they keep mentioning their services over and over and over (I’ll give you one call to action. After that, you’re just getting on my nerves.

I know what you’re thinking. But Mike, we have to advertise! (You were either thinking about that or cookies). Ok. Fine. Advertise. But don’t ram it down my throat. Don’t try to trick me into liking you. Make me like you by just being you. Tell me the story of your life. Tell me why you’re doing what you’re doing, why you’re writing what you’re writing or why you’re selling what you’re selling. If you’re honest and your product/blog/book/service is not awful I’ll bite. But if you get me excited about your product and it’s an awful product, I hate you.

I’ve rarely found someone tell me a story and then not liked what they’re doing. The passion inherent in storytelling almost always ensures that I’ll be excited about your product. Do you remember the last time you really enjoyed reading a book for dummies? Or a point form technical manual? No. You can’t. But I bet that you love Stephen King/Maeve Binchy/Malcolm Gladwell (I’m just playing the odds here). Why is there such a difference? Because storytelling works. Even Gladwell, delivering useful content, does it with a story. It’s not just point 1, point 2, point 3, etc.

So how can you use this information? Just refuse to follow the template. Refuse to use numbers. Refuse to go point form. Refuse to “advertise”. Refuse to be a sheep. Blow up the genre. Don’t be afraid to let your passion overwhelm the content. Be excited. Now go write it down.  

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