So I led a group of brains. One of the members was struggling with content creation. She said:
Our blog articles are informative. But how do we make them more attractive to our readers?
What did I tell her?
I shared my “3 sentence rule” to make boring content more appealing. It’s here…
First of all, she was right:
The information in the articles was excellent.
You see, this particular blog was about personal finance – a complex subject. The writing was good. It was obvious that the writers know what they are talking about. In addition, the articles were well documented and easy to read.
So far, so good.
But there was ONE thing missing…
The secret to more engaging content
Can you tell? It is a common problem. You have great information on your blog, but it’s just … a little boring. If this sounds familiar to you, it is more critical than ever to resolve it.
So I read two articles on this particular blog by one of my students.
Immediately I saw the problem:
I felt like I was reading a Wikipedia entry – it was dry and boring. Like a gluten-free, unsalted rice cake. NOT fun to read. NOT entirely worth sharing or commenting on. Even if I know a lot more about the harvest of tax losses …
… All I got was “information”.
So what was missing?
The key to more engaging content is:
Everyone knows it too.
The stories connect.
So the real question is …
HOW DO YOU DO?
How do you tell a story that attracts people to your content? Especially if you are not a professional “storyteller”.
I mean … Chances are you don’t plan to write a screenplay anytime soon. You just want to create more engaging content for your business, right?
Well, I’m going to show you how to infuse story magic into your content.
You don’t have to write a novel. Or turn each blog post into a short story …
As you will see, it only takes a few short sentences. You can add them to the start of your blog posts, social media updates, sales page, etc.
That way you will attract more people … and keep them reading. Or watch. Or listen.
We have to break the structure of any good story:
A proven story structure that anyone can use
Hollywood screenwriters use a proven 3-act structure to tell engaging stories for decades.
It goes like this:
Act 1: Configuration
The configuration is like the opening scene or scenes of a film.
Basically, the configuration answers questions such as “Who?”, “What?”, “Where?” From your story.
But more important…
Each story needs an “inciting incident.” An EVENT that triggers the confrontation, conflict or quest that will come in Act 2.
Just ask yourself, “What happened to set this story in motion?”
This is your inciting incident.
To illustrate, I invented a story and wrote the configuration:
I couldn’t believe what had just happened.
When I heard the news, I jumped, grabbed the keys to my office, and ran out of the office.
“The baby is coming!”
My wife had just started work.
We have been preparing for this for weeks. The plan was to go home, take the prepackaged bag and meet my wife at the hospital.
But somehow my mind stopped working …
So I got home – I’m about to be a father! I get out of the car and rush to the front door.
“Oh shoot, where are my keys?”
So let’s go back to the car to collect the keys…
The only problem?
The car was locked. And the keys were inside.
Oh oh! The keys are locked in the car – this is the inciting incident.
It is not the most beautiful story ever told. But do you see how it works? You are going to be at least a little curious about what is going to happen.
This marks the beginning of …
Act 2: Confrontation
Or as I like to call it, CONFLICT.
In my invented example, the conflict is pretty clear:
“How is this guy going to unlock his car and get to the hospital in time?” Or will he do it? “
The rest of the story will answer this question.
Now here’s what makes it interesting … During the conflict, there are usually a series of OBSTACLES to overcome. Because each story needs some sort of quest, challenge or problem to solve. Without that, it’s not a story, is it?
In our example, it might look like this:
I instantly reached my phone… S% * t! He is also locked in the car.
So I knock on the neighbor’s door … but no one is at home.
I try to stop a passing car … but I almost overturned!
But then there is a TURNING POINT:
This is where I remembered: there is a bicycle behind the house!
This turning point is the second “twist of the plot”. This leads directly to …
Act 3: Resolution
… Where the conflict is resolved.
After a breathtaking bike ride in rush hour traffic, our hero goes to the hospital. Just in time!
Do you see how it works?
We answer the big question we asked in Act 1!
Of course, there are more subtleties in the perfect story in 3 acts. But this is the basic structure. And there is really no need to become more technical than that.
How will you use this in your content?
You don’t need to turn every blog post into a complete story. But what you CAN do is add the story ELEMENT to your content.
Especially at the BEGINNING of your blog posts, videos, social media updates, etc.
The 3 sentence rule: enter the conflict … QUICKLY!
The rule of 3 sentences takes the structure in 3 acts… and CONDENSE.
Think of it as the 3 act structure “on steroids”.
This is powerful because the attention span online is short – and shorter and shorter.
So how does it work?
Well, you don’t have to tell your WHOLE story in 3 sentences …
But you have to surrender to the conflict … QUICKLY.
And you should be able to sum it up in 3 sentences.
- Sentence 1: Context
- Sentence 2: Incitement to the incident
- Sentence 3: Conflict
Let me show you how I used the 3 sentence rule in THIS article…
In the first sentence, I set up the story:
“So I’m leading a group of brains.”
In sentence 2, I described the inciting incident:
“One of the members was struggling with content creation.”
In sentence 3, I described the conflict:
“Our blog articles are informative. But how do we make them more attractive to our readers? “
It’s so meta!
Now you can say, “Derek, this is not a story!”
Yeah. But do you recognize the structure of the story I used?
In addition, the point is:
You don’t try to write a novel, right? This is why the 3 sentence rule is a great way to start. It helps you get to the conflict – right away.
And that’s how you attract your audience.
Let me show you a few more examples.
Example # 1: coffee stories
If you don’t Follow me on Facebook, I share a lot of stories there.
The stories of the cafes to be exact.
Here is one:
Okay, it’s 4 sentences. But do you see how I get to the conflict QUICKLY?
There was not much more here in history. But it could very well serve as an introduction to a blog post or other longer form content.
Example 2: My fitness journey
I recently wrote about my struggle with fitness as an entrepreneur.
Watch how I started this blog post:
“So I had a speech.”
“I went to button my blazer and the button went out …”
“I was speaking at a personal trainer event and everyone was in good shape except me.”
Install. Inciting incident. Conflict.
When you follow the 3 sentence rule, you will be able to condense your stories to their essence.
Example # 3: “Do you make this mistake in negotiations”
This is a recent blog post on how to negotiate.
Again, just 3 short sentences:
“I was trying to sell a domain name.”
“None of us wanted to make the first offer.”
“We were at an impasse – this is what happened.”
Remember, go quickly to the conflict!
What’s so great about stories like this is that your content goes from summary to concrete.
You see, I could have started the blog with:
“Have you ever wondered who should make the first offer in a negotiation?”
But the story is much more engaging.
You do not think?
When you read my blog, you will see that I do it all the time.
I even do it on my sales pages.
Example # 4: Seven-digit course
This example comes from the sales page of one of my flagship training courses, Course of seven figures. Looked:
And I was there. I was about to publish my first online course, and the day before it went online, something terrible happened …
You may think that my computer exploded …
Or maybe a family member got sick …
Or maybe my servers went down and I couldn’t process the transactions …
These would be easier problems to overcome.
The truth is that what I was doing was even worse …
It was not a problem on which I could throw money or resources to solve.
It was not a problem that I could “think” on my way out.
It’s embarrassing to talk about it even now, but the truth is …
I have cold feet.
I was literally about to cancel the entire launch. The feelings of self-doubt and fear completely overwhelmed me.
It’s more than 3 sentences. Its good. The extra stuff just adds drama.
When I wrote it for the first time, I started with just 3 sentences.
“I was about to start my course.”
“But then something terrible happened: my feet were cold.”
“I didn’t know how to deal with feelings of self-doubt and fear.”
You can flesh out your stories later. To start, use the 3 sentence rule. Access the conflict quickly.
It’s the easiest and most effective way to make your boring content more attractive.
So now it’s your turn.
Can you add a story piece to an existing blog post? Or can you share a new story on social media NOW?
Use the 3 sentence rule.
Leave a comment and let me know how it goes.
And then, please me.
Do you know someone who is trying to make their content more attractive?