Blog Your Hero Up a Tree and Throw Rocks

As speakers, says Bill Stainton in Speaker Magazine, it’s drilled into us.  “You must have great, unforgettable stories or you’ll fail miserably.”  I know where I’ve heard that before – the same thing is drilled into us business blog content writers!

But Stainton (whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through the National Speakers Association) says most speakers ask the wrong questions when searching for stories. His remarks on the subject can definitely be of use to blog writers.

“Wrong” questions:

  • When did something interesting happen?
  • When did something funny happen?

The right question, the one can unlock dozens of great personal stories, Stainton says, is:
“When did something go wrong?”  “Getting your hero up a tree with people throwing rocks” presents readers with a situation where everything is going wrong and there’s no turning back. That’s what propels the story forward, he explains.

I teach freelance blog writers in Indianapolis to include stories of their clients’ past mistakes and failures. Such stories have a humanizing effect, engaging readers and creating feelings of empathy and admiration for the business owners or professional practitioners who overcame not only adversity, but the effects of their own mistakes!

I agree with Stainton when he says the trick to great presentations is telling stories. The trick to finding story ideas for writing business blog posts month after month, year after year may be, as Malcolm Gladwell says in What the Dog Saw, “to convince yourself that everyone and everything has a story to tell.”

Who’s the hero in blogging for business?  It might be a product or service that saved the day for a customer or client facing a severe problem or dilemma. It might be the business owner herself who overcame a big obstacle in bringing the product or service to market.

When did something go wrong? What was done to get that hero down off the tree?

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