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What makes a good story

Let’s be clear upfront, you probably have better things to do than writing stories on websites all day. Nevertheless, the stories on our website by the NGOs are a large part of our succes and the involvement of donors.

Finding a topic you want to write about isn’t that hard probably. Tell about your running project at iMPACT direct. Keep people updated, share steps that are made, inside stories of the impact your NGO is making, or stories of the people who were reason to start this project in the first place.

Don’t let this article hold you back in just writing a story in your own words and in your own style. That is where the difference with other online projects in comparison with iMPACT direct really shows; you telling your own stories.

Before we take a look at some points of advice to write your story, let’s see what it takes to write a good story.

4 elements of a good story #

A good story often has certain characteristics regardless of its subject matter. Here are some elements of a good blog post that you might want to incorporate into your story:

  1. A clear subject: Step one of creating your own story is having a clear subject and point of view. In order to attract an audience and grow your base through social shares, you need to communicate well and have a clearly defined subject matter that you are knowledgeable and passionate about.
  2. A great headline: A great story needs a great headline. Strong, punchy headlines will attract a reader’s attention. A successful story generally has a well-written headline that make someone want to stop and read more.
  3. A hook: Most good stories hook readers with a problem or issue that’s first advanced in a headline. Once into the story, writers should set up the premise of the post succinctly with a hook that promises a reader more. Stories can be thought of like persuasive essays because no matter the style or subject matter, a story is trying to bring a reader around to seeing and agreeing with your point of view. Make them involved and committed.
  4. A solution: Once you’ve established a clear subject, it’s time to offer your distinct take on the subject matter or solution to the problem you’ve raised. Readers return to stories time and time again because they feel a connection to the writer. They relate to your point of view or your way of telling a story and have come to rely on your insight and sound. The best stories offer a personal take on an issue or subject and clearly express your personal feelings and/or experiences.

How to write a story in 9 steps #

  1. Address a compelling topic. The most popular stories address a compelling topic that will appeal to your readers and donors. Once you’ve settled on a topic that fits your story, it’s time to put your writing skills to work and start to craft the corresponding blog post.
  2. Come up with a great post title. Titles are important in attracting an audience to your story and create commitment. Without a title that attracts eyes, a good story can languish. Come up with a triggering title that will hook readers and make them want to read your article.
  3. Outline your post. Before you begin writing, it’s important to outline your post. Stories allow you the freedom to experiment with structure and form. Decide how you want to lay out your ideas and outline your story in order to walk readers through your thought process and help them relate to your point of view.
  4. Explain your connection to the topic. Storytelling is a highly personal form of writing. NGOs connect with their audience by making their story personal and demonstrating a connection with their story. It does not have to be about you, it can be about someone you know, affected by the story. Or your experience and opinion on the topic.
  5. Use a clear layout. Most successful blogs have short paragraphs with clear topics. Make sure your story is laid out in a clear and visually clean way to help readers follow along with your thoughts.
  6. Write from the heart. NGOs are no different from other writers in that they occasionally suffer from writer’s block. The most important thing you can do to overcome stumbling blocks in your work is to come up with story ideas that you connect with on a deep, personal level. Writing stories should be a labor of commitment from your part, some say writing stories is a labor of love. Writing stories that you feel passionately about will help readers connect with your work and grow your audience base.
  7. Propose solutions. It’s important to have a clear point of view in your stories and wrap up posts with a clear conclusion or solution to a problem you’ve focused on. It’s not enough to just give a cursory overview of a topic, readers depend on you to walk them through an issue in a well-informed way. Instead of giving light anecdotal examples, provide your readers with a well-sourced case study that relates to the topic at hand.
  8. Proofread. Once you have a first draft of a story, it’s time to do a read-through to look for typos and tweak awkward sentences. If there is anyone to read your story once before you post, ask them to do so.
  9. Promote your writing. Once your story is published, it’s time to start networking and promoting your work. Promotion is important. Consider appearing on a podcast, starting an email list, or guest blogging on a related blog as ways to promote your own work. Make sure to tweet and post about your work on social media, using the link of the new story you published.
iMPACT direct

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