Seven steps to writing a great story

We know that everyone has a story to tell, but sometimes it can be hard to know how to start. Here are our top tips for telling a great story.

  1. It’s all about the audience

When you’re crafting your story, look at it through the eyes of a reader.

Think about details that may be important to give your story context. What kind of group are you part of?  How many members does it have? What type of region do you live in? Is it agricultural country, near the coast, or in an urban centre?

Read through your story once you’ve finished to see if anything is missing, or get a second opinion from someone who isn’t as close to the story as you are. Two sets of eyes are better than one!

  1. Less is more

Keeping your writing concise and to the point means it’s easier to read and understand.

Avoid including unnecessary information or details that don’t add to your story or aren’t relevant. Consider the language you’re using and whether it is easily understood by your readers, especially when it comes to technical jargon or acronyms.

Unless what you are writing about is very complex, the main body of copy you’re writing should be in or around 500 words. This will give you the best chance of keeping your reader engaged to the end.

  1. Break it down!

Massive blocks of text aren’t very friendly to the eye. Break your story into short paragraphs. Most people scan over an online article before reading it, so use sub-headings and bullet points to highlight important points. Keep the bullet points and headings short.

  1. Structure is important

All stories should have a narrative – most written with a beginning, middle and end. You could also take a case study approach. Begin by presenting your problem or issue, outlining the solution, and describing the approach you took to get there. Whatever way you go, ensure you’re bringing your readers on a journey that makes sense.

  1. Pictures paint a thousand words

Using good photos adds so much to a story. You can use photos to describe something to your reader that would otherwise be too difficult to explain. You can give the story context and allow your reader to visualise where your story takes place and who or what is involved. Before and after photos are extremely powerful in conveying impact and results.

  1. What happens next?

Once your reader has finished the story, is there something you would like them to do? If the answer is yes, include a ‘call to action’ at the end of your story. Would you like them to visit your Community Group page to read more about your group’s work? Maybe you’d like them to contact you or connect with you? Do you have volunteering opportunities for people?

  1. Headlines matter

This is the last point as it’s often easier to write your headline once you’ve written your story. Keep your headline catchy and compelling. After all, this is the first point of contact for a reader with your story, and could be what makes them read it or not. Opt for brevity, and make sure it’s relevant to your content. Write a few headlines and review them. Ask yourself which one you’d be most likely to click on?

Check out some of the stories already on Landcarer, and add your own! We can’t wait to read it.

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