So now we have a great title and . . . now what?
It feels like a hundred years ago since I was at school, but I do remember the English teacher always drilling into us the basics of good composition – it, the story that is, has to have a beginning, a middle and an ending. Let’s be honest here, what is a blog – if not a story about your business, or about who you are or what it is that you are doing and why you are doing it? The reality is that it is a story and it is in the telling of the story, that you have the power.
A story is no good if the beginning makes you want to fall asleep. Most people will stop right there and not continue reading. So too is having a fantastic and strong ending, without a great beginning. That is just a hopeless exercise. Conversely having a fantastic beginning, that grips the imagination or curiosity of the reader and then having an ending that makes them feel like they have just lit the soggy end of a wet squib, will also make them reluctant to read any of your future offerings.
So you’ve got a fabulous beginning and an ending that will make the reader bang down the door for the next instalment, but what about the middle? How do you tell the story? Does it follow the twists and turns, does it have a surprise somewhere along the way, does it make the reader engage with the characters or feel that they want to buy your product or service? Does it conjure up pictures or colours or smells or memories that reach down into the very core of a being? How does it make them feel inside? For example, what are you ‘feeling’ right now as you read these words. Are you nodding your head furiously because you understand exactly how you feel when you are reading something that bores you to tears or the excitement that creeps up from within as you read something that gives you an “ah-ha” moment or that challenges you or that makes you think, I mean really think – or are you sadly shaking your head from side to side because you don’t have a clue about what it is that I am going on about (and yes, there will always be those who remain utterly clueless – no matter what the topic)!
For me, the beginning must grab my attention from the getgo – I must think, I have to just read this page before I . . . . (insert what you will here). The ending must make me sigh with pleasure, sad that I have come to the end and eager to start reading the next article or the next book by the same author and the middle, well the middle must keep me engrossed, it must feed my imagination and satisfy my curiosity, it must stretch my mind and leave me with an internal sense of well being. It must make me willing to follow without question, not make me feel like I am being dragged along, resisting all of the ways. Reading the kind of articles that make me feel like I am being forced to read, irritate and annoy and sap all the pleasure out of reading the written word.
Step back from your page for a moment and ponder – what is the picture that you want your reader to have? What is the experience that you wish for them to have? Is it a pleasurable one? Now sit down and write the story with all of those images that run around and swirl about in your head – they will see them, they will feel them and I have no doubt that they will enjoy them.