Let Me Tell You a Story

book reportConnecting with your Audience

Do you remember writing book reports back in school? Maybe you’ve helped your kids with one or two. What makes that book report A+ quality?

Reporting the facts? Sure.

Breaking it down to the Introduction, the Plot Details, and then the Summary? Certainly that’s important.

Making it truly convincing? Exactly!

You want your audience to be able to paint a picture in their minds of your story; you want to capture their attention so much so that they are compelled to read the book themselves.

Writing here in our blogs is no different; actually it is possibly more important. Generally our purpose with any blog is to build our audience, to establish a following, to build our list. With many it is also to sell our products, our ideas, or promote our affiliate connections.

And we do that by connecting with our audience, by making them want to read our post not just skim it, and we want them to feel good about following through on the action we are suggesting. How do we do this, you say?


Let Me Tell You a Story

Let’s say you are giving a book report on Alexander Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Christo”, one of my personal favorites.
Your account could start with the Introduction:
“The Count of Monte Christo”, by Alexander Dumas written many years ago.

It could include the Plot Details:
Some guy in France who was sent to a rat infested prison to live out his years for committing supposed treasonous acts.

And the Summary:
But instead of dying in prison he escapes, finds a treasure, destroys the lives of the guys he felt put him in prison unjustly and lives out his years as a wealthy man.

That states the basic facts but does it make you want to read the story or rent the movie? No, not in the slightest and if this example were true I believe this report would have received a “D” grade.


But if your report…

Talked about how the story is an adventure taking place in 1815 France and the fortuitous life of a one Edmond Dantes, a successful merchant sailor who was soon to become married and rise to the rank of ship captain. Edmond appears to be leading an enviable life, one which because of his good fortune leads to his betrayal.

His friend Captain Leclere who he is succeeding realizes himself to be dying and persuades Edmond to deliver a package and letter to persons in France. Edmond never opens nor reads the letter which happens to be in support of the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte and follows through on his dying friend’s wishes.

On the eve of his wedding he is arrested and accused of being a Bonapartist traitor and swiftly sentenced to prison for life without the benefit of a trial.

While imprisoned in the Chateau d”If a prison located on an island in the Mediterranean Sea he befriends Abbe Faria a fellow prisoner attempting to tunnel his way out of the prison. Abbe, known as the Mad Priest educates Edmond on science, history, languages, and the reasons why his conspirators would have wished him imprisoned. He also claims to know the whereabouts of an abundant treasure.

After 14 years Abbe takes ill and in his dying moments tells Edmond the location of the treasure. Edmond escapes the island prison by impersonating Abbe in his death sack which is thrown overboard. Edmond is rescued by smugglers, convinces them to leave him on the island of Monte Cristo where he discovers the immense treasure. In the years that follow Edmond Dantes buys the island and transitions into the Count of Monte Cristo.

Here we are at a crucial turn in the story, are you anxious to know how the Count lives out his years, how he seeks revenge on his conspirators, and what type of man he lives on to be?

Good! But I want you to discover for yourself, I want you to read the book or watch the movie, I want you to experience the ending and make “The Count of Monte Christo” one of your favorites as well.


count of monte cristo bookcount of monte cristo blu-ray         count of monte cristo dvd



If I told you how he seeks his revenge, the manner in which he changes people’s lives you would have read a great book report but not followed through with the action I hoped you would take.

The point to our blogs is not just to relay information, it is to capture the attention of our audience, to make them compelled to follow our lead, and to make them want to follow us.


Marilyn T



  1. Hi Marilyn,
    You’re so right. Humans are storytellers, and have been for all of history. We learn from stories – the fairytales we’ve all grown up with teach us that home is where we’re safe etc. Important lessons for kids! And when we’re adults we continue to be attracted to stories – except they’re more likely to gossip and facebook and things like that 🙂
    So yes, making a blog post entertaining as well as informative is very important, and the ‘teaching’ will stick in everyone’s minds if there’s a rollicking good yarn to go with!

  2. I’m trying to work more story-telling into my posts as well. I’m reading “Made to Stick” which has given me some great ideas.

    Buddy, I love the idea of digging down to find the archetypal story.

  3. Hi Marilyn,
    The story is also an archetype. Innocent fellow trusts the wrong guy and gets screwed for it. He then finds a mentor who has “been there”. Comes away with skills to extract revenge but then is redeemed in the end.


  4. Hi Marilyn,

    Good reminder there – need to add in more storytelling. Now that you’ve set it up, I think that one of your own stories would be even more effective!
    Matthew (Tiff blog challenge member)

  5. What a perfect example of how to write a review blog, and one that will get the desired ‘action’ from the reader.

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