We hear a lot about story telling these days.
As a journalist, it’s something I’ve always done, but now marketers, social media experts and bloggers are out there too, sharing people’s stories.
This is great. Back in the 90s when I started out in journalism, if you wanted to reach people, you had to persuade your local paper that your story was worth telling.
Failing that, you’d take out an advert, send out newsletters in the post, or rely on word of mouth.
Now everyone is a publisher, and this week I had something amazing come from a little bit of storytelling.
I’ve recently launched my own pet blog, The Paw Post, because I’m nuts about animals.
The reason I did it was that over the years I’ve written so many stories about pets, usually for newspapers and magazines.
Each time they will be edited and inevitably parts of the story wouldn’t be told because of restrictions with space.
So when I learned that Beds for Bullies founder Liz Haslam was facing losing her 16 dogs and could be forced to give up her rescue I decided to tell the story on my own platform.
Liz is a remarkable woman and her rescue specialises in helping rehome English Bull Terriers.
She’s helped dogs all over the world. I know many of their stories as I’ve placed them in national newspapers like the Sun, Sunday People and Sunday Mirror.
Say what you like about the tabloids, but when it comes to helping animals, their readers are the most generous by far.
This time though, time was of the essence so I shared the story on my blog, you can read it here.
In just three days, her story has been read 7,000 times, shared nearly 3,000 times and on the JustGiving page we set up she’s had over £1500 of donations.
Liz and I and her network of dog lovers and supporters have ensured the story has reached thousands of people on social media.
The result is that she’s seen more donations than any of the newspaper pieces we’ve done together which is just astonishing.
I told her story as a journalist, with the when, where, why, what and how structure, with a strong call to action urging people to donate at the bottom.
I briefly told the story of each dog, with powerful and in some cases upsetting images to accompany it, because you need these to tug on the heart strings.
Thankfully, it worked, and we’ve been blown away by the support.
My takeaways from this are that it’s vital to make your story as emotional as possible.
People engaged and wanted to help because of how kind and dedicated Liz is.
It’s a heartbreaking yet heartwarming tale.
It also showed the power of social media.
The post was shared more times from my three month old blog than stories I’ve written for national newspapers that have appeared on their websites, read by millions.
Finally, it showed me that people are kind, and writing a story that inspired people to be just that really does give you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. And cry a few happy tears too.
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