Sticky stories vs non-sticky ones

stats-dcNever had so many readers in one day as yesterday.

What happened?

Go through yesterday’s posts and you’ll get a pretty good idea.

It all started with a story.

Stories can be powerful when they are simple, concrete, unexpected, emotional and credible. And if they are, they can make the ideas behind them pretty sticky.

At least, that’s what Dan and Chip Heath say in their book Made To Stick.

My story was simple: Belgian student working at a bar in NY supposedly got fired because on her blog she publicly criticized our minister of Defense and his crew for their behaviour at the bar.

It was concrete: the story was there (you could read it at the blog and read stuff about it in the newspapers).

It was unexpected: why should a minister get a student fired for blogging about him? It was unheared of that a minister got into this kind of situation.

Was it emotional? My story was charged with anger and contempt. It wasn’t the basic rational stuff, it was me talking about how I felt about this.

Credible? That’s a tricky one. Since all the facts seemed there (you could look the story up) and the story was mentioned on other blogs it seemed credible.

Everything’s possible with a great story

Can a story which is simple, concrete, unexpected, emotional and credible really make anything stick?

I thought about this when rereading yesterday’s posts.

It certainly can attract attention. And it might make the idea behind the story stick with your readers.

You can remember at least one urban legend, can’t you?

But what if the idea turns out to be a bad one?

What if the story didn’t actually deliver your readers the credible stuff they were hoping for?

Then the stickyness of your story can backfire. People will always remember it with the unhappy ending.

Dealing with unhappy endings

This also shows you what you can do when faced with an unhappy ending. Make sure your story continues, and preferrably in the way you’ve written the previous episode.

If you’ve really something to say, you have nothing to be afraid of. Whatever ending you’re faced with, you’ll work your way through.

Just out of curiosity, what stuck with you yesterday?

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