Stories Stick: Using Personal Stories in Your Content

When our neighbors moved away, they “gifted” us with their three goats to help us with our invasive weed problem. 

While I knew nothing about goats when we got them, I do know how babies are made. 

We have two bucks and a doe, so I’m not sure why I was stunned to find two adorable baby goats in the pasture this spring.

The problem was that the two bucks were being horrible, butting heads, and harassing the mama who was panicking, trying to keep her little ones safe. 

I panicked right along her because I couldn’t catch the bucks to separate them from mama and babies. Finally, my neighbor jumped the fence to help.

Together we managed to capture the babies. I held them while they screamed, a terrible baby bleating noise, and we finally got the bucks into a separate fenced area.

Mama was so relieved when I set her babies back on the ground. She visibly relaxed, nuzzling her kids, knowing the bucks weren’t able to harass them anymore.

We all breathed a sigh of relief.

Now, what do goats have to do with book coaching?

Nothing. At all. 

But personal STORIES have everything to do with book coaching and writing compelling nonfiction books! 

Why You Need to Incorporate Stories

Stories are an integral part of engaging readers, teaching concepts, and connecting emotionally whether we’re writing a blog post like this or a full-length nonfiction book. 

Stories help us introduce and exemplify concepts. 

As readers, stories help us understand and remember these same concepts which is why I encourage you to capture all of your random stories in a bank for your writing, whether that’s in your nonfiction book or a piece of content, like a newsletter, blog post, article, or social media post..

Matthew Dix, author of Storyworthy, encourages story collecting through setting up a basic spreadsheet or notebook, and adding an event everyday that could be turned into a story.

If you’re either writing a book or working on building your platform through email marketing, speaking, social media, a bank of personal stories is an invaluable tool to have to pull from.

Tie Your Story to Your Content

When I look at my silly goat story, I can think of a few ways to incorporate it into my content, whether that’s a social media post, a newsletter like this one, a blog post, or even the book I’m working on. 

The trick is to think about the story and any concepts that you teach that you could tie into the story.

Here are three ways I could use my baby goat story:

1) I could tie in the idea that during the creative work of writing a book, surprises happen, kinda like the baby goats, and you’ll need to iterate and adjust. 

You’ll get a new idea, make a new connection, or realize that what you’re doing isn’t quite working. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that this will happen. 

This happened when I came home expecting to feed three adult goats, but I found FIVE goats: a panicked mama, two newborns, and two pissed off bucks.

You will make changes from your original plan, but it’s all good, just like the new precious baby goats are good!

2) I could emphasize the value of collaboration in getting a job done.

After my failed solo attempts to capture the bucks, it took two of us to separate them from the babies. Even together, we tried several different strategies, all of which failed, until we had a break through and succeeded. 

needed her help.

While we most often do our best creative work alone, working with a book coach who can ask you hard questions to push your thinking, can help you deepen and shape your ideas for your book.

3) I could discuss mama’s surprise and fear at trying to keep her babies safe, just like we do with our new tender book ideas.

There are so many ways to tie our personal stories into our content and even our books. 

Think about those stories that from your life that exemplify and highlight the concepts that you want to teach or share in your book. 

They might be stories you’ve told a thousand times or brand new ones (like the baby goats). 

Conclusion

Keep track of your stories, so you can tie them into your content. They absolutely do make a difference.

I sent this goat story in a newsletter and received replies on the email and several DM’s on social media about it. My audience enjoyed it and responded to it. The response actually encouraged me to add this to my blog!

Stories work to engage and connect with people.

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