Do you remember the ‘Story drought of ‘87`? Or how about the ‘Story Famine’ of ‘98?
Of course you don’t – because they never happened. There are no story shortages. Billions of stories are created every day. Stories that are added to the stories created yesterday, last week, last year and hundreds of years before your own story began.
The problem is not lack of stories. The problem is finding the stories that matter. The stories that will connect with your podcast listeners.
The Story Hunter
To get started, you need to be switched to receive mode. In other words, you need to be constantly looking for the stories that could work well for you. Don’t let stories slip through your fingers. Here’s some possible story sources for you to consider.
This is your richest well for stories. The stories you’ve lived and breathed. What’s happened recently? What happened ten years ago?
Your Listeners Stories
Have any of your listeners reached out to you recently? Have they shared a story with you? If you can use these stories you’ll not only strengthen your relationship with the listener, you’ll encourage others to do the same.
Industry/Subject Matter stories
Have you come across any industry stories that would be worth sharing? Has something happened that you could provide some commentary on?
Stories in the news (topical)
Is there a topical news story that you use as a familiar frame of reference for your show. So, for example – what has Pokemon Go
Your Story Library | Storing your stories
They might never be used on your show, but capturing them and storing them is a critical part of the process.
In the past I’ve done this by keeping a story journal. It was a rather nice Moleskin notebook that I jotted down story ideas as and when I stumbled across them. Now though, in my attempts to be better organised and 100% paperless, I store all my stories in Trello.
Trello is a very clever app that works across all my devices. Think of it as a digital to-do list. I know Colin and the team here at The Podcast Host also use Evernote.
It doesn’t matter how you do it though – it just matters that you DO it. Don’t trust your memory.
Not every story you come across is going to work. But, with a pool of stories you have a greater chance of finding the stories that are worthy of telling. Set yourself a reminder to review your story pool on a regular basis. Here are some clues to the stories that might be worth considering for your next show.
Clues to a great story
Something unpredictable happened.
We like surprises. We like twists and turns. Look out the stories that have that added sense of drama. Those are the stories that will hook your listeners.
The ‘hero’ of the story experienced a significant change.
Stories are all about change. So look for the stories where your hero has gone through a significant change. This is particularly important when selecting guests to interview on your show. Remember – no change – no story.
Someone overcame a HUGE obstacle.
Stories where someone has risen the lowest low, to the highest high are the stories we can all identify with. Overcoming an emotional or personal tragedy. Surviving bankruptcy. The classic ‘rags to riches’ story.
A lesson learned
If the story we tell teaches a valuable lesson or has a universal truth. It’s a story worth telling. Tales that have a strong moral to them will be remembered.
Bringing it all together
Get started today. Get st-up for story success by becoming a Story Hunter. Have a place to store all the amazing stories you come across. Please don’t trust your memory. Then, all you have to do is go through your pool and find the stories that will work for your audience. And that’s key – it’s about YOUR audience.
You know them much better than me. Find the stories that they’ll love.
If you’ve got your own story system. Let us know.
The Storytelling for Podcasters Series Guide
Chapter 1 – Why is Storytelling Important for Podcasters?
Chapter 2 – The Story Structure
Chapter 3 – Mix Up Your Story Types to Create Engaging Episodes
Chapter 4 – Becoming a Relentless Story Hunter
Chapter 5 – Creating the First Draft of Your Story
Chapter 6 – Making Your Story Sing