4 Key Storytelling Lessons to Learn From @the3six5
Last September, I had the pleasure of contributing a post to the3six5 project. Since 2010, I’ve tracked the project closely and have fallen into the routine of waking up, rolling over, checking my phone and reading the day’s new post before hopping out of bed. The routine may seem a bit odd to some, but I’m a storytelling nut and these posts often satisfy my yearning for a quick This American Life-esque nugget to kick off my day.
If you’ve never checked out the project, I highly encourage you to click above. Recently, I paired it down to three core elements that I think the Project does well to captivate and maintain attention and community with their approach.
1. Photos First
The era of visual sharing is exploding. With so much to explore and share across the Web, images remain a primary asset that people love to share. By requiring every post to incorporate an image, the3six5 forces authors to present something that captures the creative nature of their post while also serving up a strong point of entry to pique interest from readers.
Where many blogs fail is on the consistency front. At the beginning of each year, the3six5 recruits editors to manage the ed cal throughout the year and ensure that every single day is covered with a new post and author. It’s beyond impressive and of course the project wouldn’t live up to its name if this wasn’t the case. Regardless, it is this consistent nature of one new post a day that keeps people like me intrigued and reading/engaging with the content on a daily basis.
3. Simple, Digestable Format
I love how the team has kept the site incredibly simple through the use of a Posterous blog. Easy backend management and the chosen layout keeps the posts front and center with quick load times.
4. Spontaneity and Emotion
You didn’t think I would forget the content piece did you?
I’m always impressed by the diverse set of voices the editors recruit for a year’s worth of content. When submitting a post, editors request that you truly use the blog as an opportunity to capture the moment of the day and as a unique reflection point for your post topic. The approach pushes authors to dig deep and serves as a proof point that there is a story behind every person, every action, every encounter that we experience on a daily basis. We’re humans and we love human stories.
For me, it’s a constant reminder that each and every day is an adventure in and of itself and that no matter what, we should all aim to treat the next 24 hours as such.
Go. Get in the mix. Tell your friends. There are still plenty of spots to fill for 2012 authors.
We’ll see you around the 3six5.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful writeup of the3six5. It’s really been a great experiment and learning experience for both Len and I.
You definitely hit the nail on the head here. We’re constantly blown away by the quality and emotiveness of each day’s posts. On the flip side, we’ve now done more than 800 posts in a row. We couldn’t do it without our editors!
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Agreed…so much so, that I started a “tribute” project (with Daniel and Len’s blessing) at my college. So far, so good…other than being a danged lot of work. Thanks for putting this so succinctly. I’ll share with my writers.
Thanks much, appreciate it!