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Success Story Writing for Development Communications

He is associated with science communication, research and project evaluation for the past twenty-five years and interested in helping others

Communicating Success

Those who are ready to accept change will find success. Success is the realisation of ideas, manifestation of plans and achievements from activities with the desired outcome. Most of the time we consider anything like success only if it has monetary benefits to the users.

In science and technology, there are several inventions taking place around the world. Just like any other programmes, initial takers will be low, owing to the lack of confidence or credibility. In such a situation, giving examples of success becomes pertinent to build momentum.

A success story writer documents achievements in programmes of activities in the form of narrative articles. These success stories are very much helpful for development, for the main reason that it conveys success in a guaranteed manner.

Success is measured in terms of economic value. To consider an article as a success story, it must include additional income generation details by taking up the proposed programme or activity or adoption of technology.


Purpose of Success Story

Purpose of the success story is to communicate the secret of success in many instances so that the readers will get benefited by following what has been done by the person who has succeeded. Marketing with stories of success is becoming easy tools for convincing potential buyers of products and services. On the one hand, the success story addresses the authorities and on the other hand the end-users.

Success story becomes very interesting when there is something hard which was an impediment and the person who has succeeded has done some tricks and skills, utilised to overcome impediments.

Minor successes, when reported in exaggerated form, will only lead into falsification of the truth and loss of value of the author in the long term. Because sooner or later the readers are going to find these false facts. Therefore, success stories have to be realistic from the readers perspective.

Include only positive and relevant matters to create an encouraging environment within the story. Avoid unnecessary hitches and draw-backs.


Elements of Success Stories

  • Title.
  • Problem description.
  • Programme and activity description.
  • Achievements and Outcomes.
  • Figures and diagrams.
  • Projections and potential forecasts.
  • Contact information.

Depending on context and reader's perspective, there may be changes in formats.


Guidelines to Format Success Stories

The success story can occupy a single printed page of a magazine. Therefore, it may be as long as up to 1000 words. More than two-page articles do not suit the purpose. Keep the language simple and avoid technical jargons. Complicated descriptions will scare the readers and cause an adverse effect. Paragraphs may be kept smaller in size with two to three sentences each.

Use active voice and direct speech. In the story, include quotations from beneficiaries of the activity in a conversational format. Real-life experiences impress the reader more than just a description of the facts and figures.
Though the various elements are enlisted above, these need not be specifically mentioned with sub-headings. Some readers feel that subheadings are not good for stories of small size. Therefore, the target reader’s perspective may be taken into account while formatting a success story.

You may also read some books or articles on ‘Developmental Communications’, ‘Art of Story Telling’, ‘Writers Guide to Productivity’, etc. which will give some practical tips.

The Success Story Title

A catchy long-form title which is of less than 15 words.

Problem Description

A short description of the existing problem and ground realities and the possible economic losses or the crunch as experienced by stakeholders highlights the relevance of the background of the story. One thing which the author understands is that the problem will not create additional fear in the stakeholders. Otherwise, the entire programme will recoil.

Describe the beliefs which are there before the programme. If you are not part of the programme, include the programme leader’s statements.

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Programme and Activity Description

A succinct description of the activities in an enthusiastic tone and the overwhelming responses from various involved members give a positive plot for the story. From here on the story will contain positive elements and achievement mood. In the case of some social activities or processes, schematic charts may add value.

Highlight the special efforts and skills used. New technologies adopted also need proper mentioning. Mentioning the collaborative and popular partners give added credibility.

Describe the terms in proper units. Financial inputs, outputs and the worked-out benefit to cost ratios are important.

The goals, engagement of people, time taken for the activity, expenditure, persistence and outcome meeting the requirement of the anticipations are all have to come within the story.

Achievements and Outcomes

Always quantify various activities as well as achievements in numbers. If it is not in monetary terms, converting it into financial values will be more effective to the readers.

Figures and Diagrams

Some of the descriptions which will be hard to describe and difficult to make understand can sometimes easily be depicted through figures or diagrams. Use of real images and diagrammatic representation of activities will also make the articles very attractive. Pictures grab the attention of the readers and they create a very much effective impression as well in the minds of the readers.

Projections and Potential Forecasts

In the beginning stages of programmes and activities, projections are very important. Extrapolation of small scale results to a larger extent based on averages gives a proper idea about the adoption of the programme. This enables decision making authorities to get convinced about further intensifying and expanding to larger extents. Potential benefits are always achievable under ideal circumstances which are attractive.

Contact Information

Details of successful people, their contact information helps others to take some personal decisions.

Benefits of Success Stories

  • It is a powerful tool to convey the importance of the programme or technology-based activity
  • It is a tool to highlight the usefulness of the programmes to stakeholders and authorities.
  • It builds confidence and credibility
  • Easily educating the public regarding the benefits to the public.
  • Motivating technology developers and supporters to take up more such activities on different lines.

Where Can We Publish Success Stories

  1. Handouts and pamphlets
  2. Newsletters and news magazines
  3. Chapters in developmental compilations
  4. Chapters in Organisational Reports
  5. Annexure to various communications
  6. Posters
  7. Online websites
  8. Online magazines
  9. Mobile communications

Developmental Thrust

Development is part of progress. Various efforts to speed up developmental activities are needed. In such efforts, success story plays an important role. The writers of success story have the responsibility to communicate the information to the stakeholders in a convincing, beneficial and developmental manner, projecting the potential benefits motivate all to get involved. It becomes a powerful tool for communication of success. In print media as well as in the online digital media, success stories have very high relevance.

It is said that every story needs a hero, the goal, an obstacle, a master to guide the hero and to work on social morals. Sticking on to these points, a writer can successfully engage the readers on a success story and serve the purpose very well. On a digital medium, there is a possibility of including video demonstrations along with figures and graphs to impress upon the stakeholders. Finally, trustworthiness is the prime requirement of any articles carrying data. So take sufficient care to cross-check with peers and experts.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Halemane Muralikrishna


Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on April 13, 2020:

Thank you, Mr Akash, for going through my article and finding value in it. If someone finds it useful, my effort remains worthwhile. As you aptly identified, the visual impact of data presentation. Moreover, real photos are a must in success stories which not only authenticate, but also motivate the readers.

AndazeAkash on April 13, 2020:

I like the point in which you describe about the figures. I also feel that a figure or chart can express any data in a better way. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful information.

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on April 01, 2020:

Welcome Mr Jnanesh Sharma, read more and write more. There is good scope for success story writing and creative writing in the Online industry.

Jnanesh Sharma H from South India on April 01, 2020:

Wow, very nicely written sire. Your writings are worth a read for all who want to attain knowledge with ease and happiness. I love the way you make the words feel so in ease and flow that spending time whenever I or anyone in this world will read and fell the need to read and not just that, my English has also improved because I read your articles with full interest. I always get a nice place to read and read your articles whenever I am free. Thank you.

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on March 31, 2020:

We have the olden day saying that seeing is believing. In that way success stories are highly influencing. But it depends the way in which the writer explains the story.

Prateek Jain from Madhya Pradesh, India on March 31, 2020:

Awesome article sir. I am always impressed by your knowledge and arrangement of words which explain every difficult task very simple and readable manner. This is no doubt a best topic on which no one mostly write nowadays. Also whatever you shared related to influencing sellers and buyers through the success story is really amazing.

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on March 31, 2020:

Ms Arnaba Saha, thank you very much for spending your valuable time on my article. Even you have good flair for writing. It is ultimately the readers' appreciations are making the writers feel happy. In the case of success story writing it is the persons as heroes of the story who deserve first appreciation next is the technology. Similarly, the subjects and objects of every writing are very important.

Arnaba Saha from New Delhi on March 31, 2020:

Hello Muralikrishna Ji,

Awesome write up. You have intricately included every detailed aspect on this topic, which I guess many people don't even bother to ponder upon.

Writing is an art and a good write up requires to follow formats and needs to adhere to the facts and information with accuracy. Though many writers divert there writing to spice up the matter while losing authenticity and truth.

Thanks for pointing this out in such a fantastic way. Keep up the good work sir.

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on March 26, 2020:

Yes. Ms Natasha, Someone does it due to ignorance. Someone deliberately does it because their content may be different. Each author has his own style of doing it. However, styles guides streamline the way it should come in the layout so as to manage it easily world-wide. But, avoiding sub-headings also not bad for small-sized contents like this.

Natasha Tungare from India on March 26, 2020:

Wow!! So many people write their success stories but never thought of the way to write it! Very nicely described sir

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on March 22, 2020:

Thank you Ms Cijini for your appreciations.

Cijini Manoj from Kerala on March 22, 2020:

your articles are well informed..and up to the point..and it keeps a unique standard....

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