Some people write to sell, and other people write to tell stories in novels and film. Pretty cut and dry, right?
A copywriter is the selling type… she uses her talents to promote a person, place, thing, or idea. That copywriter chooses words to make the subject look and sound great so that a desired action happens. It’s all about marketing, sales, and conversions.
But great copywriters are also storytellers.
A History Worth Telling
Storytellers have existed since the dawn of humankind. Cave dwellers told stories of their hunt or the discovery of a good location to set up camp. Villagers told stories of their neighbors or shared rumors that instilled fear and witch hunts. Churches and druids told stories to guide people and lead them on the path of good or evil.
Around fires that warmed chilled hands, Vikings told stories of conquests and battles. Children told stories to share their dreams (or to escape a whipping). Jesters told stories to kings, breaking the monotony and encouraging a laugh.
Even today, stories surround us. The television tells stories of the plights of people in other countries. Movies tell stories to entertain and challenge us. Novelists tell stories to help people escape and relax.
A good story grabs anyone’s attention. We love stories. We listen to the tale and imagine everything in our mind’s eye. We experience emotion and are compelled to take action because of the stories we hear.
As a copywriter, if you can perk a reader’s interest with a good story, you have it made. You can increase those sales and get people talking about a product or a service. You can instill trust and project credibility. You can stir up commitment and encourage action in a specific direction.
You can get people talking. Your story creates more stories, and these people spread the word to everyone. Word of mouth is the best kind of promotion there is, after all.
Where to Use Storytelling
Think there’s no storytelling in copywriting? Think again. Long sales copy uses stories, playing on people’s fears and emotions, reaching out to show them how they can solve their problems with the solution you offer.
Press releases use stories, too. Journalists pick up on stories that are worth repeating. They spread the news and talk over events that happen in the world around us.
Case studies are stories about people’s lives, and how they were affected. Textbooks use stories and examples to enhance learning and show students real life applications.
Entire websites can be stories too. The About Us page is a great place to start. The Home page of any site tells a story too (and if it doesn’t, it probably isn’t doing very well in the conversion department).
Each page leads a reader from one story to another:
- Who these people are.
- How these people can help.
- Why you need these people.
- Why you should buy.
It’s All About the Story
Storytelling allows you to prick the interest of prospects who might not otherwise stop to read. Invite them in. Have them sit down. Get them intrigued in what comes next. Build the anticipation. Touch their minds. Evoke their emotions. Touch their hearts.
Learn to find that spark of storytelling and use it to light up your copy. Twine the tale around your words, and see if it doesn’t have positive effects on the results.
Creativity isn’t just for fiction writers, and strategic storytelling can produce spectacular sales results. If you lack a good story, you’re less likely to create copy that converts and more likely to waste time and money.
And that’s not a story you or your client wants to hear.
About the Author: If you like a good story, then head to Men with Pens, where James and Harry regale readers with funny stories, wise tales, and great web working advice. Better yet, get it all via RSS feed here.