Storytelling Copy Can Be Very Convincing

Storytelling Copy Can Be Very Convincing

Storytelling copy seems to be a lost art among copywriters. If your target audience includes GenXers and Baby Boomers (those born prior to 1980) you should consider a test with a storytelling approach if you use direct mail, email, content marketing/blog posts, website landing pages, video or any other medium that can support more than a few paragraphs of copy.

What is storytelling copy and how best can you connect with customers and prospects through storytelling?

Storytelling in marketing is about creating stories that quickly engage your customers or prospects story they can readily relate to. Stories are about making choices and the positive outcome experienced from your product or service.

“If you can be a good storyteller there’s no limit to what you can do,” says communications expert Rob Biesenbach. “Stories break down walls, build trust and influence people to act.”

He identified six ingredients that give stories power:
1. Stories tap into emotion (people do not respond to facts and logic)
2. They put a face on an issue (nobody cares about process; they care about people)
3. Stories connect us
4. They humanize us (people want to see your personal side)
5. Stories appeal to universal, shared values
6. Stores are about “show/don’t tell.” It’s one of the best things stories do. Don’t make claims. Tell stories.

“Emotion trumps logic when it comes to storytelling,” Biesenback said.

Americans spend $10 billion a year going to movies and 35 hours a week of TV. Add to that video games are a $15 billion industry.

“Our brains are hardwired for stories and they have a unique effect on our brains,” he says. “One study showed that when we hear a story it triggers the same area of the brain as when we experience an event. There is little distinction between story and experience. Stories sweep us up on a number of levels, our heart rates go up and we often put ourselves in the story or relate to the protagonist.”

He said that 63% of people remember stories, while just 5% remember statistics.
“Stories are the hook,” he says. “Stories are the thing people are going to remember.”

Every story should have a beginning, middle and end — The three-legged story stool:

1. Character. “It’s about a character in pursuit of a goal in the face of some challenge.” “It’s about how the character overcomes the challenge, which provides conflict and drama and that provides the interest.”

When we’re telling stories in marketing we want to have these elements: who’s my audience, what are the goals of my customer and then find a character, or real situation, to overcome those challenges. The ideal character is one your audience can relate to—a public figure or a fellow employee, for example.

2. Connect with emotion. Emotion is the heart of storytelling.
“Emotion triggers decision-making. You want to trigger an emotional response in whomever you’re communicating with. Don’t talk about what you do, but why you do it. Don’t be afraid to get personal; to tell stories about who you are and where you came from and how that relates to where you are today.”

3. Less is more “Shorter is better, not just less time, less stuff. The key is to use essential details not unnecessary details,” he said.
“Take risks, express yourself freely with passion,” Biesenback said. “That is the key to creating long-term connections with your customers, help build your reputation and sell your products and services.

Does a storytelling approach make sense for you? We’d be happy to explore the idea with you.

Mark Weinstein