Stories deliver in diametrically different ways to sales-orientated marketing. And the key benefit is that people actually want to read stories. Good stories appeal to our primal, curious, human spirit, and when we find one that connects personally, we struggle to let go before we discover how it ends. That is why you sometimes can’t resist turning to the final page of a novel long before you are supposed to. And even if you can resist that sneaky glance, great stories often draw you deep into the night, searching out the happy ending or until sleep carries you to Neverland.
Imagine if your marketing had that effect on your audience?
The main difference between sales content and story-driven marketing is the expectation of a reader. When someone engages with a story, they will give you a sample of their attention for free – without bias or resistance. Think of this as a ‘license to begin’. It is like they are saying, “I’ll give you a minute of my time to prove you have something worth a little more – excite me.” There is no threat in storytelling (unless, of course, you are peddling horror or thriller themes!) You’re not trying to sell anything; merely caressing your reader’s ears and teasing their interest by setting a scene for their imagination to explore.
If your opening works, that freely given initial attention span will soon transform into thirsting after the secrets you’ve promised to share by the end. Stories win hearts and, if your tale can turn a stranger into a friend, it may even find listening ears for life.
So here are my five secrets to composing a compelling business story:
- Stories have to be true: Even if your narrative is fictional, the sentiment must be true. There never was a race between a tortoise and a hare, but everybody knows who won and how. Your business tales must have similar morals and truths to share: from start to finish.
- Make it personal: Write to the precise person you would most like to read your story. Work out who they are, have their face and name in mind as you write and invite them to walk the narrative with you
- Follow a structure: Ironically, your creativity will flow more freely when following a pre-planned route to your destination. As a creative writer, I love to flow and see where it will go. But I have learned the value (in time, emotional energy and style) of planning first (especially in business writing).
- Keep the pages turning: People often say short copy is better than long. I disagree! Well told stories will keep people reading, and if they haven’t got the time now, they will come back for more later. Short attention spans rarely make for longterm relationships anyway. Just keep hinting at the promise of more value, adventure and intrigue to come.
- Deliver value: Nothing is more disappointing than a gripping plot, with interesting characters, leading to a watered-down, witless and pointless finale. Finish your stories with aplomb or leave your readers banging on your door for the sequel.
Many years as a marketer taught me the need for a CALL TO ACTION on every marketing piece. The CTA describes the bit at the end, which explicitly tells your customers what to do next and how to buy from you or take the next step in the sales journey.
I believe the best marketing takes the shape of story-driven marketing. So, for me, CTA means leaving your readers Craving The Afters… not telling them what they must do.
And so, practicing what I preach … if you need my help in writing the business book that’s inside you or some attention grabbing story based blogs for your business, you know what to do! Book a call with me today