Four Guidelines to Effective Storytelling

The best copy comes from intriguing stories. Here’s how to write them.

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Stories have been used for centuries to help share or promote ideas. Even though we now spend hours trying to figure out algorithms or perfecting our use of Instagram filters, the truth is, words still matter: and stories still sell. Instead of handing over a sales pitch, consider handing over a story that demonstrates how your product or service can change someone’s business or life.

If you want to ace the art of a good story, read on for four guidelines to effective storytelling to transform your copy from blah to brilliant.

  1. Remember that your client is the main focus. Every story has a hero, and in this one, it’s actually not your company—it’s the client. They’re the one with a problem to solve, and they’re the one who overcomes their circumstance. Your product or service is merely a guide to help them. That means effective storytelling should speak to the client, reminding them of pain points they’re facing them and showing them a potentially better future. You’re the Yoda to their Luke.
  2. Show empathy. Demonstrate that you understand where this person is in their struggle. Say you’re a law firm reaching out to those going through divorce. You don’t want to seem congratulatory or overjoyed that they’ve found you. Instead, remind them that you’re aware this is a difficult time—but that having a solid lawyer by their side will help them get through it.
  3. Use visuals. Yes, we just talked about how important words are, but visuals are important, too. Nonverbal communication makes a huge difference, and having a few professional-quality photos that demonstrate your product or service? Key. We learned when we were children that the best stories have pictures. You don’t want to present a reader with a huge block of text that isn’t visually enticing. You can also use visuals within your writing by implementing lists, italics, or bolded words.
  4. Give them a happy ending. Everyone loves a happy ending, and it’s essential that your story leads to it. Whether you’re a nutritionist letting clients know you can walk them through weight loss or a life coach promising to help clients find inner peace, you must remind them of the result they’re reaching for and that you’re the one to help them. Most importantly, don’t forget to end on a call to action so they can turn this story into a reality.