Stories Sell: 5 Proven Storytelling Techniques For Marketing Copywriters

Posted by Ronald Neef

"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...."  "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...."  content marketing copywriter"Call me Ishmael...."  For many of us, these lines, these snippets, immediately create images in our mind's eye.  Why?  Because we remember the stories that follow.  Really remember the stories that follow.

Think about the memories you have.  Aren't many of them attached to either an event you "experienced" or a story you were told, whether by a friend, a book or a movie?  And aren't those memories vivid because of the emotions they conjure up? 

A good story creates memories.  Which, if you're a content marketing copywriter (or considering being one), is itself a very important thing to remember.  Being a competent copywriter requires much more than the ability to convey information about a specific product, service or topic.   And while it's certainly beneficial to possess technical writing skills, it takes more than that to be a successful content marketing copywriter.  Simply put, it takes the ability to tell a memorable story.

Storytelling is easy when it's our own tales we're telling.  It's not nearly as easy when we're telling someone else's story.  A successful content marketing copywriter has the ability to take a business, service or product description and turn it into a story that engages the readers in the action so that they become emotionally invested in the outcome.  If you're able to do this, your writing will convert what would otherwise be vague recollections about information into memorable stories.

There are, of course, many things that go into becoming a good story writer and we certainly can't cover them all because it's a much of a science as it is an art.  We can, however, offer you 5 proven storytelling tips that will help you to become not merely a competent but truly successful content marketing copywriter.

  • Read your audience.  Don't expect to be read if you haven't read your audience.  This is actually a bit trickier than it sounds.  Is your client your audience or is it their customers?  You're probably thinking "Wait, what?  Aren't they the same?"  Not necessarily.  Learn about the business, product and/or service that you'll be writing about to ensure that the story you're telling, no matter how engaging you may think it is, is actually relevant to the audience.  Review prior content that's been published by the client to assess what they focus on.  If you're not sure, ask.  Get clarification so your content doesn't get rejected.
  • Plan the plan.  Where's you story going to end up?  What's the point?  If you don't have a strategy for telling your story, then your content likely won't connect because it won't have any context.  A story without a plot, no matter how well written, is simply a nice collection of words.
  • Create.  If the client only wanted to convey technical information, they'd write about it themselves.  But they want to do more than that.  That's why they hired a content marketing copywriter isn't it?  They've already forgotten more about their product or service than you'll ever know.  They are fully aware, however, that although they have a story to tell, they're probably not the most skilled people to actually tell it. That's where you come in. So be creative.  Think, as the saying goes, outside the box.  Is humor called for? An analogy?  References to other authorities?  Weaving these elements into your writing can make information interesting enough to be remembered.
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify.  Break complex information or details into bite-size chunks.  Remember, you want to engage your readers in your story, not test their patience because they're trying to figure out what it is you're telling them.
  • "Keepin' it real."  Whenever possible, include real stories about real situations involving real people with real results.  If your facts support a "David vs. Goliath" analogy, for example, use it because everyone loves the underdog.  Just remember:  Authenticity is critical.

Once upon a time all a content marketing copywriter had to do was write about a product or service in a way that  merely conveyed information.  Today, not so much.   Now, a content marketing copywriter is only as successful as their content is memorable.  And nothing makes content more memorable quite like a good story.   Master the skill of storytelling and you'll write happily ever after.

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Topics: marketing copywriter, content marketing copywriter, storytelling