In keeping with my promise to finally start writing posts on a regular basis, I’m going to keep you all posted with a continuation of my thoughts on storytelling.
This week, I’m going to focus less on the advantages and disadvantages of using stories, and more on the “how-to” side of the question.
So, without further ado…
… What Makes A Good Story
Have you ever asked yourself that question?
If your interested in writing at all, you probably have.
Storytelling comes into play in pretty much all forms of writing.
Copywriting, news writing, and of course fiction writing, all have their own characteristic styles of storytelling.
What’s common to all forms of storytelling, is that they all aim to engage the reader, elicit some kind of emotional or intellectual response.
Where they differ is in the specific responses they aim to get, and what they hope to use those responses for.
In journalism, stories are supposedly used to make the reader into an informative citizen (some would say that in practice, the real goal is to make them terrified of the world so they watch more TV news… but I digress).
In fiction, the goal is to create any combination of engrossing feelings that make the reader want to keep reading.
And the goal for direct-response copywriting?
“To Create A Feeling Of Urgent Desire In The Reader So They Place An Order Right Away.”
When you write direct-response copy for a product, your aim is to get the reader to take action right away.
So, any stories you weave in to your copy should serve the objective of creating that urgent desire to “have THIS product NOW!”
Of course, creating that desire is only half the battle.
You need a good close to get the reader to actually act on that desire.
But as far as storytelling is concerned, creating that desire is the main objective.
With that point established, I’m going to offer a few pointers on how to write a great story for your sales letter.
I’ve also got a video blog for you that covers some general ideas about good storytelling; you can check it out here:
How To Write A Great Story For A Sales Letter
Okay, so, you’ve got your sales letter outline ready and you need to write a story.
What do you do?
Well, there’s a lot of disagreement about how to best write a story, but most people would agree that the first step would be to identify the basic elements of the storyline.
Since you’re writing this story primarily to mirror the experiences of your readers and show them that you’ve been through what they’ve been through, you’ll probably want to do some background research and find out what kinds of experiences keep your ideal customer awake at night.
For that, you can easily refer back to your market research and ideal customer profile.
Once you’ve found out what experiences are going to resonate with your readers, you need to create a narrative that shows you’ve been through these experiences.
The best (and most ethical) way to do this is to have actually gone through these experiences yourself.
But if you haven’t, you can always ask someone who buys your products what led them to seek them out.
Once you’ve got the “problem” part of the story out of the way, you need to talk about how you found a solution.
The best thing to do here is to just talk about how you painstakingly pieced together a solution after years of reading, experimenting, and talking to successful people.
The reason this works is because it establishes your credentials, AND shows that you put a lot of work and thought into your solution.
After you’ve established how you built your solution, you can lead into a discussion of the product’s features and benefits, which will also serve as the conclusion of your story.
Of course, this is a highly simplified discussion of the vast topic of storytelling, but if you already have a decent writing style and understand the basics of direct-response copywriting, it will help you write effective sales letter stories.
I’ll be introducing a more in-depth discussion of the topic in my upcoming book, The Seven Secrets Of Successful Sales Copy, due for release in August 2012.
Until then, feel free to browse past installments of my blog for more ideas on research, outlining and writing, for ideas that can help you craft that perfect story.
Alright, that’s it for today.