Storytelling quote from Plato: 'Those who tell stories rule society.'

Storytelling for Copywriting That Delivers

Storytelling has the ability to capture attentions and deliver messages in indirect ways.

I recently read the most riveting book in a single day. I’d meant to sneak in a chapter here and there for a bit of R&R. But a few pages in and I couldn’t put it down. Once I’d finished the book I felt a real loss — what was I going to do with myself now? What I did was head right out to buy the second and third instalment in the trilogy! Hurrying off to the bookstore, I just couldn’t believe how emotionally invested I’d become in the characters and plot. So I started thinking about how such skilfully woven storytelling could translate into copywriting.

My actions were exactly those which I want my copywriting to inspire in others. I was a captive audience, instant convert and my interest translated into a sale. What’s more, I’ll always keep an eye out for new books by that same author now.

So in this copywriting blog post, we’ll discuss why storytelling can have profound impact on your copywriting. Then we’ll look at how to ensure this impact is positive.

But first, why is storytelling such a powerful copywriting tool?

I’ll give you three great reasons.

Ignited imagination makes for powerful persuasion
Get your consumer emotionally connected with your copy and you’ve hit a home run. Whatever action you want people to take, you need to invoke feeling behind this. When people feel sympathy they are moved to make charitable donations. When people feel empowered they want the product that instigates this sensation. So put storytelling to work in your copy and you’ll stir feelings that persuade readers to buy what you’re selling because storytelling makes your copy more meaningful.

Storytelling is the art of subliminal selling
A carefully crafted plot takes your readers on a journey. Each stage of that journey is signposted: need, solution, even fresh possibilities. But often your readers don’t notice what they’re absorbing along the way. A great story will leave your concept, purpose and desired action firmly implanted in your readers’ minds. In the end they may not know why they must act — they simply feel they must. In essence, storytelling when copywriting sells to the subconscious.

Storytelling in copywriting is all about the feel-good feeling
We’re surrounded by stories in our everyday life. Movies, books, even the exchange of news with our friends. Stories feel very natural to people – even reassuring. Herein lies the power of storytelling through copywriting. When your audience feels comfortable they’re more receptive to what you have to say. People instinctively distrust a sales pitch. But storytelling leads your reader down a different path — one of new ideas, exciting possibilities and wonderful solutions. So you can skip right over resistance and scepticism to an open-minded, interested audience.

But under every great story must be an even greater strategy!
When copywriting we need to do more than just spin a good yarn. We don’t write to entertain alone. We want that captivated audience to finish reading our copy — then take action. We want them to pick up the phone and call us, race out to buy our product (like I did with my books) or reach into their pockets for a generous donation. Creative copywriting always has a purpose and it is crucial that you don’t lose sight of this just to tell an entertaining tale.

So how do you make storytelling both strategic and scintillating?

Here are some quick tips to make sure your storytelling has a happy ending:

  • Ensure your story is directly relevant and supportive to your purpose.
  • Keep it interesting — boring stories get left on the shelf as will your product if readers fail to engage with your tale.
  • Stick to what’s relevant — beware your story overtaking your point.
  • Make your consumer the hero — show the reader the results they’ll enjoy when they get your product or service. Will they be the envy of their neighbours, make a difference in the world, have a better life?
  • Know your consumer inside out — build your story and their heroism on that knowledge.

Give storytelling a go in your next copywriting project. You’ll be thrilled at the results…and probably rejuvenate your creative juices to boot.

About the author: Naomi Cox is a Word Nerds copywriter who has held marketing and public relations positions in corporations and government departments in Australia and New Zealand.

Michael Gladkoff, the Director of Word Nerds, delivers storytelling keynotes and workshops around Australia. For more information, visit Speech Power.