Does Storytelling Belong in Copywriting?

Your friend keeps telling you about a supplement that suddenly gives her more energy, makes the pounds melt away, helps her focus better at work, and even tastes fantastic! You trust your friend and her judgment, but a new supplement isn’t something to take lightly, so you turn to the company’s sales page for more information.

As soon as you start reading, you’re immediately sucked into story after story of how this supplement changed the lives of ordinary people like you. The people in the stories experienced the same trouble taking off those last 5 pounds and feeling blah all the time as you currently do. That is, until they started using this supplement…

After reading through several of those stories, you’re hooked and looking for a way to add the trial pack to your cart.

If you’ve ever found yourself in that position – whether it be with a supplement, self-improvement program, or any of the multitudes of products, lifestyles, or ideas out there – you have experienced the power of storytelling in copywriting.

So what are the benefits of adding a story or two?

First off, let’s start by clarifying that storytelling and copywriting aren’t the same thing, nor are they mutually exclusive.

Masterful and purposeful storytelling has a plot, characters, rising action, a climax, falling action, and a resolution (are you having flashbacks from middle school English class yet?). Stories grab your attention, suck you into another person’s shoes, or even help you understand your own life experiences better. A good story should leave your reader laughing, crying, entertained, and inspired to take the next step in life.

Masterful and purposeful copywriting uses information to sell an idea, lifestyle, or product. It tells the reader what the desired result is, how to get there, and why it’s important.

When you combine the two, you use cohesive, engaging, focused stories to help you sell an idea, lifestyle, or product.

The kicker is that the story needs to have a goal and a focused beginning, middle, and end. By the end of your copy, your reader should know what it is you’re selling, why you’re selling it, and what they need to do to get it – all while feeling like your story has improved their own life somehow.

How do you incorporate purposeful storytelling into your copy?

Well, that all depends on your end goal. If your goal is to teach, your story will look very different than if you want to sell a product or inspire someone to try your way of doing things. When you’re trying to figure out what to write, start by asking yourself some questions:

  • What do I hope to achieve?
  • Who is my target audience?
  • What is my audience’s fear and how can my product correct it?
  • What feelings do I want to evoke?
  • Is humor appropriate?
  • What tone should I use?
  • What language style does my audience identify with?

If you’re familiar with my revolutionary RMBC copy accelerator method, this is wrapped in the R (research) stage that is the critical first step of copywriting.

At the end of the day, your goal for using a story should be to put your reader in your own shoes. You want to get them thinking, “Huh. I wonder if I tried (such-and-such), if I would have a similar experience.” The faster you get them thinking about themselves, the more likely they are to try your product or service. You do that by sharing stories that your audience can relate to.

Does your story have to be lengthy?

Well, it depends. Your copy should be as long as it needs to be to get someone to take action. When you incorporate storytelling into your copy, you might use a single, longer story that you keep coming back to throughout the whole piece, or it might work better to have several short stories that follow a theme.

At the end of the day, the stories that you interweave throughout your copy could be long or short depending on your product and audience. Regardless, you need to use vibrant, illustrative words that paint pictures and produce emotion in your readers. If you’re going to incorporate storytelling into your copywriting, every word needs to fight for its right to be there; otherwise, your readers will lose interest or leave feeling confused about what they need to do next.

Going back to my RMBC method, stories can help illustrate the M of your sales letter (mechanism or reason behind your market’s pain point) and can also help make the C stage (copy) come alive as you use them to animate your backstory or your product buildup and reveal.

Incorporating storytelling into your copy can yield a lot of desirable benefits: enhanced reader engagement, increased subscriptions, and, ultimately, more sales. It takes creativity, conciseness, and cohesion to put a good story out there while maintaining your copy’s integrity, but your efforts will quite literally pay off.

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© 2020 SPG Educational Resources LLC

Stefan Georgi

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