What you do when you write content for your Web site to describe, promote, and sell your product or service is called online marketing, right? As a copywriter or Web site owner writing your own content, your efforts are channeled toward making your copy as effective as possible. In copywriting terms, effectiveness is directly proportional with conversion rate. That means selling a product, securing a membership registration, getting your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter, download your software download, or do something else.
How do you achieve that? The simple answer is: by using storytelling. Marketing is about facts, storytelling is about stories. Facts are useful, but easy to forget unless they are served in a more appealing form. What happens between clicks is critical. That split second that separates one click from the next is decisive for your product’s fate. It’s either a click-through or a click-away. If you manage to seize your visitors’ attention, they might click-through, otherwise they’ll flee like a hunted deer.
What’s the Difference Between Facts and Stories? Again, Conversion Rate.
A story will not only secure you more browsers, but actually increase your conversion rate. How can you use storytelling in your copywriting? Brandon Yanofsky gives you a hand in A Crash Course in Marketing With Stories by enumerating the main elements you need in order to have a story that can help you convey your marketing message in a convincing way.
You can find these elements in all stories, one way or another, so once you know what they are and learn how to adjust and adapt them to writing Web content, your copywriting will definitely become more impactful. If you do it right. So, what is a story made of?
1. Every Story Has a Protagonist
If you want a story, you need a main character or protagonist. Everything that happens in the story revolves around him or her. Moreover, the audience identifies with the protagonist, which is essential to stimulate people’s interest and engagement. If your readers can’t empathize with the main character, they are unlikely to understand your message. The protagonist of your story needs to become your readers’ hero if you want your story to work. Who’s the hero of your marketing story?
2. Bad is Good for Your Story
Yes, it all boils down to that classic pattern: the fight between good and evil. And like in all fairy tales, the good is supposed to prevail, eventually. But before that you need conflict to make your story move on. So, who’s Bad? Who is your Good Guy fighting? There has to be something that prevents him/her from attaining his/her goal. By making your hero overcome hardships and defeat the enemy, you consolidate the connection with your audience, and earn their loyalty. Who’s the bad guy in your online marketing story?
3. There’s No Hero without Action
People aren’t moved by stories with geeky, passive, unassuming characters. Unless the geek turns out to be a superhero, which is often the case if you think of superheroes, for instance. Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Captain America, they all lead a double life, where their alter ego is completely different from their regular self.
If you want a captivating story that keeps people awake, you need a hero that is actively involved in defeating his enemy. A hero who spends his time on the couch, watching a fight in his favorite TV series, is no hero. To become a hero, he needs to be in the fight. And win it. There’s nothing worse than boring your readers/prospects. You undermine your chances of creating successful copywriting before you even get started.
4. Action Means Plot
A story keeps people engaged because things happen. Good things, bad things, surprising things. To qualify as a story, your content needs a plot. Every story has three parts: a beginning, where you meet the hero; a middle, where the hero gets into trouble defending his cause; and an end, where the hero wins the fight, gets the girl and the money, and everybody lives happily ever after. Somewhere between the middle and the end, the story reaches a peak. That’s the climax, which is essential in keeping readers hooked. Take a moment to answer these questions: Does your content marketing have a plot? Can you put your finger on the parts of your plot? Is there a climax?
5. All Good Stories Have a Moral
A memorable story teaches you something or provides an insight or a solution to a problem. For example, the moral of Little Red Riding Hood is watch out who you trust. Now, apply this to the story told by your content marketing. What’s your moral? What message do you want to convey?
First answer the questions above by keeping in mind what it takes to create a story, and then start writing yours.