Over the years, there has been some truly boring content created in the name of marketing. Dull, verbose, too technical, jargon laden, and simply boring – all in the name of endeavouring to capture that lead or sale. Marketers have had to learn that with the rest of the web only a click away, content has to engage and inspire. Or suffer from a high bounce rate and an irate sales department left with nothing to do.
It has been interesting to watch the shift from third person, impersonal brand collateral to companies developing personalities, writing in the first person, allowing staff to write more personal accounts, articles or posts, and most importantly, the growth in acceptance of telling a good story as marketing spiel.
High quality marketing copy has become personal. A chance to stand around a virtual water cooler and share in the secrets of a company. Not real secrets, but insights into the business or products, its staff, the R&D process, product development, successes and failures (yes, companies now do often own up when something has not gone quite to plan), and much more.
We have advanced from the rare occasions such as Remington's “I was so impressed I bought the company” line to CEOs of major transnational corporations writing blogs or Tweets that draw in the curious, the competitor, even the disinterested if juicy and interesting enough.
Much of it is down to style, and stories are best told when they include characters and personalities. Many companies have developed that art now, fearing not standing out from the crowd by being too grey in a colorful online world. Even the most seemingly staid industries such as container shipping, snowplow manufacturers or mortgage brokers have managed to master the art of creating great content with strong copywriting that guarantees a good read.
Even hard-bitten journalists and politicians are now using the first person, or leading the reader or listener on a journey towards the most important points that need to be made in a story-like fashion. One of the most incredible examples of this is Aaron Swartz's keynote speech at Freedom to Connect in Washington 2012. Whether or not you are interested in SOPA, this speech holds you captivated to the very end because of its style.
A Good Story Has To Be Compelling and Engaging
Learning to tell stories means understanding your audience and writing so the story is compelling, rather than dry and sales-driven. You cannot know every single one of the members of your audience, nor what interests them today, or might interest them tomorrow. However, by sticking to the time-honored narrative arc (beginning, middle and end), you can tap into that age old and genetic human trait – listening to a story.
- Make the customer the good guy or hero of the story, rather than your product
- Add emotions and anecdotes to which your reader can relate
- Build relationships and trust by showing you understand the pain points your reader faces
- Show how to solve problems or achieve a better life
Try to use the appropriate language for your audience, and do not bamboozle with jargon and technical terms unless irreplaceable in that context. You do not tell a 5 year old a story with vocabulary for adults and expect the child to understand it, so consider always who your audience is. If necessary, write different copy on the same subject to help get the messages across.
Read your story out loud, either to a chosen and willing audience, or just to yourself. The sound of even your own voice will help you gauge the feelings the piece encourages and understand where changes could be made. This will also pick up typos and grammatical errors.
Always end on a high note - happy endings are always popular, so don't leave the reader with unanswered questions or negative emotions. Harness that emotional high and use a Call To Action to help your reader take positive action today.
For great copy and help with writing unique stories, call MintCopy at 888-646-8003 or send us an email.