Storytelling makes sales letters and websites much more entertaining, gives you huge boosts in credibility and will in general significantly increase your sales. What are the elements of a great story? How can you use it to increase your credibility? Here are the most important skills and elements to master.
Start with a Lesson
Every story needs to have a crystal clear lesson. The lesson could be a moral one (e.g. “Don’t cheat your customers”), or it could be a technical one (e.g. “What happens when you only pay attention to CTR and not page quality in Adwords”).
Whatever the case, the lesson needs to be clear to you before you start to write the story. Never try to put two lessons in one story and never start writing a story before being clear on the lesson.
Your story’s lesson doesn’t have to be clear to your reader until they get to the very end. But it must be clear to you before you write a single word.
Use Characters They Can Relate To
If you’re talking to beginning stockbrokers, will they relate more to a story about an old widow’s investment mistakes, or the investment mistakes of a young but rash stockbroker? The latter, of course.
The more you can use characters they can relate to, the better.
Even in a very short story, aim to develop your character as much as possible. The reader needs to be able to get a taste for their personality and their current emotional state in their story.
Every character should want something. They may or may not get it in the story, but the desire itself creates tension in the air. “Will they get it?” is the question that should be on the reader’s mind until the end of the story.
The Two Ways to Build Credibility with Storytelling
There are two main ways to build credibility with storytelling.
The first is to tell true stories and slip credibility points into the story.
For example, teach your audience how to build a successful website by telling a story. In the process, you can “slip” in comments from other people about how unique your process is.
In telling a story about how to be a successful stockbroker, you might “slip” into the story the fact that you beat 95% of the other stockbrokers, then go right back into the story.
There are claims that would sound presumptuous or bragging if said outright, but that can be safely said in a story.
The second way to build credibility? To clearly demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about by giving top-notch tips and advice.
Use the story to illustrate an educational point and really give your users something valuable. The credibility doesn’t come from talking about yourself, but just really demonstrating that you know your topic.
Storytelling is a powerful tool in any copywriter, marketer or business person’s arsenal. It might feel awkward at first, but with a little bit of practice this skill can pay off for the rest of your life.