As humans, we’re hard-wired to love stories.
It’s undeniable. Stories have existed since the dawn of time. From hieroglyphics and the Ancient Egyptian civilizations right through to the modern page-turner, you can’t beat a good story.
We’re usually exposed to stories from a very early age. Most of us had stories read to us as kids, and have subsequently grown up with novels, magazines, comics, soap operas and movies. A good story will take us to faraway places, unlock our imaginations and evoke our emotions. They inspire, influence and engage. And, stories are incredibly powerful because they prompt action, which is why big, successful businesses use stories to sell their products and services.
Far removed from the days of shouting one-dimensional marketing messages into the faces of anyone who is prepared to listen, shrewd brands now know that, by appealing to our natural urge and passion for stories, they can connect with consumers on a much deeper level. Those kinds of connections allow companies to enhance their image and expose people to what they’re selling on a more meaningful level. But, how do they go about this? And more importantly, what can you learn from corporate storytelling that’ll help you earn extra money as a writer?
At the heart of all this is a comprehensive understanding of your audience. Corporations such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and such know exactly what their target market likes and dislikes. They know the seemingly insignificant details, too, such as demographical information. This allows them to segment their audience effectively so that they can construct accurate stories that resonate even more.
Put in some detective work.
No matter what the nature of your freelance job is, it’s important to know as much about your target audience as possible. The more details you have about your potential readers, the better. Ideally, this means understanding your readers’ fears and desires. It also requires an overview of your reader persona. Is your ideal customer a man or a woman? Are they young or old? Do they speak formally or informally?
The answers to these questions will help you shape your story, and essentially respond with language that’s both familiar and comforting to the consumer. In a nutshell, the better prepared you are, the better copy you’ll create.
Understand human psychology.
It’s funny. We’re all individuals but, actually, the human brain is pretty predictable. People tend to react in certain ways when confronted with particular phrases, colors, and images. You see, a story is made up of a number of components. It’s not just about words.
Knowing what makes people tick is a huge skill when it comes to penning persuasive business copy. Many brands manipulate the way we think about the items they sell all the time. Sometimes, you might not even notice what they’re doing. But behind the scenes, there’s usually a team of copywriters, marketers, and brand experts who are cleverly shifting around commas and silently convincing us into feeling something.
You can do the same. When creating a story for your audience, always focus on trying to leverage their emotions. Why? Because, frankly, emotion sells.
Always remain honest and authentic.
There are many different types of marketing but, when all’s said and done, people always buy from people. Therefore, your writing must convey trust and integrity. A common mistake among entrepreneurs is to act and speak like someone else. Either someone they aspire to or someone that they think the consumer wants to hear. The trouble is, people aren’t stupid. They resent insincerity and they’re much more likely to respond positively to an entrepreneur that is communicating in a normal, everyday way than someone who’s putting on a show.
Choosing the right words is only half the battle.
The fact is, people only tend to read 20% of content on a web page and there’s actually a lot of science behind the way we read copy. Technology is great but it’s made us lazy and, as a freelance writer, your primary role is to keep people hanging around as long as possible. Quite simply, having a great story is your best chance of achieving that. Just make sure that your story is a good fit for the reader…
- Historical Fiction vs. History: Your Story of the Past Depends on Your Future Choice By James Rada, Jr.
- A REAL GHOST STORY! By Scott Rose
- Go Back to School to Sell Your Story By Eric D. Goodman
- Can Your Life Story Become a Novel? By Judith Laura
- How to Novelize Your Life Story or Family History By Pauline Reckentin
Matt Press is an experienced copywriter who has written words for some of the UK’s biggest brands, such as Sky, Three and Vodafone. He now helps freelance writers find work.