My two sons always make things better.
They remind me what’s important.
They completely exhaust me.
But in all ways, they have a knack for improving whatever it is I’m thinking about or doing.
The perfect example was just yesterday.
There I was, furiously tapping away at the keyboard in a vain attempt to finish work on time and complete the tasks I had. I was losing, but not without a fight.
My eldest son walks in after school and as always, he makes a beeline for where I am – it doesn’t matter if I’m in a meeting or I’m on the can.
He wants to play – and who am I to refuse?
So he sees me entrenched in my work, eyes glazed over as they burn holes into the screen in front of me.
He says “Daddy? What is that called?”
He points to the target of my digital punishment – the keyboard.
I say “That’s a keyboard son. It has all the letters of the alphabet on it, so I can write stuff.”
He says “Like stories?”
I think for a second, wondering if I should try and explain the nuances of press releases, webpages and the like, but then I realise he’s kind of right.
I nod and say “Yep, I write stories on it.”
He had already left to play with his Lego.
But he had already made his point.
Copywriters are required to convey messaging.
To push through key points via words.
Is there any better way than through storytelling?
One of the best examples of this can be found in an 80s cartoon.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was one of the biggest hits of the decade, millions of kids tuned in to watch the adventures of Prince Adam, Skeletor and Orko – as well as other secondary characters that were truly unsettling – as they did battle every week.
And the cartoon was created solely to sell merchandise. Action figures. Lunchboxes. Pyjama sets. You name it, He-Man, BattleCat and the like were plastered on it without any shame.
And us 80s kids lapped it up.
Because we were invested in the story.
Marketers realised that you can reach more people by breadcrumbing a story. Little titbits of information that eventually lead to a conclusion. By getting people interested in what happens next.
By saying something that carries weight, rather than just a brand talking about how good their products/services are.
If the toy manufacturer simply put out an advert about how cool their toys were – the sales wouldn’t match up.
But tell a story and watch the bucks flow in.
Storytelling is a fundamental skill for copywriters. Facets of spinning a yarn can be applied in every format, no matter how short the piece is. Even social media, your first line can be an entrance that offers a window into a place that people want to see and get to.
Which means they’ll read the next line, or click on that link.
For press releases, you need to cascade that information so the most important points are front and centre. Then as the release progresses, you release more and more info.
For case studies, they’re already a story of sorts. You just need to show how the hero (company/brand) vanquished the sinister foe (replace sinister foe with insurmountable task that was overcome with a wonderful product or consummate professionalism and expertise).
Storytelling comes in many forms, but its potency has never dulled.
Stories are a kind of magic – they can transport us to whatever limits of the imagination we have.
So use that power to tell your readers and customers something.
Just like the bedtime stories I tell my kids each night – whisk them off to a destination in their mind.
Because everyone loves a story.
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