The Moral of the Story is...Use Stories to SellBy: Lisa Lake
Every story has an emotional response to elicit. When campers are sitting around a fire in the dark woods, they tell stories that generate fear and excitement; stories about psychotic killers with hooks for hands, and teenagers who pick up strange hitchhikers.
When women have lunch with their girlfriends, they tell amusing stories about their husbands and boyfriends to relate to each other. And when you tell a story on your website, in an article, or even in an ad, you are letting people know that, "this product, service, or business opportunity worked for other real live people, so it could work for you, too!"
People don't remember statistics, but they have a special storage compartment in their brains for stories. Stories are an innate part of human beings. As long as there have been people, there have been stories. They are a part of every culture that is or ever was, ranging from writing on walls, to oral traditions, to dramatic plays, to the modern novel. Stories capture our hearts and imaginations, so we tend to pay more attention to them than we would, say, hard-sell ads.
Consider how often you leave the room during commercials, as opposed to how often you leave during Friends or E.R. Maybe the difference is no more than the mode of presentation. If commercials were 30 minutes long and told a story, maybe we wouldn't lunge for the remote or leave the room when they came on.
I'm kidding about the 30 minute commercial, but I'm not kidding about using stories to sell. Let's talk about how you can use stories in your own copy to keep people's attention, build trust and credibility, and, most importantly, sell.
After reading a fair number of popular novels, you may begin to notice a pattern in how the protagonists of the story develop. Although you aren't writing a novel for your website, ad, or article, you can use this same process of development in your stories to help you sell.
Let's take a closer look at character development in popular writing and see what we can incorporate into our own stories, to increase sales and build credibility:
I remember a woman who owned a big string of electronics stores in the Southwest. Everyone in town knew the story about her first arriving in the area, with only $300 in her pocket to start her first store.
One day I had a chance to ask the entrepreneur about this story. "Gosh no," she laughed. "I don't know where that story comes from. I started my business with a mountain of market research and plenty of investment money."
The moral of this story is, follow the character development patterns used by popular novelists. Using these techniques, writers keep people involved in a story for hundreds of pages. You will certainly be able to draw readers in and keep their attention for a few paragraphs.
© 2002 Lisa Lake
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.