“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” Philip Pullman
As a child, were you read to at bedtime? As a parent, did you (do you or will you) read to your kids?
Educational psychologists tell us that the routine of bedtime stories is key to developing reading and listening skills. They also say it’s crucial for the parent-child bonding process. This, of course, isn’t news. How emotionally reassuring it must be for a child to snuggle up with Mum or Dad and allow the warm words of a well-worn tale to wash over them. And of course, it’s just as rewarding for the parents.
It's all about bonding
So, why not apply the same bonding technique with your clients? No, I’m not suggesting you wrap them in a Thomas The Tank Engine duvet and regale them tales of the Winnie The Pooh. But, if you want to engage them with your blog copy and newsletters, adopting story-telling techniques can be strikingly effective.
Using stories in your copywriting doesn’t mean you have to create them in the conventional sense with a beginning, a middle and an end. A great story can be told in a single sentence.
How about this - from the Daddy of all Copywriting Daddies - David Ogilvy?
He was commissioned by Rolls Royce to come up with advertising copy for the latest luxury model. To engage his readers, he knew he had to entice them with a great headline. What was he to focus on? The engine size, the horse power, the ergonomically designed seats? Nope. He picked out one of the tiniest, perhaps least significant parts of the luxury car - the clock - and worked his magic:
At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in the Silver Shadow comes from the electric clock.
Ogilvy could have tried one of these -
The Rolls-Royce is the quietest car I’ve ever driven.
The decibel level of the Rolls-Royce at 60 miles an hour is lower than any other car at 60 miles an hour.
The Rolls-Royce allows you to go fast and still hear yourself think.
But no - he pulled us into the ad with finesse of which F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Heller and Salman Rushdie, would all have been proud.
Why those three? Because each of them, prior to becoming best-selling novelists, started out as copywriters.
Drop your reader into the story
And just one tip - if you’re going to use the story telling technique, you don't have to write in the first person, as in -
I was driving down the street at 35 mph and a child walked out in front of the car.
Try replacing yourself with your reader. Put them into the centre of the story -
It’s a sunny evening. You’re driving home from work - only a fraction over the speed limit. You can almost taste that first sip of gin and tonic. Without warning, a child steps out …
So there we have it.
Grab you readers by the emotions and you'll keep them forever.
And tomorrow’s penultimate Advent Calendar Tip?
Enjoy all the previous 22 tips rolled into one blog.
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Till the next time.