There’s no doubt that those who master the great storytelling secrets can spellbind an audience. These secrets can have your audience sitting on the edge of their seats as your heroine dangles at the end of her rope…
In business, a story well told can help you attract, captivate and motivate your ideal audience to follow, engage with and buy from you.
It’s true more than ever in today’s world of ever more stimuli clamoring for attention. If you want gain and keep your ideal customer’s attention, you may not need to be a Stephen Spielberg or Tom Clancy…
But the better your story, the farther — and “stickier” your reach.
To help you do that, in this post let’s go on a virtual tour to find out what really good storytellers do, and how they do it, in their own words.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Here are seven great storytellers. Under each video you’ll find what I got out of each talk.
Don’t worry about trying to digest all of this wisdom all at once — pick one big takeaway, put it to work and come back often, or whenever you’re ready to take your storytelling to the next level!
Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories
Takeaway: Your story’s hero (your customer) has great swings of fortune. He can be riding high one moment, and then come crashing down into despair. And just when things look their bleakest, they find a solution (with your help, of course), and things start looking up again.
Malcom Gladwell Casts New Light on David & Goliath
Takeaway: Things aren’t always what they seem. By taking a closer look at the details, you may reach a surprising conclusion. And that could open up a whole new market or way of selling to your existing market you never saw before.
J Peterman on “Romancing” Your Products
Takeaway: It’s not about the product… It’s how you “romance” it that creates value.
Seth Godin on Storytelling as Caring
Takeaway: It’s how much you care that counts.
How to Write a Story
Nothing happens until you start — velcro your butt to the chair and start writing. Oh, and one more thing… To make the story compelling, terrible things must happen to your hero.
The Hero’s Journey — A Timeless Tale
Joseph Campbell showed us the arc that all great stories follow — from Star Wars to Peter Pan to the Wizard of Oz to Lord of the Rings and on and on… Just be sure as an entrepreneur that in your storytelling your customer is the hero and you are the guide. Be Yoda to his Luke.
Clues to a Great Story
Great storytelling has rules. Break them when you see a better way.
Okay, you say, that’s all fine and dandy… but does storytelling really work in the hard cold world of advertising and marketing?
Here a few examples, starting with…
A Tale of Two Men
This one ad by copywriter Martin Conroy sold over $2 billion worth of subscriptions for the Wall Street Journal.
The greatest Superbowl ad that wasn’t supposed to be aired
Contrary to Steve Jobs’ wishes, Apple’s board nixed airing this commercial during the 1984 Superbowl. But somehow it slipped through the cracks, and the rest, as they say, is history. Note the powerful story it tells almost entirely through imagery alone.
And finally, let’s take a look at the ad that brought in more revenue — in the hundreds of millions by some accounts I’ve heard — for it’s publisher not more than a decade ago:
The End of America
Note how this video wraps the viewer into the story. You feel you’re part of a great drama unfolding as the narrator (Porter Stansberry) describes the crumbling of your world around you. And note the way the images and video support the copy in this excellent example of visual storytelling, as taught in some of the best copywriting courses.
Powerful — and worth studying for it’s many storytelling secrets.
Your Single Greatest Challenge?
I hope this post gives you a few ideas to use next time you sit down to write an ad, marketing email, sales page, or any other form of persuasive storytelling.
Which brings up the question: When it comes to telling a compelling story for your business, what’s the single greatest challenge that you’re struggling with right now?
Post it in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help you take it to the next level!