Is the art of story telling dead?
You might think so if you are looking for a stock photo of a story teller. But it just isn’t so. Andrew Draughon, Director of Content at Elite Marketing Pro, tells you how to make story telling real and real profitable in your business, in today’s blog.
Read on to learn how to become a masterful story teller and make money doing it.
There’s a boatload of dough to be made through the timeless art of spinnin’ a proverbial yarn.
Don’t believe it?
Hey, people still line up in droves to see stories on the silver screen.
In fact, did you know that total box office revenue in 2016 was $11.3 billion, domestically?
Likewise, 2.71 billion books were sold in 2016.
So yeah, people still read.
And don’t even get me started on how much TV people watch.
…which averages over 5 hours every single day in the U.S., in case you were curious.
So here’s the bottom line:
No matter how much technology evolves, people will always seek out new stories.
People are willing to PAY to consume compelling stories.
And guess what?
The same rules apply to you and your prospects.
After all, selling is nothing more than storytelling.
…where the moral is, “Buy my stuff!” of course! 😉
Don’t worry if this sounds outside your wheelhouse, because…
Everyone has a story to sell!
Don’t blame you.
But think about it…
Think about the brands that you choose to support.
Take a moment to ponder the products you use day-in and day-out (often for decades).
The car in your garage?
There’s a story there.
Are you a Chevy, Ford, or maybe Dodge person?
Or maybe you drive Japanese or European wheels?
Your choice was intentional, no?
The tube of toothpaste in your medicine cabinet?
Yeah, there’s a story there too.
How many years have you been buying the exact same soap, toilet paper, or deodorant?
Well, I know I haven’t changed my preferences in YEARS.
So here’s the dealio…
All brands have a story, including yours.
And you know what?
People love stories.
People love hearing them.
And your prospects will love hearing yours, too.
Why storytelling (still) matters to modern marketers
Okay, so what does all of this have to do with marketing your business?
Let me ask you something…
Would it pique your interest to know that I used to work a downright miserable construction job and learned Internet marketing as a way to escape the utter misery that was my life and get going down another (climate controlled, Porta-Potty free, pants optional) path?
There might be a few good stories in there, right?
Same goes for all team members here at Elite Marketing Pro—despite diverse backgrounds, we all wanted something different from our lives.
And here’s the real thread that ties these narratives together…
Humans relate to stories, especially those of struggle.
Always have and they always will.
Storytelling not only creates an emotional connection between you and your prospects, but also gives them for a reason to get emotionally invested in you.
In an era of incredibly crowded competition…
Telling your story will immediately set you apart from the pack
Storytelling is a subtle but invaluable skill for any and every marketer, (regardless of the industry) because without a compelling story, your brand is ultimately forgettable.
So if you want to survive in the saturated world of modern marketing, you’re going to need to figure out how to tell your story sooner rather than later.
Because if you’re a strong storyteller, people WILL listen to you.
And ultimately buy from you.
However, very few of us are “natural-born” storytellers.
And that’s a-okay.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize winner to find your voice or make your story work.
In fact, telling your story is pretty simple, once you know a few key formulas.
You don’t have to be Hemingway
I know, I know…
It seems like movie studios, authors, and brands alike have made billions through the art of storytelling; therefore, it must be pretty complicated and specialized, right?
Surely it can’t be learned without years of practice?
Here’s the thing, though:
You can tell (and sell) a pretty decent story without a creative bone in your body.
Well, okay…maybe that’s a bit of a stretch:
A little bit of creativity can go a long way, it’s true.
Connie’s two cents worth: You are made in God’s image and God is creative. You do have a creative bone in your body. Haven’t found it yet? Message me and let’s have a conversation. I’ll bet you with a few answers to my questions you will discover your creative bone. Message me.
That being said, if you can string a couple sentences together, chances are you have the chops to tell a compelling story that can and will effectively sell your prospects.
Think about it for a sec…
Have you ever…
- Lost something?
- Felt frustrated or hopeless?
- Made a change, unsure of how it would go?
- Overcome an obstacle or solved a problem in your adult life?
Then you have a story, period.
Then the question remains:
How are you going to go about telling it?
Understanding the “shapes” of stories
Perhaps the first step to telling your story is to stop thinking of storytelling as a “creative process” and start thinking of storytelling as a science.
You know, science as in formulas you can follow, and repeat, which produce quantifiable results.
In fact, that’s exactly what the late, great Kurt Vonnegut suggested to readers and writers like.
Vonnegut proposed that the most popular stories throughout time could be adapted into relatively simple “arcs.”
Simply put, Vonnegut noted that stories were essentially “shapes,” (think: like a curve on an X/Y axis) each with their varying ups and downs as the plot progresses.
The highest points on the curve represent wealth and happiness; meanwhile, the lowest points represent poverty, loss and defeat.
Here’s the quick version:
There are quite a few such arcs (look ’em up if you’re curious).
But the three most relevant examples for marketers include the following:
- Man in Hole – In this story arc, a seemingly ordinary main character falls into a bad situation and eventually gets themselves out of it, learning a thing or two along the way.
- Boy Meets Girl – Often applied to romance stories, our character stumbles upon something (or someone) that changes their lives, acquires it, loses it and finally gets it back for good.
- The Cinderella Story – This arc sees our character experience a meteoric rise in status followed by a dramatic drop, but ultimately ending in a happily-ever-after scenario.
These storytelling strategies have been tried and tested for centuries, millennia even.
They work flawlessly whether you’re looking to tug at the heartstrings of an audience or simply make it appear as if you’ve been through hell and back.
Best of all, each of these arcs can be applied beautifully to any marketing strategy without fail.
Choosing your story
If you’re still sitting there thinking that you don’t have a story to tell, fear not.
You don’t have to hit rock bottom to tell a powerful story, nor do you have to pretend that you know some “billion-dollar” secret for the sake of grabbing your prospects’ attention.
For example, take my own “Man in Hole” example from earlier.
Almost every entrepreneur I’ve ever met has as “origin story” revolving around starting off at a soul-crushing 9-to-5 and ending up where they are today.
These sorts of “rags to riches” stories can be found just about everywhere in many different shapes and forms.
- Oprah Winfrey was born into poverty prior to becoming a billionaire. Extreme example, sure, but compelling nonetheless.
- Steve Jobs dropped out of college to found Apple; however, he essentially lost control of his own company prior to the eventual “i-Renaissance” that reestablished his legacy.
Even if you don’t consider yourself much of a sports fan, year after year “Cinderella stories” make headlines as underdog teams beat out their established competitors.
Remember that time Clemson beat ‘Bama?
People eat these stories up.
Each of these real-world examples follows Vonnegut’s shapes to a “T.”
Maybe your brand is an unlikely hero.
Or perhaps you’ve hit some bumps in the road on your journey as a marketer…
Maybe you’ve lost money.
Maybe you tried a few things and failed.
You’ve got some solid material.
Now use it.
People will relate, believe me.
Three things every story needs
If you have your story in mind, don’t start writing just yet.
Although you don’t have to be as prolific as Stephen King to tell you story, there are three elements every effective story implements, without fail…
Just as your audience is blasted with marketing messages day-in and day-out, your prospects can easily become blind to hearing the same stories again and again.
Therefore, you need to do everything in your power to make sure that your story packs a punch from the word “go.”
Whether it’s imagery of piling bills and no money in your bank account or the life of luxury you hope to promote to your audience, you should strive to paint a vivid picture first and foremost.
Throw them right into your story and don’t waste their time.
Give this a read:
Think about your audience and their struggles.
What keeps them up at night?
What holds them back from accomplishing their goals?
- Is it money?
- Lack of focus?
Your story should touch on such pain points to not only make yourself seem more human, but also let your audience know that you understand them.
Remember: while this may be your story, don’t forget what’s most important is the journey of your readers.
Every story has a climax.
That is, the highest point of tension that leads to the turning the point where everything changes.
Ideally, the turning point in your story should be your offer (whatever you’re selling), leaving your readers hungry for more.
It’s easy to get caught up in the storytelling process; however, it’s crucial to insert your product or service as the solution to the problems you present, as the means of actually selling via your story.
A word of warning…
Regardless of what direction you go with your tale, make sure that your story has a purpose.
Bear in mind that your story shouldn’t be fluff or hype, nor should it be an excuse to whine.
Nobody wants to hear that.
Likewise, droning on and on without a clear purpose will turn your readers off.
But always remember this…
You shouldn’t offer up a story that’s free of tension.
For example, I’m much more likely to listen to the guy who dug himself out of a hole versus the guy who’s never worked a day in his life.
While you don’t necessarily have to tug at the heartstrings as your audience (don’t take ’em too low)…
You must take your readers on a journey
Help them understand how you got from “Point A” to “Point B” and take them along for the ride.
The purpose of your story should be to entice your readers to know more about your brand and product whilst simultaneously keeping them on the edge of their seats.
But most importantly, your stories should serve to make you and your offer more attractive to your prospects.
Vonnegut recognized that writers could use these timeless shapes of compelling stories to quickly craft their own.
Thankfully, you can do the same and instantly create a real emotional connection with your prospects.
…a connection which will not only set you apart from the competition, but will also allow you to create a legion of followers that actually look forward to hearing from you.
And the more they hear from you, the more likely that are to buy from you.
Over and over again.
So, now you know the process for telling your story.
Need help finding and growing your audience?
Because successful selling is all about putting your story in front of the right audience, with shared struggles and interests, so they’ll actually want to stick around and hear you out.
You know, so you’re not trying to sell steak to a vegetarian, so to speak.
So if you’re ready to zero in on how to grow an audience that’s predisposed to be captivated by your story…
Tim Erway, our fearless leader and CEO here at Elite Marketing Pro, put together a point-for-point tutorial revealing our exact advertising process in a 100% FREE traffic workshop.
In just over an hour, you’ll discover how you can put together a profitable ad campaign in just 10 minutes a day with as little as $10 in initial ad spend.
We’ve used the exact formula to turn a $10 test campaign into $141,246.30 in sales.
Tim will show exactly how we did it, so you can put your story in front of the perfect audience, every time.
So if you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?
Until next time,
Director of Content
Elite Marketing Pro