One of my various ghostwriting services is telling the story of a company, product or service on its website. Too many company website product or service pages don’t tell the story of how the person reading the page will benefit from using that product or service. I have visited hundreds of small-business websites, and I’d say easily 98% of them don’t tell an emotionally coherent story.
Storytelling, especially when emotion comes into play, livens up the copy and makes it more readable. It takes the audience on a journey from the times before the product or service to the promised land of a better life by using the product or service — very important in business writing. As a result, the reader remains engaged, stays on the page longer, reads and understands more details about the products or services, and is more likely to heed the call to action.
What people and businesses are missing is that human element. To simply describe the features and benefits of a product or service misses out on the profound stories behind them that instill a sense of purpose and meaning behind the products and services. And since a Harvard professor found that 98% of purchasing decisions are based on emotion, ignoring the human element that is inherent in storytelling severely hurts a company’s chances of selling more of that product or service.
Researchers Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn proved the value of storytelling by listing 200 insignificant items on eBay and having short heartfelt stories written about each item in the description section. Combined, each item averaged $1.25 in value, or $250 in total. They sold for nearly $8,000, or 3,100% of their value.
Here’s some more: research by cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner shows that stories are 22 times more memorable than facts. A Nielsen study shows our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than by cold, hard facts. The brain processes images 60 times faster, so when we read a story, not only do the language parts of our brains light up, but so do the parts of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we’re reading about. This means it’s far easier for us to remember stories than hard facts.
So, I recommend that you write (or have your ghostwriter write ) about each product or service using the following format:
- Set the scene. Establish the status quo or “the way things were” for your target customer or client.
- Introduce the problem. Describe the problem that called for the need for this product or service.
- Arrive at a solution. Share details of how this product or service is pursuing its purpose.
- Envision what’s next. Paint a picture of the life the client now enjoys because they’ve used this product and service.
This might sound long, but you only need one sentence per part. That’s four sentences.
The same four steps apply to any business book. Take, for example, one book I ghostwrote, “The Post-COVID Marketing Machine.”
- Set the scene. COVID happened.
- Introduce the problem. COVID caused a lot of problems with various businesses and industries.
- Arrive at a solution. The solutions set forth in the book help these businesses and industries cope, survive, and thrive.
- Envision what’s next. The businesses and industries will be ready when COVID ends.
Remember that good storytelling can turn a product, service, or book into a brand or legacy, create a strong and effective marketing strategy, generate profit and win the loyalty and affection of audiences.
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