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Selling Through Stories: Mining Technique from Writers

selling through stories

For a long time, I called myself a writer by trade. I made a good living; I had a wealth of bylines in fancy publications and when I told people what I did (selling through stories), they seemed to be impressed. Which was weird. Writers are cool. I went to nerd college.

Fortunately, I left that phase behind, and today, I am a marketer by profession. A significant shift, for sure, but an increasingly common one. And here’s why: Today’s customers tune out what they sense to be traditional persuasion or advertising techniques.

Which is why storytelling has become a critical part of marketing. It’s been proven to be a powerful tool across media that helps brands get the word out. Every piece of collateral presents an opportunity to use narrative to connect with customers.

Successful selling through stories

This technique grabs your target audience and gets their attention in a way a clever slogan or a headline just won’t. It reveals the soul of your product or service to the customer and clearly answers the simple question for them: “Why in the hell should I stop what I’m doing and care about this right now?”

So what, exactly makes storytelling different? It can be done in a few words, or a few thousand, just so long as it:

  • Has a narrative arc: It starts in one place and ends in another.
  • Engages the imagination: The reader has to fill in the details.
  • Focuses on human experience: Connects through shared emotions.

The average person ignores a good portion of the 5,000 branded messages she sees every day. She’s tuning out those that try to sell, and searching for the ones that resonate, that add value to her life. Those are the ones that are retained and shared.

Customers like to be advocates; they like to be the one to discover and pass along knowledge. Tap into that desire with stories that speak on their level, that can be remembered, amplified through sharing, and most importantly, that connect your brand with the people who will care most about it.

People are crazy busy, but not too busy to be distracted by good content—or even completely useless-but-hilarious content (screaming goats, anyone?) Harness that! Use narrative to engage customers’ scattered attention and pull them through a story arc they’ll want to see through the end.

When we hire writers at D Custom, we hire seasoned professionals. The only way you can become a better storyteller is by telling stories. But you can learn more about that here.