Creating your story

Writing decent copy is a key skill of the small business owner.

It’s important when writing copy to think of who you’re addressing – and write directly to them taking into account the ideas about how they are likely to think and feel.

How you express yourself will depend on the medium. So when writing press releases they need to be kept short and factual with the key messages up front.  If you are writing an email it needs to be short and punchy. If you are writing a direct mail piece it can be much longer – still use powerful headlines and benefits with the key messages at the beginning and end but salted throughout with triggers. Cialdini in his book on influence identifies some key determinants of behaviour. Authority, Social Proof (hence the value of testimonials) Contrast, Consistency, Reciprocation (hence the power of the free gift) the seductiveness of the forbidden, time limits, scarcity etc.

Good copywriting makes use of all of these while being succinct, punchy, colourful and easy to read.

Developing the Story

Your story is how you are going to make an initial emotional contact with your customer. You need to have something that marries your vision of what your business is about with a burning need that the client has that they can’t get fixed any other way.  As you will see its largely about appealing to their emotions and values while having enough factual material around to demonstrate that you are competent at what you do.

One way of tackling this is to thing about what your values and needs are and theirs. If you take the trouble to build it into a formal structure, it may be that the beginnings of a narrative start to appear spontaneously.

Now try this exercise. If you focus on your needs and values and those of the customers you can see if any narrative immediately drops out of the analysis.

Story planner

Story Creation Tool

So have a go at this now. As an example I once used this with a building firm. It turned out that both they and their customers wanted a good job done on time with out too much commercial argy-bargy

So their story evolved from the idea of traditional values in the modern world.  This for them was quite powerful.

We have a whole process we can take you through. You can access it by

Buying the e-book

Coming to the workshop

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