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How to Tell Stories that Sell

by Melissa Cassera
featured, money & life

It’s a scientific fact: human beings LOVE stories.

On a physiological level, our brains are wired to perk up, listen more intently, and remember details more accurately when they’re presented in the form of a story.

If you’ve ever watched a TED Talk, presidential speech, or documentary film that made you burst into tears, then you’re already familiar with the power of stories.

Once you start weaving stories into copy and content, your communication will go from “bland” to “unforgettable.” The people in your audience will become even more obsessed with you… and even more excited to buy from you!

But nobody is “born” as a “naturally amazing storyteller.” Storytelling is a skill that you have to practice and hone, just like riding a bicycle, or baking the perfect pan of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate brownies.

If you’re ready to learn some new storytelling techniques so that you can make your course sign-up pages and marketing totally binge-readable and obsess-able – yay! – follow these 5 storytelling guidelines.

Guideline #1

Perfection is boring. Perfection also triggers suspicion, because when you see someone who’s just a little too robotically perfect, like one of the Stepford Wives, you can’t help but wonder, “OK but seriously, what’s the real story here?”

As a business owner, you want to impress people and show how skilled and talented you are. But there’s a difference between “showing people what a talented, hire-able human being you are” and “showing a false image of yourself that’s a little ‘too’ polished.”

If you want people to fall in love with you, share a story about a time when you made a painful mistake, succumbed to peer pressure, or learned a big lesson the hard way. Those types of stories are so much more interesting than stories about “being perfect” and “having the most wonderful life ever with no problems at all.”

No matter what your writing goals are, CreativeLive’s Writing Week will give you the energy, instruction, and focus to achieve them. Learn more.

 Guideline #2

The point of any story is to make your audience FEEL something.

When you’re writing stories for your audience, take a moment to ask yourself: “What do I want them to feel?”

Are you telling stories—stories about yourself, stories about your work, stories about your clients and customers—that bring that particular emotion into your reader’s heart?

Think about how you want your reader/viewer/listener to FEEL, and share stories that help to create that feeling.

Guideline #3

Not every story is “right” for every audience. It’s important to consider who you’re talking to, and what your intention is with that person. As they say in the entertainment biz: “Know your audience.”

Consider who you’re talking to—their current employment status, financial reality, their hopes, dreams, goals and fears.

Share stories that will be uplifting and valuable for them to hear—NOT stories that make you seem clueless, braggy, or just “out of touch” with their needs.

Guideline #4

I tell all of my clients and students to read fiction, especially romance/erotica. The racier, sexier, and more ridiculously over-the-top… the better! (LOL. I know. I’m such a mean teacher!)

Why? Because fiction writers understand that it’s so important to include… sensory details.

When you write stories for your business audience, think about how things look, feel, smell, sound, and taste. You don’t have to turn every single sentence into a sensory smorgasbord, but try to sprinkle at least a couple of sensory details throughout your story. It makes your writing come alive.

Guideline #5

Has a friend ever said to you, “OMG! The CRAZIEST thing happened today!”

Then, they ramble on and on for 15 minutes straight. Your eyes start to glaze over with boredom until she FINALLY gets to the good part.

What a great story! Except… your friend could have just jumped right into THE GOOD PART and skipped all of the preliminary build-up.

The same thing is true when you’re writing stories for your business audience. Often, you DON’T need to start the story at the very beginning. You can skip the boring backstory and jump right into the action.

Adhere to these guidelines, your words will become much more intriguing, inspiring, and memorable, and you’ll really leave an imprint in people’s minds. Happy storytelling!

No matter what your writing goals are, CreativeLive’s Writing Week will give you the energy, instruction, and focus to achieve them. Learn more.

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Melissa Cassera

Melissa Cassera is an award-winning Business Strategist and Professional Screenwriter. She teaches entrepreneurs how to build an audience that is 100% obsessed with their work, while making every step feel like a total guilty pleasure.