Auntie Helen was my babysitter. Not really my aunt, though. In her 60’s she was white-haired 5’10” British woman with perfect posture and manners, raised in India in the early 20th century. She had many tales to tell me.
And there were stories she didn’t tell me. Like the time she tried killing her husband by throwing a knife at him – missing him by an inch. I found that one out years later from my mom. Hmm. (Thanks, mom. You hired an almost murderess to take care of me?)
Auntie Helen loved reading. When I was sick and staying home from school, I didn’t get to watch TV. Nope. She read to me for hours. All the childrens’ classics mixed in with fairy tales from around the world.
Now, decades later, I still listen to stories on my iPad when I can’t sleep at night. They’re soothing.
Humans love stories. We learn life lessons; we see how others solve problems. We find common ground with one anther through stories.
We remember stories and share them, sometimes telling them over and over.
Stories can be fiction or real. Facts are valuable and they have value in marketing. They can be memorized and recited. Statistics for sales and client engagement are useful pieces of data in your planning.
Yet, as valuable as the information is, it’s not as meaningful without a story behind it. Why is that? Stories link facts to a framework and perspective. Stories bring the colour and emotion.
We are all storytellers and storywriters
We communicate in stories. Big or small. Dramatic or boring. We tell about life events through stories. In fact, we’re so used to using them we don’t always notice them.
A story is a structure. It’s a formula. The same structure has been used since humans drew pictures on cave walls.
There’s a beginning, middle and end.
There’s a main character and a goal; there are obstacles to achieving the goal. And, there’s a resolution (sometimes good, sometimes not so good).
Stories use emotions provoke a response in the reader: curiosity, fear, hurt, pain, loss, joy, happiness, relief as a few examples. Stories use an emotional rollercoaster as the main character navigates the challenges.
Stories tell and show at the same time.
This is why they’re so valuable in your content for your blogs, articles, emails, videos, and social media postings.
Humans are emotional, and advertising copy needs to appeal to both emotions and logic.
Stories you need to build your business
- First, you need to know your client’s story.
In self-development and life coaching or counselling, your clients are looking to change ‘something’ in their lives to get something other than they have. They might want to be healthier, sexier, smarter, richer, happier…. y
When you know their story, you can write your copy materials to echo their desires and experiences.
Before you begin, you need to get your audience clearly in your mind:
- What are their worries and fears?
- What do they desire and dream of?
- Why do they need you?
When you can answer these questions, you have the beginning of their story. You have insight into their needs that is deeper than just your professional training.
You see them as another human being on a journey to find ‘something’ you can provide.
2. Second, you need to know your story – your backstory.
Have you developed your backstory in your marketing strategy? It’s important to have this in your marketing strategy. Here’s why.
When your story is shared, clients are able to relate to you in a meaningful way.
Your backstory is personal. It highlights an event in your life that changed something for you. Think about your life’s journey that brought you to where you are today. What happened? Tell the story.
This is especially relevant in the self-improvement industry; personal growth is all about change.
Your backstory will separate you from your competition. It shows your personality, your attitude and makes you relatable.
Remember, your clients need to relate to you in order to choose you. Bit’s not always about how good you are at your job. That can come. First, they have to choose to work with you
By sharing your story, they can discover what you have in common in experience or belief. You become human to them, not just another subject line on the internet.
Stories you write for your clients
Now you’ve worked on understanding your client’s story and you‘ve got your backstory. What stories can your write about your service to:
- let clients remember you
- want to work with you
- and refer you to their friends
Stories are used in advertising all the time. Usually, because they address a universal need. A human need.
Two classic and timeless examples.
There’s a famous advertising story about a young man learning to play the piano to impress his friends.
He’s kind of an outsider and a little awkward. He wants to change. He takes piano lessons. Then, one night at a party he sits down to play – and VOILA! His friends, instead of laughing at him, are surprised and impressed. He’s proud of his new talent, and life goes on.
It’s not complicated. It’s simple. The need is to be valued.
Another famous story is the story of two men who grew up together.
They lead similar lives in the beginning and have the same opportunities. As life goes on one became more successful than the other. One action distinguishes the two men.
The answer as to why that happened is in the story. The story touches on the human fear of failure and shows (doesn’t tell) the benefits of the product.
Throughout the story, the readers can recognize parts of themselves in both men. It’s a human tale of success or failure.
Stories help the client identify more intimately with the benefits of the product. It’s a gentle sell, not a hard edge.
If the storyline is familiar to the reader, and highlights success despite challenges, the reader is drawn in. They’re more able to identify with the story.
They can imagine themselves in the story and becoming successful.
Now to get started
If you like, you can do this on your own or a copywriter can help you.
Copywriters can specialize in creating and writing marketing material. If you need some help doing this, you can work with a freelancer or an agency.
Not only can they bring your stories to life; they are professional and objective about you.
That objectivity is helpful if you’re struggling with your backstory. Sometimes people can’t see their story until someone shows it to them.
Stories spark the imagination. That’s the start of growth and transformation.
And that’s the heart of the self-improvement world. So, take some time to find your stories and write them. Not just for yourself, but for your clients. They’ll love reading them.