Telling stories, and other promotional tactics

Telling stories can be a powerful way to attract the right kind of people.

To give an example, a while ago I did some copywriting for a law firm, and convinced them to adopt a story-based approach to their web copy because, when I was talking to them, they emphasized the stories behind their clients: refugees, survivors of abuse, victims of war, and the like. Their stories were harrowing, and the way the people behind the firm told them demonstrated just how much they cared about their work, which couldn’t adequately be portrayed by the usual “We’re a law firm working with clients from…” approach.

I’m mentioning this now for a couple of reasons:

1) The partners in the firm recently contacted me to tell me how effective the copy we worked on together has been, as it’s helped them secure more long-term funding (they work pro-bono), which makes me very happy.

2) Stories like this don’t always work. They worked for this firm because the stories — the clients — are the whole reason for the partners to start working together. They, like the people behind them, are genuine and compelling.

Before anyone — including me — tries to convince you that including stories in your copy is the way to go, think about whether that’s the best for you or your company. Are there compelling stories to be told? Is the story behind your work important? Do you have a message that needs to be heard? If nothing springs to mind, you might be better served with a different promotional approach.

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The Death Diary

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