Once upon a time, in those already distant and heady days of summer, a long-time copywriter took an early train to London to learn the art of a different kind of wordplay. This time her words would not be constrained to the page, penned into neat paragraphs and tidy headers. They would be allowed to break out into the world, wild and free, shared through the ancient art of oral storytelling.
That copywriter was me, and whilst I wasn’t on the course in a work context, storytelling is also a big part of successful copywriting. People think in stories and narratives, they help grab and hold attention, and they linger far longer in the mind than simple facts and figures. Stories are how we make sense of the world – meaningless sequences are replaced by millions of mini narratives, which either meet or deviate from expectations. And stories stick, often effortlessly, whereas memorising individual facts is difficult, even when actively trying.
Stories connect people, capture their imaginations and make them want to be involved. One tip for verbal storytelling, pitching or presenting is to practice endlessly but never memorise. Seeing pictures in your mind rather than reciting helps keep your story fresh and engaging. Even with writing, if you can tell your story out loud from beginning to end and back again, it will help you crystallise its main message and focus on the parts that really matter.
But telling is only one way to share your story. Some companies manage to embody their brand story entirely – Red Bull being a fantastic example. Nike recognises the need for brand stories to such an extent that its senior executives each have the title “Corporate Storyteller”. What’s your company’s story? Share it and you’ll find a whole new level of connection with your readers – and potentially a level of commitment over and above just buying your products. Then you’ll live happily ever after.
Except it’s not really, really “The End”. Because we thought you might also like to know how copywriters are experts on anything and everything. Spoiler alert: it involves red capes and rings of power.