Use Your Real Life Events to Create Marketing Messages With Sizzle
If you are like me, sometimes you struggle to come up with interesting story ideas for your blog posts, emails, and social media posts.
Whenever I’m drawing a blank, I inevitably revert to story telling mode. But my stories are perhaps a little different. I create stories around everyday events in my life. Then I segue them into a business point with a call to action.
So for this post, I’m going to show how I do it and why you should do it too.
Although I haven’t yet introduced the technique to this new blog, you can see plenty of examples via my original blog. Further, after visiting that blog, if you opt into my list you will receive marketing-related emails from me. Then you’ll be able to experience the technique in all its glory.
On with the show.
Why You Should Use This Strategy In Your Blogging and For Your Other Messaging Activities
Please don’t look at this strategy as ‘filler’ in the absence of other ‘real’ content ideas. This approach works fine in its own right. In some respects, it represents the ultimate way to make a point and move people from being disinterested bystanders, to engaged participants who are eager to take action.
This technique works well because it will help draw people closer to you which is surely a worthy objective. It’s especially true if your business revolves around you. In other words, you’re building your personal brand. Therefore, it’s important that you involve readers in your life to some extent.
Why Small Stories Are Often the Best Stories
Some of the most enjoyable movies I’ve watched are small films. Small budget flicks based on a small story line, with great actors who squeeze every dramatic moment from each short scene. Absorbing stuff.
Script writers are expert at fashioning the ‘less is more’ narrative. Often the small scenes with minimal dialogue, are stronger than the big ones. The subtle moments showing two actors
Twenty years ago a mentor of mine said this: ‘the small stories are the best stories. Simply put, take the truth and package it into something powerful.
Some people call the type of stories I use ‘slice of life’ stories. These stories work well if for no other reason than relatability. People relate because they’ve experienced something similar themselves in their small lives.
You can do the same thing. All you have to do is choose a familiar story, add some zest, then link it to a business getting point, which would always include a call to action for your current offer.
Your Small Life – Not As Small As You Think
Ok, I get it. You lead a tiny life. So do I. Some people who know me may say otherwise. After all, I’m a digital nomad who has spent the last two years living in foreign countries (Asia) and doing some amazing things.
But the reality is that on a day to day basis I’m just like you. I have my routines, and I grind things out in my business. I do small things.
Despite this, a day rarely passes when I don’t ‘see’ a story idea for my business.
Let me give you some examples:
Three weeks ago I moved into a new apartment here in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I chose the apartment at the back of the building figuring it would be quiet as it was well away from the street. How wrong I was.
What I didn’t notice was that the building backs onto a karaoke bar. The first night I moved in I was made well aware of it with some loud music blasting into my living room. So I wrote a story with this heading: Karaoke No Jokey Turns Me Into Narky Blokey.
Crazy headline, yeah?
Sure. But it’s that kind of headline that helps to ensure that people read your blog posts and open your emails.
At this point, you’re probably thinking ‘what’s a story like that got to do with selling stuff?’ That’s a valid question and here is my answer. The opening story doesn’t necessarily need to be about business. It could be about anything interesting, providing that you can effectively transition from the story to your business message. That’s all that matters.
Majoring in Minors
You can develop great stories from seemingly unimportant events that probably happen to you every day. I’m talking about events such as:
- After a disagreement with your spouse, you can show how you negotiated a ‘settlement’ that both of you saw as a win/win. Use the story as a metaphor for a marketing related business point you want to make.
- Your kid was naughty but rather than use force to punish him, you quizzed him and got to the cause of the problem, and offered a solution (problem-solving metaphor).
- You went to the gym for your daily workout and met this old guy who talked about his stint in Vietnam during the conflict in the late 60’s. He spoke about his fear of dying and how he overcame it (a metaphor about courage)
- You went to a social gathering and met an eccentric person who had you laughing your head off within a minute of meeting her. She shared her life story including how she came back from the brink of insanity and went on to become a best-selling author (a metaphor for persistence and creativity).
How to Segue From Your Slice of Life Story to a Potent Business Message
Rather than go for an in-depth tutorial on how to do it I think it’s best to give you a couple of examples of how I do it.
Check this one
Example 1. A Non-Linked Story (Email)
This is a copy of an email I sent to my list. I haven’t developed this one into a blog post, but it gives you an idea of the technique in action. This particular email did not link to a business point. I only told the story and went directly to the offer
Headline: That Was the Week That Was – I Feel Like a Beer
Body Copy Showing the Crossover:
It’s hot here, and a brief thought that flickered through my reptile like brain was ‘Mmm, a beer would be nice’.
It’s Friday afternoon so will hold off till I go out tonite for a bowl of pasta.
Besides, I wanted to get this 17-minute video to you.
There are two sections:
1. What People are Saying About blah blah. Yes, they’re excited about it.
2. How Quickly Will You Make Money? Quicker than you think – I explain why. I also touch on the topic of traffic and leads – my dead easy way to get ’em flowing.
Watch it Here
If you haven’t looked already, do it now – go straight to the main presentation. Here it is:
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Get into the game with me. I’ll be here to help ya.
P.S. You’ve got a short window of opportunity with this one. Opportunity favors the daring. Kick the tires and get your free account here:
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Example 2. A Linked Story (email)
Goodness, two stories in a row about alcohol. But it’s not what you think. This story is about a movie I watched and loved – called Sideways. The potent message from this film had a dramatic and adverse effect on the sale of a particular type of red wine, merlot. So this is a marketing related story which I segued into a business point.
You can easily use this technique. If you see a good movie or TV show. Write about it then figure out a way you can link it your business message and offer.
Headline: I’m Not Drinking Any Farcking Merlot!
Body Copy Showing the Crossover:
One of the funniest scenes in the wine obsessed 2004 movie, Sideways, was when wine buff Paul Giamatti uttered the fateful words ‘I’m not drinking any fucking Merlot’, in response to an invitation to drink the vile red stuff.
Yes, I hesitated to include the F word in all its glory but somehow think that to omit it would neuter this little story.
Although the movie was a cult movie the impact those words had on the sale of Merlot was immense. Sales dropped by more than half within months, and it’s only now, all these years later, that sales have finally recovered.
So what’s the point of this story?
Well, it gives further weight to my recent email when I talked about the power of stories to move people. Think about it – just six words uttered in jest in a small budget movie, brought an entire industry to its knees.
You can read my blog post on the topic of storytelling here:
How to Engage and Persuade Through Potent Storytelling
Because this is such a vital skill to master, soon I will be commencing work on a new training on this topic. Look out for it.
Of course, great storytelling is just one of the topics we could cover in my 20 Minutes With Kimbo free consultation offer.
The offer closes in 2 days, no extensions.
Example 3. A Linked Story (blog post)
Headline: The Bangkok Blahs (Bored Out Of My Brain In One Of The World’s Most Exciting Cities.)
Body Copy Showing the Crossover to the Business Message:
I’m not going to reproduce the entire post here. If you want to read the full thing, click here
But before you look at the crossover, I need to set the scene for you:
The early part of the post was about my weekend in Bangkok (I went there for visa renewal reasons). So I shared the story of how I was in one of the most exciting and hedonistic cities in the world, yet I was bored.
But things changed when I met up with a couple of business friends. So plug into the story here:
Other Examples From Other Bloggers
1). Blogging From Paradise
Ryan Biddulph is a wild and whacky travel blogger. His stories are not usually ‘everyday stories’, but he is expert at leading with a non-business story, then transitioning to the business side of things. Here is an example of one of his posts featuring the technique:
2). Peter Beckenham. Peter Beckenham is a relative newcomer to the world of blogging but already he is making his presence felt. In the example featured talks about a real life situation that happened to him. Read this entertaining post here:
3). Pete Zafra. Pete Safra sometimes uses the technique based on things he’s watched on tv. Uncovering story ideas by watching tv is a neat way to do it. Here is an example:
4). Unveil the Web. Don Purdum is a marketing consultant and helps businesses move their business to the next level. He is also an active blogger. The example featured here leads with a business oriented headline, but the story opens with an everyday experience which he then links to a business message. Here it is:
How to Get Started
Keep a small notepad in your pocket at all times. So, if you pick up the kids or do some shopping, and stumble across a story idea, quickly make a note of it (and the relevant details) before you forget about it.
Next, spend 10 minutes before the day has ended, fleshing out your story idea. A variation of this technique is to record your thoughts into your iPhone or similar device.
It’s important to do this then because you’ll be at your inspirational high point. If you leave it for a few days or even longer, the inspiration for the story may well be lost.
Please do not underestimate the role of inspiration. It acts as a spark and can take your content to a higher level.
Next, you can write your headline. Getting the headline right can be tricky and time-consuming but in essence, your headline needs to be robust enough to compel the reader to take the next step – and read the copy!
Finally, write your post taking particular care to transition effectively from the story itself to your business point.
Although there are exceptions, as a general rule you must satisfy the law of internal logic. That is, you want to demonstrate that the featured story together with the business point/pitch you want to make, stacks up logically.
Good luck with this method – I look forward to reading your stories based on everyday events in your life. Remember – your life may be small, but small stories are what people love to read.
Your Turn – Time to Comment!
What was your biggest takeout from this post?
After reading this post are there any ideas that you will now embrace?
Make a comment below!
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