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4 Storytelling Formulas To Create CONTENT That SELLS

Riddle me this… What is as old as time but reborn every single day?

You can hear it, see it, smell it, taste it, feel it…

But it’s completely invisible.

It exists in every single country in the world,

yet you still take it with you everywhere

you go.

Any guesses…?

And yes, I’m sure you have guessed the riddle by now thanks to the title of this post

The answer of course is STORYTELLING.

It’s the most potent form of human communication and has been around since prehistoric times.

So yes, it’s as old as time.

Yet new stories are being told every single day.

Storytelling evokes all of your senses.

According to storytelling analyst Lisa Cron in her book, Wired For Story: the regions of the brain that process the sights, sounds, tastes, and movement of real-life are activated when we’re engrossed in a compelling narrative.

So, when a story enthralls us, we are inside

of it, feeling what the protagonist feels, and experiencing it as if it were indeed happening to us.

So there you have it, you can hear it, see it, smell it, taste it, feel it…

Yet it’s completely invisible.

Every culture on the planet has storytelling built into its DNA.

It’s how traditions and customs and norms are passed through the generations.

And before there was the printing press, and digital archives, and voice memos and Siri, and YouTube, verbal storytelling was the backbone of education and advancement.

We all remember the stories that our parents and grandparents have told us about their parents and their grandparents, and we’ll pass those stories onto our children too.

So yes, storytelling exists in every single country in the world, yet you take it with you on your journey through life, everywhere you go.

There’s no doubt that storytelling is insanely powerful…

And I’m definitely not the first person to tell you that this form of communication is absolutely critical for engaging your audience…

Especially in a saturated, and highly-competitive market.

Every good copywriter and marketer knows this to be true and uses storytelling structures in their sales letters, landing pages, campaigns, and website copy.

It creates relatability, authority, and trust with your prospect.

But how exactly do you weave storytelling into your copy, and what are some of the best formulas that have worked time and time again?

Well I’m here to share my top four storytelling techniques which I have used again and again

Let’s move on to our list of storytelling techniques, starting with the

the most classic of them all…

You’ve likely heard of it…

#1 The Hero’s Journey

Also known as the Monomyth, 

The Hero’s Journey was conceptualized by Joseph Campbell in his book, A Hero With A Thousand Faces.

This story structure has been used in films, and comics, and literature around the world.

It features a hero — also known as the protagonist — as they are called to awaken their potential

by setting out on a difficult journey and ultimately triumphing over adversity.

The Hero’s Journey, which has inspired marketers and screenwriters throughout the past century,

can be summarized into three main acts:

The first is The Departure: When an external

Event compels the Hero to leave their ordinary

world.

Second, The Initiation: When the hero ventures

into an unfamiliar territory (also known as the “unknown world”), meets a mentor or

guide and, of course, deals with a variety of trials and challenges along the way.

And lastly, The Return: The Hero overcomes their struggles and is stronger and wiser, returning to their Ordinary World with a sense of victory.

You can clearly see this story arc in works like Star Wars, Batman, Game of Thrones, The Matrix, I could go on and on.

What is your favorite movie with a Hero’s Journey plotline?

Now, the Hero’s Journey has been fiercely studied by writers and marketers ever since

Joseph Campbell’s book was released and there are tons of amazing resources available that will walk you through this story arc step by step.

Alright, moving onto storytelling technique

#2…Future Pacing

Future Pacing is a type of storytelling that allows the reader to imagine themselves in their ideal future.

It’s a technique famously used in Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP, a unique approach to influential communication that is used by many of the world’s notable communicators like Oprah, Martin Luther King, Tony Robbins, and many more.

Now NLP is a whole science that takes hours and hours and hours to master, and I am NO EXPERT, but this one particular technique can be used pretty powerfully in copywriting.

The only thing you really need to know is the ONE thing your prospects are looking for.

That singular benefit.

And once you’ve discovered it, use Future Pacing throughout your sales copy to help them visualize their dream life – or in other words, the life that they’d have AFTER you help them overcome their problem.

Remember, your brain can not tell the difference between positive memories that have already happened or positive future dreams.

So by allowing your reader to imagine what’s to come, you’re telling their brain that it’s already happened and therefore possible to achieve.

If you can believe it, you can achieve it, as they say.

The trick, though, is to use present tense so that their brain recognizes it as an event

that is happening or has already happened.

It’s also important to get highly specific with your future pacing.

For example, instead of saying “You wake up in your hotel room on your dream holiday”,

go with:

“You wake up, not to the sound of a buzzing alarm, but to the exotic chirps of island birds perched outside your window.

You hear waves softly lapping at the shore as you slowly stretch out under your king duvet.

You can’t remember the last time you slept so soundly.

If someone told you just three weeks ago that you’d end up here, you wouldn’t have believed them.”

See the difference?

Ok now let’s move on to storytelling technique

#3…What I call… The Trouble Maker

So this is a technique inspired by Perry Belcher the co-owner of Digital Marketer and amazing copywriter.

Earlier this year, Perry spoke and delivered a powerful talk on storytelling.

Now Perry is an avid student of storytelling techniques and takes a page from Hollywood screenplays when writing his high-converting sales letters.

He bases his copy on the fundamental truth that “nothing, and I mean nothing, is more

interesting than trouble”.

Trouble creates drama, drama creates attention, therefore making the story more memorable and effective.

And, of course, the trouble scenarios he writes about reflect the problem that his product or service is attempting to solve.

Perry encourages copywriters to introduce trouble early on to capture attention and there are two ways you can do this…

The first is what I call The Build-Up: Where everything seems to be going right, you’re setting the scene, you’re describing the main character, you’re building the tension…

And then, just as the reader suspects, everything goes terribly wrong…

And the second is what I call the “Sh*t Storm”: Where you start your story right

in the middle of chaos.

Making your reader go- Wait?

What?

How did we get here?

What happened?

And how do we get out?

You’ll see this technique used more and more nowadays because people want trouble right away!

Or else they get bored and they bounce.

The key though is to draw your prospects into that story world, and then turn it upside down with trouble.

So this can be done by describing color, emotions, season, time, texture, activity, geography, mood, sound, or even smell.

This technique is conceptualized by Blake Snyder in his bestselling screenwriting book,

Save The Cat!

Now, This is one of the first books I recommend you read if you want to become a copywriter.

Alright and here’s a bonus tip: Perry has even used real-life stories as inspiration for his copy.

Because let’s be honest, true events work even better to make your story believable and relatable!

So good thing the media loves trouble just as much as your readers do!

It’s not hard to find a calamity to write about. And of course, use these stories for inspiration only – everything you write needs to be your original work.

Alright so let’s move on to storytelling technique number four…

#4 The Before-After-Bridge

Not up for Hollywood drama?

That’s ok, this B-A-B technique is one of the simplest copywriting tools that has been used in advertising since the dawn of the Mad Men era.

The Before-After-Bridge works because it moves your prospect from focusing on features and tools, to how it will help them improve their life.

So here’s a quick breakdown.

In the Before: You show your reader the world before your solution.

The key is to get them to identify with the problem you are presenting.

A company that uses this technique really well is M.M.La Fleur, a wardrobe solution for professional women who, guess what — don’t like to shop.

It goes something like this: “You’re bored of wearing boring pantsuits but you have better things to worry about than what to wear.

You want to take the work out of dressing for work.

If only there were a practical, inspired wardrobe for professional women.”

You then move on to the After.

This is where you show your readers what their world will look like after your solution.

M.M.LaFleur describes the After like so…

“But imagine if you could instead just focus on succeeding in the workplace and harnessing the power of your self-presentation… While dressing with ease.”

So now you’ve now created a gap in between these two worlds, the before and the after that your prospects want to fill. So now all you have to do is the bridge that gap.

Enter your product or service.

M.M.LaFleur bridges the gap by saying…

“Fill out a brief survey and arrive at a dressing room curated based on your fit and style preferences.

Work one-on-one with a personal stylist, while enjoying coffee or prosecco.

Our goal is to treat you to the most productive, personalized, and stress-free shopping experience of your life.”

To their practical target audience, that sounds heavenly.

They feel heard, they feel understood, and they’re given an easy solution to solve their problem.

So there you have it!

Those are my top four storytelling techniques

for copywriting.

I hope they give you a good idea of how you can engage your audience with a story.

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