“Words, are our most inexhaustible source of magic. They are our most potent forms of enchantment. Rich with the power to hurt or heal.”
— Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Here’s a short video that illustrates how important it is to choose the right words in your marketing.
Go ahead and watch. (I’ll wait.)
The biggest point of this video is that words are best utilized when we tell a story. Yes. Even one sentence can tell a story. Here’s another example:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
That’s a 6-word story written by Hemingway himself. (And he often referred to it as his best work!)
When you read that sentence, your brain takes in the information and begins to fill out the details surrounding it.
If you’re a sensitive type, you might even get a little teary-eyed.
For centuries, our species has believed that words have a certain magical power. That you could cast a spell by using the right words, causing or commanding the natural elements to do your bidding.
Today, most of us would agree that words do have a certain power. Quantum physics aside, we’ve got highly trained professionals in the fields of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), hypnosis, and of course, advertising — who all understand the true power of words.
Some words are more powerful than others, to be sure.
Words like free, and guarantee are two that we know make strong connections and command attention from readers.
But words on their own don’t really do that much. It’s the way you arrange them that matters.
And the best way to arrange them is in a story!
Chip and Dan Heath, the authors of Made to Stick, point out that stories help our brains remember and understand new concepts better than dry descriptions, facts and figures.
Case studies and articles are great examples of where marketing stories show up. But you can include smaller vignettes on your About Us page, your Facebook posts, or even in your tweets! Literally, everywhere.
Here are 5 elements to include your marketing story-messages to make them more effective:
1. Tap into an emotion. Choose something that will connect with your target audience. If you’ve done your research and understand your ideal client, you’ll know which emotions they’re already dealing with as it pertains to your offering. If they’re mostly frustrated, use that emotion in your story.
2. Use vivid, concrete images. Help your reader visualize what’s happening (or what could happen) by describing a particular moment in detail.
3. Include something surprising or mysterious. Capture your reader’s attention by playing on their curiosity in your title or headline. And help them remember your story better by including an unexpected twist at the end.
4. Keep things simple. Not just short, but direct and to the point. With too many twists and turns, you’ll confuse your reader and ultimately lose their attention.
5. Credibility. Don’t go overboard with the description. Your story needs to sound like it really could happen in order for people to believe and trust you.
Since we all learn best by example, let’s share our marketing stories. Whether you wrote it yourself, or found a really good one on the web, post a link to it in a comment below. Here’s one from the way-back machine to get you started.