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Readability Tone Voice Storytelling


That's Entertainment

Let me tell you a story.

Who says no to that, right? Humans have loved stories as long as we could communicate. Stories are how we make sense of complex and nuanced things like heartache or revenge. We are hardwired to enjoy stories.

So, complex and nuanced things … does that describe anything you offer? How about the services you provide and how they’re provided?

Like voice, storytelling is criminally underused as a copywriting element. I’m not talking about the “Once upon a time” story, but certain elements of storytelling that lend themselves to copywriting and content.

At its absolute essence, a story is about a problem that must be overcome. Ever hear the phrase “pain points?” Pain points is a fancy corporate phrase for “problem.” Someone, somewhere, has a problem they either can’t identify or can’t solve, and your thing is the answer.

That’s all I mean by storytelling.  If you do a good enough job describing the problem, the story tells itself. Look at corny old-school TV commercials. They always started with a problem — a spilled glass of wine or a remote that didn’t work. You knew right away what the product did, but you tuned in just the same. How does it work? Why?

This is why framing the problem is so critical. If the problem is hard to paint, back up until it seems obvious. Our solution helps small businesses make more money with less effort. Full stop.

Now what’s the problem? What hurdle do you remove? Or do you help them jump higher? Turn it into a metaphor if you need to like, well, the clearing of a hurdle.


Say you’re a SaaS (software as a service) company that works with hotels. Your software uses some proprietary algorithm to track social media-promoted events nearby and deliver targeted offers to those potential travelers. You’ve got a heading on your homepage that reads What We Do. It says:

LodgeLeads’ proprietary algorithm scrapes event data from social media platforms to deliver targeted lodging opportunities and promotions to users who express interest in an event, particularly during shoulder and low seasons.

Cool. You’ve told me what you do and I get it. But so what? Who really benefits from this? What problem does it solve? Why does this need to exist? More importantly, where does the “story” go from here? If I get it but I don’t care, will I want to hear more?

What if you said this instead:

It’s always a challenge to put heads in beds during low season, but what if you could promote directly to people planning to be in your area before your competitors even know they’re coming?

It’s not a story, but it poses a question in a way that foreshadows the answer. Obviously, I’m going to go on to pay off the “what if” in this case, but some copywriting rides the waves of a question like this forever. Usually to sell some kind of webinar or paid course. Little setups followed by unsurprising but weirdly satisfying payoffs, just like a story.


Readability scores for this page:

Average grade level: 7
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 71.4
Percent complex words: 10.8%

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