How to tell stories that build on your promises.

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Content Strategy, Writing Services
How to tell stories that build on your promises.

Many Muse clients have so many good things to say about their businesses that they don’t know where to start. What stories are worth telling? To whom? At what time? Every story has its place in the world, but if it doesn’t bolster your brand, it may not be worth the investment required to develop and distribute it.

Here’s how we help clients choose the stories that build equity in their brands.

Define the brand position.

When someone asks you, “Tell me about your business,” what do you say? What position does your company own in the marketplace? How does that position benefit your buyers? You have less than 10 seconds to stake a claim that captures attention. The answer – your company’s brand position – must be definitive, and then you should be prepared to support it with data and anecdotal evidence that illustrate your authority on the topic.

As we apply this position within your sales and marketing materials, we break it down between sales copy (your claims) and dynamic content (the stories that demonstrate it).

Write sales copy.

Your sales copy is the messaging that communicates your central position. We often refer to it as “static copy” because it maintains its integrity over time. This could be your company’s mission statement, your website’s “About Us” page, or the copy that describes your products in your brochures.

Its purpose is to stake a quick claim that resonates with your buyers. This claim could be something like, “We have the expertise to serve you better in these ways,” or “Our service is the ideal choice because it offers these exclusive benefits.”

Develop content to support the claims.

Prospects no longer buy in a vacuum. They seek out ample information that justifies the purchase. This information is your opportunity for branded content – it’s ever changing, and it can come in many forms. Click through the links below for some of our favorite examples.

  • A blog that spotlights a product within context of a DIY project.
    • Claim supported: We make products that are perfect for your lifestyle.
  • A series of white papers that help prospects become more industry-savvy.
    • Claim supported: We’re the thought leader in this field.
  • A printed publication that features customers using the product in fun ways.
    • Claim supported: We build products that inspire you to do great things.

Think of your stories as the spokes that flow from the central hub where your static copy lives. In this way, your “dynamic content,” or stories you create to demonstrate your claims, may shift over time as the landscape moves, but they’re always tied back to your core brand position.

Tie static copy and dynamic content together.

A buyer’s entry point may be the home page of your website, or it may be a blog entry that matches a search query. In either case, be sure you take every opportunity to connect copy with content through hyperlinking. This strategic toggling draws visitors deeper into your brand experience, elevating their perception of your value along the way.

Often, we’ll write a client’s website, then we’ll comb through the sales copy with a fresh eye, noting claims that could use additional support. Then, we’ll host a story generation session with our client to brainstorm stories under each claim. This not only helps focus our discussion; it also ensures that every story has a marketing and sales purpose.

For example, on this site, our client’s sales copy claims that its wedding menus are “as memorable as the day itself.” The page then provides menu examples, which are updated over time, and links to the blog, where stories tagged “Cleveland Weddings” appear. These stories feature interviews with brides who speak highly of their memorable experience with the company. Even with price points that average 30% above the competition, the company is consistently overbooked during wedding season, and was recently an editors’ pick by the national wedding magazine, The Knot.

Ultimately…

In order to tell a great story, you must first define the characters and setting. The characters you create represent the static copy. The dynamic content is everything that happens to them. Remember the Hardy Boys? Or Nancy Drew?
 Their characters are defined early on; their personalities do not change. This leaves plenty of room in the storytelling to send them into a haunted house, or to catch the bicycle thief. If the author had decided to change the characters halfway through, every story written thereafter would have been completely removed from the characters’ origin, destroying the suspension of disbelief…and the reader’s trust.

Define your position early on, express your claims with clear sales copy, and your story content will be as good as any choose-your-own-adventure book. Hopefully, better.