4 Ways to earn and maintain the trust of your audience.

Young boy expressing trust by holding man's hand

Edelman is a communications agency, well known for what it calls its “trust barometer”.

They track the public’s levels of trust when it comes to business, the media, institutions and government.

As you can imagine, the results over the last few years don’t paint a pretty picture. Trust levels overall are down.

Even while people are looking to inform themselves with the latest news, Edelman reports that 73 percent are worried about fake news being used as a weapon.

And we need look no further than companies like VW and Facebook to understand why our trust in companies and large corporations is being eroded.

So… what is one to do?

Read the full post…

How Dangerous Dave and Big Brian drive conversations for this artist.

Big Brian pain brushes

I write and talk a lot about the power and benefits of conversational copywriting.

Today I want to share an example of how the power of conversation extends way beyond just the words we write as copywriters.

Let me introduce you to Dangerous Dave, Big Brian, Flat Phil and Miss Rigger.

As you may have already noticed from the photo above, these are the names of four different paint brushes.

These four brushes arrived in the mail because my wife is an accomplished watercolor artist, but still likes to take classes. And one of the instructors she likes to follow is Andrew Geeson, from Wales. Andrew, as well as being an artist and instructor, clearly has smart marketing skills coded into his DNA.

Read the full post…

3 Things you have to get right when selling with stories.

Selling with a good story

Recently I’ve been seeing a surge in the number of companies jumping on the “story” bandwagon.

A few days ago I was traveling back from the UK. At the airport I saw three references to story. One on a poster, one in a duty-free flier that was thrust into my hand just after I got through security, and the one you see in the photo above, on the pages of an in-flight magazine.

All mention story, but not one of them actually told a story.

It’s as if the writers believed that just using the word “story” would make some kind of difference.

It doesn’t.

If you want to tap into the true power of storytelling in your marketing, you have to actually tell and share a real story.

And to give your story power, it has to get three things right…

Read the full post…

Can a good business story be fictional?

(What follows is the outline I wrote in advance of recording the video. They’re my talking points. Not a regular post or article. Just an outline.)

This question is from Julia, who took my course on Selling With Stories.

She asks, “You say a business story has to be true. But can’t a good fictional story be used to teach a valuable business lesson?”

Ouch… Julia, you’re right. You got me.

As you say, I have said that a business story should be true. And I say that to discourage people from making up stories that are obviously false and manipulative.

Read the full post…

Every good business story needs a leaping zebra.

(What follows is the outline I wrote in advance of recording the video. They’re my talking points. Not a regular post or article. Just an outline.)

Great question from Stephan, who took my course on Selling With Stories.

“For business communications, is it enough just to describe something that has happened? Is that a story? If told well, does a description of something that happened at work qualify as a story? I guess I’m not quite clear on what a business story actually is!”

Thank you Stephan. That’s a terrific question.

Let me try to answer you with some examples.

Here’s a description of an event…

Read the full post…

When marketing stories are false and manipulative.

(What follows is the outline I wrote in advance of recording the video. They’re my talking points. Not a regular post or article. Just an outline.)

Martin emailed me and said.

“Nick, I have been reading your work for years and have a lot of respect for what you do. But stories? Almost every marketing story I read feels totally fake and manipulative. What gives?”

Fair enough. (I’m guessing he hasn’t taken my course on Selling with Stories.)

In part, I agree. Although I think Martin overstates things when he talks about EVERY marketing story being fake or manipulative. But I do get his point.

The two kinds of false stories that irritate me the most are…

Read the full post…