A visit to your local market will teach you plenty about selling with stories.

Each week my wife and I go to Jean Talon Market here in Montreal. It is one of the city’s busiest markets, particularly over the summer months.

Last week I took my camera along, in search of how stall holders might be using stories to help market their produce.

It’s funny how the mind works. As soon as I looked around in search of “story”, suddenly I was surrounded by them.

You’ll get the full roundup in the video above.

But a couple of examples jumped out at me.

Read the full post…

To change how people feel, just tell them a story.

Speedmaster watch story
Ed White, during America’s first space walk.

If you’ve been involved in marketing for more than ten minutes, you’ve probably figured out that people buy things based on their emotions.

People don’t line up on the sidewalk all night to buy the latest iPhone for any rational reason.

It’s not like their existing iPhone is about to stop working.

They line up for the new phone not because they need it, but because they want it.

Their purchase decision is driven by emotion.

And it turns out that one of the best and fastest ways to trigger emotions is through stories.

You know this already, of course.

Every time you watch a movie you’re taken on an emotional roller-coaster. Movies are stories, and stories move us.

Read the full post…

The copywriter’s cure for being slapped around the head.

the elephant and hat storyLet’s open with a story.

Way back in the mists of time I had a boss and copywriting mentor called Dave.

I was a total newbie when it came to writing hard-selling, direct response copy for our clients. I was a decent enough copywriter, but had yet to develop the edge that would make me a worthwhile direct response copywriter.

Enter Dave.

He’d look over my shoulder as I was writing, and whenever he came across a line of copy he thought wasn’t as strong as it should be, he’d give me a slap around the back of the head.

Yes, this was back in the days when you could get away with that sort of thing.

Read the full post…

Help me choose the topic of my next course…

Survey behind the barn doorI have a question for you… if I may.

And a very short, two-click questionnaire.

I’m trying to figure out a topic for my next course, and would really appreciate your help and input.

As you may know, a couple of months ago I launched a short course on Web Content Optimization.

This is a short-form course, delivered on the Udemy platform, and takes about 3 hours to complete.

Right now I’m working on getting a second course published, also on Udemy.

This second course is about Selling with Stories. (You’ll love this one if you’re an online writer who doesn’t feel terribly comfortable with the direct, hard-selling aspect of copywriting.)

Selling with Stories should be available within 3 or 4 weeks. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

And that brings me to my question…

Read the full post…

Impress your clients – and earn more – with this simple Content Optimization Framework.

content marketing frameworkThere is a huge demand for quality web content.

The trouble is – for us writers – many, or maybe most companies have a nasty habit of low-balling us on price. They want great content, but don’t want to pay much for it.

When we tell them the content we write is worth more than they are offering, they may point us to sites like Freelancer.com, where they can find content writers for peanuts.

How can you break free from that kind of comparison?

Read the full post…

Allow for sudden outbursts of unexpected content.

Unexpected bicycle on wall

Recently I have written a fair bit about optimizing web content.

My thinking has been, and still is, that too many companies rush to publish new content without first establishing a clear purpose for each page or post they create.

In other words, marketers often feel that the simple act of publishing a new page or post is enough.

It’s not.

For web content to deliver value – to both your audience and your company – it has to be purpose-driven. You have to figure out WHY each piece should be published, and then optimize it accordingly.

For example, one post might be optimized for the search engines, while another is optimized for social media. Another might be optimized to attract inbound links, and so on.

Read the full post…