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…

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Can I use stories to sell my own services as a freelancer?

(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 is a question from Colin who has recently completed my course on Selling with Stories.

He asks, “You talk a lot about using stories as a way to help companies connect with their customers and prospects. But how about us freelancers? Can we use stories too, to sell our own services?”

Absolutely you can.

And if I failed to address this in the course, that’s an oversight on my part.

I use stories myself.

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Do I write the page’s headline first or last?

(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 Lynn who is taking my course, How to Write Better Headlines.

The answer to whether I write the headline first or last is… yes.

I do both.

Let me explain. And this is the case whether I’m writing a page of content or a sales page. Same process.

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Can conversational copywriting be optimized for the search engines?

(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.)

An interesting question from Phillip, who took my course on conversational copywriting.

He wonders if using natural, plain-speaking and conversational language in your copy and content might be detrimental to optimizing for the search engines.

That’s a reasonable concern.

Five years ago I spent a lot more time focused on SEO and keyword optimization. Not so much today. But it’s still a factor when I build a new post or page.

To illustrate Phillip’s point, let’s look at how someone might optimize a text link for the term “cheap coffee maker”.

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Use simple anecdotes as a tool to sell your clients on the power of stories.

(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 is about collecting small stories or anecdotes, and then using them as a way to sell your clients or colleagues on the power of stories in marketing.

So… imagine you are trying to pitch a group of marketers on your idea for an upcoming campaign.

You want to use the company’s origin story. But first you have to persuade the marketing group this is a good idea.

Once again… stories to the rescue.

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What’s the easiest way to make your copy sounds conversational?

(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 came up during some back and forth over homework a student submitted as part of my course on Conversational Copywriting.

Here it is…

“Are there any quick and dirty tricks I can use to making corporate-sounding sales copy feel authentic and conversational?

There are two answers to this.

The NO answer and the YES answer.

Let’s start with NO.

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