6 Story Elements For Copywriting

As any good copywriter knows, the secret to really great copy is storytelling. No matter what story you’re telling — whether it’s a personal blog or a website that sells widgets — there are specific components you must include to maximize engagement and make your writing pop!

Want to write copy that moves your audience or customers to action?

Then include these 6 elements into your writing and take your copy to the next level:

Character / Hero

Identify who you are speaking to.

Help them know that you know who they are and what they want.

Before you start talking about your programs, products and solutions you want your ideal customer to feel confident they are in the right place.

Here’s a secret that most people don’t know when it comes to the psychology of a customer, they have a default mindset that you WON’T be able to help them.

They look for all the reasons that their problem is unique, too difficult or impossible to solve. And the funny thing is that they don’t even really know they are doing it.

It is often very subconscious.

So, it’s important that you identify WHO you are speaking to on your website, marketing, emails or social media posts.

The challenge here? Too many of you are scared to identify a core group or niche. You want to be all things to all people. But it will backfire on you because your ideal customer won’t identify when they get to your site.

The first critical element on a good website is making your ideal customer feel right at home within the first 3–5 seconds. Tough, but not impossible.

Problem

Start with the problem.

When you identify who your ideal customer is, you follow it up with the problem they are facing. Right from the beginning.

Too many brands bury the problem halfway down the page.

Guess what? Most people won’t get that far if they don’t connect within 3–5 seconds at the top.

You need to be clear about the external problem your customers are facing and then the internal frustrations that it makes them feel. And, if you really want to bring home the pain, you throw in a dose of the philosophical problem we are all facing in the world.

It may seem awkward or counter-intuitive to bring up the problem in people’s face, especially when your goal is to show them how you can help them. But you lose the power of your solution when you don’t clearly identify the problem, empathize with it, and even POKE it a little.

And, you don’t just talk about the problem once, you should reinforce several times through your copywriting.

Don’t get me wrong. We don’t sell through fear. We don’t make people feel bad. Good copywriting is about helping people really connect with what they want to change and help them understand that you are the one to help them solve this.

Guide

Now is your time to shine.

In any good movie, the story opens up with a character facing a problem. The guide can’t step into the scene until the stage has been set and we realize the character is really stuck and can’t do it on their own.

The purpose of the guide is to offer a plan, direction and a process to help the hero solve their own problem.

Don’t get it wrong. You are not the solution.

Never play the hero. Always play the guide.

There are 2 critical elements when it comes to writing about yourself as a guide. You need to express empathy, and demonstrate authority. And here’s a tip: You don’t need too much of either.

Remember, it’s not about you.

We don’t need 10 testimonials, or a full page resume. We don’t need ALL your credentials, just enough for us to know…”Hey, this guy knows his stuff.” Or looks like it anyway.

Empathizing with your customer can either be through a shared experience, or simply voicing the words that help them know you understand.

When I say, “Copywriting is hard” I usually get a room full of groans or head nods…it’s kind of a universal pain point. But the truth is, copywriting IS hard, and was for me until I really immersed myself in this work.

So, before you step into the story and play the role of the hero saving the day…remember, your customer has already signed up for that part, and you get the privilege of helping them succeed.

Plan

The number #1 thing left off more websites…

I review a lot of websites these days. And, while there are PLENTY of mistakes and places for improvement, this one is missing from most.

You forget to tell your customer how they can easily work with you.

You assume they have connected the dots and know what the next steps are. You are asking them to burn too many calories figuring out how to work with you.

A simple and clear plan is so very helpful on your website, lead generator or email copy.

Trust me on this one.

Don’t get this confused with your process, system or program. This is just a simple plan for getting started with you. And, the point is to help them see how SIMPLE it is to get started.

*Step 1: Schedule a call

*Step 2: Create an action plan

*Step 3: Become unstoppable

Now, can someone really become unstoppable in 3 steps? Not really. The idea is that you want them to see what happens if they decide to click the button “Schedule A Call”.

People like to know what to expect next. So, help them out. Make it clear and then provide a strong call to action to help them overcome hesitation and obstacles to making a decision.

It may seem too simple, but good copywriting incorporates human behavior and thinking, which is often a mystery or overlooked by business owners who are looking for the sale. Our job is to clear the road and reduce any friction that might hold someone back.

Call to Action

Help them make a move.

A strong call to action is a gift to your customer. They want to say yes, but often times the need a nudge. A clear call to action helps them to feel good about saying yes…quicker.

You can use messaging about not waiting another day, or taking their next step.

Your goal is to connect the dots and provide a clear and easy way for them to say yes. Now.

The mistake I see too many people make is that they have:

Multiple calls to action

Unclear calls to action

If you give people too many decisions to make, guess what? They won’t make any. #truestory

And, if you make it vague like “Contact Us”, “Learn More” or even “Let’s Connect” it won’t be crystal clear what will happen when they click the button.

My advice: don’t be cute, don’t be clever. Be clear.

Clear is kind.

Make your call to action buttons simple and clear. You’ll be doing your customers a favor and helping them to say yes faster…which is a win-win for both of you!

Success / Failure

The 80/20 Rule:

Your copy should be 80% success, transformation, aspirational, and 20% failure.

While it’s great to help your customer know how much benefit they will get from working with you or purchasing your products, they also need to know the consequences of not saying yes.

What will life be like if they don’t work with you?

Will the pain still continue? Frustration, loss of time, money or direction? What is the ‘no good, terrible thing’ that will happen if they wait another day?

Seems a bit dramatic.

But the point is that you need to poke the pain a little more throughout your copy and remind them that the solution will only come if they take action. And if they don’t, they can expect to stay stuck, confused, or whatever pain they were in…will continue.

We don’t write from a place of fear or threats, we speak to our customer out of passion, encouragement and because we WANT to see them succeed.

It’s just hard for anyone to pull the trigger. To say yes. To make a change…which will involve time and likely money.

If you believe in your product, service or yourself…then it’s your job to help people overcome the obstacles and friction in order to move forward. The 80/20 Rule is a great reminder.

Was that helpful? Maybe after reading this, you’re still feeling unsure about your website?

Schedule a website check here so you never confuse your customers again. With more clarity, comes more sales!

Copywriter and Certified StoryBrand Guide. Owner of Simple Story Solutions and The Copywriter Coach. — Los Angeles www.lisacumes.com

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