Lots has been written, mused upon, thought about, and digested by business people and creatives alike on what makes good content for websites, blogs, email copywriting, and so forth, in the marketing of business, services, and organizations, circa 2013.
As a working freelance writer, I propose this idea be added to the dialogue: Good content writing can be good storytelling! The elements of a good story and a strong narrative can be applied in sculpting content that will entertain as well as inform. There is no formal “source” for this, other than the knowledge I have gained as a writer of creative fiction. That knowledge has helped form my conviction that telling a good “story” within the arc of your content writing can strengthen its power to hook, absorb, and hold the reader, thus bettering the chance of selling the prospect or customer.
Use a “3 Act” Structure
The basic paradigm of drama is the 3 act structure: set-up, confrontation, resolution. For content writing, I call this framework “set-up, involvement, and pay-off.” Whatever the asset and whatever the subject, you can use this structure to greater or lesser degrees to make your content more absorbing and effective as a selling and marketing tool.
The Set-Up Nails Down and Holds Your Reader
The “set-up” hooks the reader, brings them in, and sets them down by grabbing their attention and holding them. In a story or screenplay this might be a character witnessing a crime, or having their house burn down, or perhaps winning the lottery. In a blog or article about a product or service, this could be spotlighting what makes the product unique and miles above the competition, or explaining how completely the service will better the user’s life.
Involve Your Reader in Your “Story”
The confrontation in drama is conflict between characters, between the hero and villain, or between the hero and a challenging situation. The purpose of confrontation is to more deeply involve the reader in the story. That’s why I call the second tier of our content paradigm “involvement.” Get the reader of your ad or email blast more involved, a.k.a. more interested, in what you’re selling by illustrating all the features of the product, or highlighting the advantages and rewards of the service, or running down the successful track record of the business, and so forth.
The Resolution… er, Pay-Off!
The third act in storytelling is resolution. The resolution builds to a climax, resolving all character and story issues, and making for a comfortable if not always happy ending. In content writing, I call this third act the “pay-off,” where the intent is to always provide a happy ending by converting a prospect or selling an established customer! In your landing page copy or social media post, you can accomplish this with an exciting offer, or a special promotion. Hence, a pay-off!
So the next time you sit down to write some content, keep in mind these “storytelling” techniques and see if they don’t liven up your work, and increase traffic and sales!
Michael V is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.