If your business words just describe you and the stuff you sell, your audience won’t care.
Your content should tell stories that connect emotionally and inspire your audience to take a hopeful path to a better place.
Whoa! That might sound like a tall order for your B2B web copy, blog posts, or campaign emails. But science tells us stories engage our brains in ways plain facts and information don’t. Good lawyers know stories persuade judges and juries better than logic-based arguments. Stories tap into our empathy and stay with us much more than, say, jargon-thick marketing prose that rehashes market challenges or compares technical functions. What if you could harness the power of storytelling in your marketing to consistently move your audience to take the positive action?
You can, thanks to a psychologist and English professor named Alan Monroe. Regarded as a master communicator, he created a simple, remarkably effective five-step story structure for persuasive speech in the 1930s. His students and other academics flocked to his innovative, wildly popular public speaking courses at Purdue. He called the five steps Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.
Monroe mostly taught the technique for public speaking, but it works most every time for all of your marketing content:
- Get attention: Make a personal, emotional, or unconventional appeal to capture attention quickly. Make it brief and do it in a way that prompts their interest in what’s next.
- Relate to a need: Trigger an audience need and relate a common understanding of their challenge and desired outcome. Are they struggling to get their content to convert? Are they not seeing returns on their big investments in digital marketing? Stimulating a need leads the audience to seek a solution. This also swiftly makes the audience the center of the story—your audience is always the hero, not your product.
- Suggest a way to satisfy the need and make their life better: Here your story starts to build hope. You are not creating satisfaction but proposing a way to satisfy the need and improve their life. Help your audience see what is today and what could be. You are building the bridge that leads the hero further along in their journey.
- Visualize the successful solution in place: Help your audience see the solution (your solution) in place and solving their problem. Don’t focus on product technology and features or in the deep weeds of process and methodology. Get them to see themselves succeeding by working with you to meet their need.
- Provide a clear next action: You have built trust and understanding and projected the path to success. Now give the audience a clear, simple next step.
I saw this great example just today from the session guide for the Marketing Profs fall online forum (it’s a terrific forum—they do a great job):
You might be thinking, “Great example, but this won’t work for my (social media, landing pages, long-form content, eBook, video script, product content).” But it does work, fabulously, and you can apply it immediately to increase your clicks, time users spend on your website, engagement with social media, and qualified inbound traffic.
Drop in your info here (put “Monroe’s in the comment/question box) to schedule a free one-on-one session to learn more about applying Monroe’s Magic for Marketing Content.