GUEST BLOG: 5 Ways to Profit from Storytelling By Rebecca Matter
Every year, Saroo Brierley celebrates his birthday on May 22nd. But that wasn’t the day he was born. It was the day he was found.
Saroo grew up in India, and just about every day, he followed his older brother around. One day back in 1986, he fell asleep in an empty train while his big brother was off finding food for the family.
When he woke up several hours later, he was hundreds of miles away in a place he had never seen before. He was alone, hungry, and scared. He cried out for his brother, sister, and mother.
Yet, they were nowhere to be found. It wouldn’t be until 2012, almost 26 years later, that he would find his family. And so is the story of the heartbreaking movie, Lion.
If you’ve seen Lion, then you know how touching Saroo’s story is and the emotions it stirs up. That’s because good stories are hard to resist.
But stories do much more than simply entertain us. They also influence the way we think, and even what we feel. Stories have the power to sway the way we see the world … not to mention our decision-making processes.
That’s why telling a good story is one of the most powerful skills you can have as a writer. And it’s an easy way to make your copy memorable — as well as profitable.
So today, I’m going to show you why good stories are so valuable to businesses … and why they’ll gladly pay you to write those stories!
Let’s say a company puts out a brochure with a list of facts and statistics. Your brain processes that information as an intellectual experience. Interesting and educational, but not necessarily memorable.
You might be able to recall a few of the facts, but probably not all. That’s because informative writing only taps into your cerebral cortex, which is the part of your brain that decodes words into meaning.
A well-told story, on the other hand, takes the reader on an emotional adventure. It involves the language-processing areas of your brain along with many other areas — including your sensory cortex.
The sensory cortex is the part of your brain you’d use if you were actually experiencing the events of a story. It’s the area where you detect sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch.
When you’re involved at a sensory level, it’s easy to feel like you’re in the story, which is the reason you remember stories more so than statistics.
And when stories are used in persuasive writing, the story becomes representative of what’s being sold or presented.
Persuasive writers who know how to tell a good story use it to move people to action, whether that means buying a product or service, making a donation, signing up for a free newsletter, or picking up the phone to talk to a member of the company’s customer service team.
And THAT is why good storytellers stand to make a great deal of money.
When most people think of “writing careers,” they think they have two choices:
- You can become an author and write books — fiction, non-fiction, biographies, and so on.
- Or, you can get yourself a journalism degree and write articles and news stories for newspapers and magazines — either as a freelancer or staff writer.
Both are noble professions that can be very rewarding and garner a lot of respect. Problem is, they’re hard work. They’re highly competitive. You need to spend a lot of time getting very good at what you do. And, unless you’re among the elite, the pay is typically pretty average at best.
Fortunately, the kind of writing I do isn’t either of those two … although there are elements of storytelling and reporting in what I do.
And, even though you see the type of writing I do every day — in the mail, on the Internet, in magazines and newspapers — few people stop to consider who’s writing it … and just how lucrative of a career it can be.
Master Copywriter Mark Morgan Ford, the man who’s mentored hundreds of up-and-coming writers in this field, put it perfectly some years ago:
“You’re a good writer if you can write a story that can make people cry… you’re a better writer if your writing can make people laugh… but, if your writing can persuade people to take action — that’s when you know you can be a very wealthy writer.”
That, in a nutshell, is what we do.
We persuade people to take action — whether it’s to request some more information, support a cause, read a special report, buy a product, and so on. It may just be some well-written text for an email you send a potential customer … an ad in a publication … a website landing page … or a personal letter written to someone with an interest in the product you’re offering. But, it all boils down to good, conversational, persuasive writing.
Now, if writing is your dream, this type of writing – copywriting – can enable you to get paid well for your writing and give you time to work on your creative pursuits.
There’s a basic formula to copywriting. It’s a secret structure that you’ll find in every piece of good, persuasive writing … one that’s been tested and proven to work millions of times, in millions of ads. A structure anyone can learn and follow.
Once you learn what copywriting is, understand it, and start using it — well, that’s when your life will change dramatically.
Because the fact is, once you can write a letter, an ad, or a web page that persuades, you’ll have a financially-valuable skill that will reward you for life! And here’s how…
5 Paid Writing Projects that Benefit From Good Storytelling
1. Case Studies
Case studies are success stories that detail a customer’s experience with a company’s products or services.
Their goal is to tell the story of how a company or individual solved a challenge using a product or service. In other words, a “before-and-after” story.
If you have a journalistic background or mindset … this project is ideal for you!
(Go here for expert advice on how to write a case study.)
Fees: $150-$500 (and upwards of $1,250 in B2B, or for more experienced writers)
Companies email prospects and customers on a regular basis — often daily. Stories keep their emails interesting, and encourage readers to engage in a real conversation.
If you like writing short, conversational copy, this is a great opportunity. Along with fitting your style, the frequency of writing emails is very high — so you can make a lot from just a few clients.
3. Social Media Campaigns
Fees: Upwards of $2,000/Month
Social media platforms were built to share stories …
And it’s where companies’ customers and prospects are connecting, researching, and making buying decisions.
As a social media writer, you’ll use stories to grab their attention, and connect on a personal level … to start and then further develop a relationship with the client.
4. Video Marketing
Fee: Upwards of $200 per video minute
Videos are an effective way to connect with any online audience and allow you to tell your story visually.
If you have any desire to teach … or you come from the screenwriting world … this is definitely for you.
Fee: $1,500 to $3,500 for a small website (5-7 pages)
Whether you’re telling the story of how a company first came to be or you’re telling the stories of many satisfied customers, website pages often house a variety of short stories interlaced with a common theme.
As you can see, stories can play a role in every form of copy and content …
Compelling stories entertain, inform, and offer value to readers. Which makes them more likely to connect with your clients and their products and services.
They also cut through the noise, grab people’s attention, and make the messaging more “real.”
So put your storytelling skills to use! Decide which project types interest you most, and get going. And while your stories many not win any literary awards … your clients will certainly value every word you write. And that’s when you’ll see your freelance writing income soar.
This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI.)
AWAI has been helping writers make a great living doing what they love for over 20 years. If you’d like to learn more about the opportunities above, as well as a few more ways you can get paid to write, go here to download their special report called, It’s True! You Can Make a Very Good Living as a Writer.
In it, you’ll learn everything you need to know about 9 writing assignments that are in big demand today, including what the projects look like, what they pay, and how to land them. Go here now to download your free copy.