Let me tell you a story

This entry was posted on Monday, June 6th, 2011 at 10:46 AM

current_issue_summer2011I’ve just read a great article in Intelligent Life – The Economist’s quarterly magazine – by Robert Butler an arts and environmentalist blogger.

Basically it’s about getting your message across, and Butler uses environmentalists to make his point. Now, I’ve no idea whether or not this is true but he claims they have a tendency to hit people with stats, results and conclusions.

He says this closes the subject down and doesn’t allow the other person’s mind anywhere to go. His recommendation to Greens is to ditch information overload, “in favour of suggesting details that actually catch people’s interest and allow the other person to get involved.”

It’s good advice that also applies to our marketing materials. So, instead of giving bald facts about who you are and what you do, aim to capture your reader’s imagination. Tap into their emotions; allow them to create picture of how your product or service will help them, or make them feel –  or look even.

Letting your readers create the desire in their own minds is far more persuasive. I mean, buying something is always more powerful if we’ve made our own decision rather than feeling we’ve been harangued into it isn’t it?

In his article, Butler suggestions Greens could learn a lot from Shakespeare about capturing people’s interest and allowing them to ‘complete the thought’. (He also thinks 70s TV detective, Lt Columbo could teach them a thing or two as well, but you’ll just have to read the article to find out why!)

Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed in daylight with no scenery so he had to paint the scene with words for his audience. I love this line from Hamlet, spoken by Horatio as dawn is breaking:

“But, look, the morn, in russet mantel clad,

Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill.”

Wow. Of course, I’m not suggesting we come over all 16th century and flowery. But painting a strong image for our audience, using words that will resonate and engage them, is far more evocative, memorable, and persuasive than bald facts.

Robert Butler’s article, ‘Going Green’ is on page 38 of the summer issue of Intelligent Life. Butler is a former theatre critic of the Independent on Sunday who blogs on the arts and the environment at The AshdenDirectory

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Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

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