In fiction writing, which is one of my favorite hobbies, there are a few basic tenets that authors are expected to follow – a few rules that hold true regardless of the genre in which you are writing. One of those rules is “show, don’t tell.”
This rule is also beneficial for the writing you use to market your business. Let me explain.
If you’re reading a book, it might get boring after a while if an author repeatedly uses phrases such as “he felt afraid,” or “she was angry.”
These phrases tell us exactly what is happening, but they don’t really draw us into the story. In order to bring a reader into the book, a good author paints a picture. They set the scene, describing the backdrop with just enough detail to let us imagine it, but not so much detail that we get bored.
Then, at some point near the beginning of a scene, any new characters will be described so that we can picture them in our mind. And finally, their words and actions will be described so that we can live their experiences vicariously as we read. We feel the emotions ourselves, rather than just taking the author’s word for it.
For example, rather than saying “he was afraid,” an experienced author will provide the details for us, and then allow us to draw our own conclusions. It may go something like this: “As he walked through the forest, he heard footsteps on the trail behind him. He turned to look over his shoulder, expecting to see someone there, but it was far too dark to tell for sure. A cold sweat broke out on his brow, and he turned to continue walking, quickening his pace now.”
Can you see how this principle applies to copywriting? There are many areas of marketing where this technique can be applied, but the best example would be the use of storytelling through case studies.
In an effective case study, your target audience can picture themselves in the shoes of the customer whose story you are telling. Rather than just hearing that a customer “was happy with the results they received,” your audience can walk a mile in the footsteps of that happy customer. They can hear about the struggles, then cheer them on as they find a solution.
If the story is relatable, then it goes a long way toward establishing trust. Your audience will really be able to imagine themselves achieving the same results when they use your product or service.
A good writer will know how to convey the story you are looking to tell. There’s a fine art to including just enough detail, but not so much detail that you bore your reader. Also, there is a strategy to including relevant details – the little key phrases and emotions that will resonate with your target audience.
Once you master the art of telling a truthful story in an entertaining, detail-rich format, your case studies will be effective.