In this week’s episode, I’m sharing how incorporating storytelling into your book marketing can be more powerful and effective for making sales.
Hemmingway App: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/
Hey everyone, how is it going?
Today’s episode is all about storytelling—and no, not in the novel writing sense, but in the marketing sense.
Maybe you’re wondering what marketing and storytelling have in common. Well, storytelling (as us writers already know) is a powerful medium to engage with people. The stories that we write can teach our readers, entertain them, and make them feel powerful emotions.
What you may not know, though, is that storytelling is also heavily used in marketing for all of these same reasons—because people buy based on two things:
(1) The value they see in a product, and
(2) The way they feel about a brand or product.
Tell me, have you ever spent an extra two dollars at the store to buy a carry bag just because the proceeds go towards charity?
Or how about choosing to shop at particular furniture store over another because you personally connect with the brand image of one over another? (Maybe the first one is very fun and groovy and the other is very chic and contemporary).
Maybe you’ve bought a particular product because you liked the movement or message that brand was promoting.
The stories that brands are telling us everyday influence our purchasing decisions—whether we’re aware of this or not. They use storytelling to make us feel empowered or excited, or to resurface our frustrations and pain points and relate to us. Once they have our attention, it’s much easier to highlight why their product is so valuable and persuade us to buy.
As icky as this sounds out loud—I personally don’t have a problem being sold to and I don’t have a problem selling either. This is because no matter what, sales only work when we connect with what’s being said—and if I’m being sold on something, I’m usually genuinely interested in it and want it.
The same goes for selling—only people who connect with what you’re selling will be interested enough to listen, and that’s exactly what you want. It’s a powerful tactic that repels people who aren’t your soulmate readers, and attracts those who are.
This is why I strongly encourage you to incorporate storytelling into your marketing as much as possible, and today I’m going to share some tips on how you can do it well.
But before that…
It’s time for tool tip of the day—I love using tools and tips to automate my workflow and make running a business so much easier, and I aim to share one tool or tip per episode that I personally use and recommend! Today, I’m recommending Hemmingway App.
The Hemmingway App is pretty incredible because it helps to improve the flow and structure of your written content. It gives your writing a grade level, and highlights things like passive voice, hard to read sentences, and more.
Most people use it for their novels, but I wanted to mention it in today’s episode because when writing any kind of marketing copy content, it builds credibility to ensure everything flows smoothly and is easy to read.
If it’s not, there are thousands of other posts luring your reader away at any given time and it only takes a second of disengagement to lose them.
If you want to check out the Hemmingway App, I’ve got a link in the show notes so that you can easily go take a look. Make sure you do after the show.
Okay, we’re back!
So the first thing you want to do when writing a storytelling piece of content is:
1) Find a topic that connects with your audience
Now, this is going to depend on where you’re using this piece—maybe it’s going on your website, or maybe it’s appearing in your social media feed. Wherever it’s going, make sure it’s relevant to the place and is focused on just one topic or message.
For example, if you want to pitch to your audience that your book is releasing next week, instead of saying something like:
“My Book is out next week—make sure to pre-order it!”
You might share a story about what inspired the book in the first place and lead into what readers can expect from it.
Or, you might share how much work it took to get the book to this stage and how excited you are for it to release into the world.
Now, a couple of things to keep in mind here:
- Does your topic give value to your reader—meaning will they come out of reading it feeling more knowledgeable, more entertained, more excited, more empowered? Etc.
- Does this topic relate back to your book somehow? (Because the whole point is to make sure the content is selling your book, after all).
Once you have your topic, the next thing you want to do is:
2) Make them feel something
Remember how I said people buy based on feelings?
Think about it—when you shop for something, you’re using driven to buy based on a feeling and not rationality. That part usually comes in later when you get to the objections part of the sales process.
First and foremost, you’re seeing something you want and you’re feeling a desire to buy it. Perhaps because it’s cool, or because it’ll make you look nice, or because it’s going to make your life easier and minimise frustration.
For example, I’ve been thinking about buying a rice cooker for a while now. There’s one I’ve been eyeing which is only $15.00, and I happen to love rice so I would definitely use it.
But I can also cook steamed rice pretty well in a saucepan. It’s a little harder to do and I don’t necessarily love doing it, but it’s working for me—so I haven’t felt the need to buy the rice cooker.
I still want to just because I know I’ll use it and I know it’ll make cooking rice easier, but I can’t justify the purchase.
That’s where feelings come in.
You want to get people past those objections they’re having—the need or desire might already be there because you’ve written a great book and it sounds interesting.
But will they enjoy it? Is it worth risking $15.00?
What about all the other books on their TBR pile they have to get through?
And didn’t a really reputable author just release a new book recently?
Why choose your book over someone else’s?
When using storytelling posts, it’s important that you deeply understand your ideal reader and exactly what kind of book they’re looking for, and then convey to them how it’s going to feel reading a book like yours.
Let’s come back to the rice cooker again real quick—if the rice cooker packaging I’d been eying had painted a picture of me enjoying delicious, fluffy rice that rivalled my local Chinese shop, cooked in half the time of using a saucepan, and meant I didn’t have to soak the rice for 30 minutes beforehand… that probably would have pushed me to make the purchase in the moment.
And I’d probably be very happy that I did!
But the rice cooker didn’t tell me that story—it was just a cheap rice cooker, and that simply wasn’t enough to persuade me.
So do more than tell your audience stories—show them. Take them on a journey. Probe a bit at their pain points and help them to feel different emotions. I know you’re already a pro at this because as writers, we’re doing this on a daily basis in our novels!
Now, the final thing you want to do is:
3) End with a relevant call to action
It’s no use telling your audience a bunch of stories if they don’t lead your people anywhere. Make sure you’re always telling people what you want them to do next.
If your aim is to get people to buy your book, tell them where they can purchase it.
If you’re trying to grow your email list, let people know there’s a signup link in your bio.
This last step is easy, but super important and you definitely don’t want to skip it!