The biggest revelations about your work never come when you’re ‘at work’; but when you’re relaxing in some way.
In other words, when you’re least expecting it.
I was sitting in the garden on Sunday, flicking through my second book Simple Story Selling. The book outlines my email creation method, and examines plots from great literature to formulate better stories.
I’ve had good feedback about the book. People have told me it got them ‘unstuck’, helped them beat writer’s block and so on.
As I flicked through the pages however, something was bugging me.
The book has three sections. The first looks at the importance of stories, and why they work. The second outlines my 7-step email production process. The third looks at how to enhance your stories using the archetypal plot structure.
Which sounds great – in theory. But something about the book has been nagging at my subconscious. Scanning the pages on Sunday, I realised what it is.
The last two sections are out of order.
It isn’t much use knowing how to structure a story, if you don’t know what story you are trying to tell. Every copywriting project I’ve done recently has verified this.
The big challenge in writing a good email is knowing what you’re trying to say to begin with, even if you personally don’t write the emails.
The plot archetype structure isn’t so much an advanced technique for better emails, but rather something that should sit at the heart of your communications. It makes sense to identify your archetypal story first, and learn the production steps later. If indeed you even decide to write the emails yourself.
I’m thinking of arranging another Big Story Workshop to drill down on this, possibly in October. This will be for business owners who like the principles I write about, but never get time to work on them.
Would you be interested in taking three days out to:
1. Clarify your marketing message (you’ll come out with a different message to the one you currently have – guaranteed)
2. Determine what story should sit at the heart of your marketing
3. Map it onto the most appropriate plot archetype
4. Outline the emails into a plan you can give to a copywriter
I’m testing the water here for interest before I arrange anything. All I can tell you about logistics is it’ll be 3 days in Sheffield, and in October.
Just send me a quick note if you’re interested.
You aren’t committing to anything yet, just a loose ‘might be interested’.
P.S. This is what one delegate had to say about the last event (in January):
“If anything would have stopped me coming to the workshop it would have been: “can I afford to take the time out for three days?” I considered not coming because of the time, but it’s been absolutely worth it. I was about to push the button on some projects, but knowing what I now know I’m pushing hold until I have implemented what I now know, and then those projects will become more effective.
I’ve discovered the importance of storytelling, and the importance of telling stories that will either connect with our existing users to tell them about additional features, or potential users to tell them about the benefits of our software… and how the story is the lead that will cause people to take interest.
The experience of the event has been great. It’s made me do some soul searching about some personal stories; it’s made me not frightened to tell the downs in my story which I’d normally gloss over to make everything look great.
Even if you don’t intend using the copywriting techniques yourself, when you come away and understand the copywriting aspects you can find someone to do the writing for you. I’ve now got the confidence to go out and find another copywriter, and speak to them at a level where I’ll know whether or not they will actually produce what I need. So it’s given me the skills to do it if I want to do it, but also the skills to hire someone else if I need to.”