How to Write a Story That Sells

How to Write a Story That Sells

Reader Comments (80)

  1. Brian, thanks for the tips. I got into blogging to tell stories and I haven’t been doing that as much lately. The stories I told when I started, got the blog off to huge start. But storytelling must be simple and understandable, nothing complex like fiction. And it has to have a payoff for the reader if you want them to stay and subscribe. This post is a good reminder to get back to the basics, thanks. Best wishes on all your endeavors.

  2. Brian, nice story and a strong call to action. I always used to wonder how people come up with stories so easily. Now I understand how easy it is. The main thing is that the elements should be in place and our copy should have some emotional effect on the buyer right?

    One question: When copywriting for others, do you come up with your own story or ask the product owner for a story and you develop it?

    Thanks for the good article

  3. Ramkarthik, the story should be the client’s if it’s a case story. The copywriter just figures out how to tell it well.

    If a client has no customer success stories (maybe its a brand new business) than you would look for other sources, such as news or historical anecdotes that allow you to create a compelling story that supports the goals of the business.

  4. Brian, thanks for reply. I have been freelance writing but have never written a copy before. I have just started to learn copywriting. I’m also in the process of creating a swipe file which has examples for every element of a sales copy like headline, opening lines, bullets etc. And for story, I’ll add this to my swipe file.


  5. Brian,

    Exactly what I needed to hear today!

    I’m working on a step-by-step course on how to start your own home-based business and some hero stories about folks who have done just that in “bad” economic times might be the best way to get my message across.

    If you or any of your readers have a story to share, please let me know.

    Thanks again for all you do to help others in the blogosphere.

  6. Brian,

    Excellent post. Great step-by-step guidelines.

    People love to read good stories. Writing good narratives is one of the most important skills one can learn. It’s interesting to note that even some journalists are now favoring the narrative format as opposed to the old “inverted pyramid” which listed details in descending order of importance.

    Steve DeVane

  7. Brian, you just gave me an idea about how to adapt, an online app I’m incubating, to help bloggers template out a narrative post… hmm. I’ll have to play around with that thought.

    Thanks for this great post. What a great approach you’ve suggested.

  8. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the excellent example of how to apply the hero-story concept to a customer story. There are a number of companies out there that make storytelling the very foundation of ALL their sales, marketing and PR communications and it’s been extremely successful for them –,, Sage Software (, etc. The key is using those stories everywhere you can once captured – in written, electronic and verbal communications.


  9. This is great advice. I always enjoy reading copy that is more of a personal story rather than a sales pitch. Even with magazine articles, for instance, it’s easier to relate to if you put your message in the context of a person’s story. Awesome post!

  10. Nailing the headline is a big one. It’s often the first thing your visitors will see and one of the only things they may take away from reading your article.

  11. These are some great tips. I like that you linked story telling to selling. Very interesting.
    I am about to launch an ebook on how to make money commenting in the nexy week and I will definately use these tips to do that effectively. Thanks

  12. Hi Brian,

    I’ve been struggling in my head with how to create a story that sells for months upon months now, and have been at a loss on how to do it.

    It was only with this play by play breakdown that the ideas are really starting to flow.

    Thanks for the carefully done analysis, and hope to see more such breakdowns, both here and elsewhere.

    Maybe it doesn’t seem like such a big deal to you and others who are familiar with these stories & their elements, but great examples like this with microscopic analysis really help connect the dots for those who don’t quite get it (yet).

  13. Wow…this is incredible advice. I love to narrate stories on my site. You’ve just provided some useful tips to make them more compelling! Thanks!

  14. Nice post. Sometimes it seems we try to think through things too much instead of just telling the story.

    It’s like telling a story of seeing the latest box office hit or a great vacation you just got back from. We just tell the story rather than being overly analytical.


  15. lovely thing about stories is that the reader tends to read themselves into roles in the story…

    of course, the story leads them to the conclusion that all will end well if they take the described course of action. therefore, if it helped Michelle, it’ll help me too.

    nice outline, brian. much helpful for laying it all out.

  16. As to the amount of copy to be written, I think David Ogilvy would disagree. Have you read any of his books?
    It’s amazing what was written 40 years ago is still important today.

  17. Hi, I find it hard to write constantly while keeping in mind everything about SEO optimizing and at the same time trying to keep the articles readible. I love this article but I’m unsure on whether I can apply it in the short time. Still, it’s a good one and thank you for sharing your idea.

  18. Great advice as usual, but I’d like to add the fact that you should also be careful not to begin every story with, “Once upon a time” or to end with “and they all lived happily ever after.”

  19. Hey Brian,

    What is referred to as “the greatest sales letter of all time” is actually a story in its own right. I’m sure you heard of it — the Wall Street Journal comparing the lives of two business people, one who subscribed and one who didn’t.

    (Actually, just found out you DO know about it, and blogged about it here: Wall Street Journal Letter)

    Not to take away from your example, by any means. But this is the first thing that popped into my mind when I started reading this post, and is a great example of your point.


  20. This blog is very educational. Thanks for taking the time to writing this post. As a blogger that has just began his own blog this post will help me along the way.

  21. With the money market and the housing market in chaos, web bloggers have an interesting opportunity to help a lot of people build their online businesses through effective communication, I think your article here is a perfect example of how to help people write better stories on their sites to increase readers.

  22. Hi Brian, You are so AWESOME! Thanks for the wonderful posting on writing a story.
    I’m going to use it to do a format guideline for a 15 minute presentation that’ I’ve been working on for a “Women in Wellness” event in Jan.. So your timing was perfect!
    Happy New Year!
    419-350-9058 cell

  23. This is quite possibly the best article I’ve seen on the Copyblogger site. And that’s saying something, because I think this site is generally exceptional.

    Also a great reminder to create links to past articles throughout one’s site. 🙂

  24. good work Brian, the tips have been helpful for my assignment.
    thanxs alot and nice to have people like you who guide us to our dreams

  25. Hi Brian,

    Liked this a lot. We used the HERO approach in a very successful comedic strip for a supposedly “boring” topic. We got a write up on BNET, and lot of customer interest and distribution.

    Thanks again!

  26. great story writing article… with examples, even better. I’ve been trying like crazy to improve my writings and I see a couple of things you’ve mentioned here that could help.

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