The foundation of good copywriting is good storytelling.
There’s a reason John Caple’s article They Laughed When I sat Down By the Piano, But When I Started to Play! is still considered one of the most brilliant pieces of copywriting of all time.
Caples didn’t simply make a pitch. He told a story. A story that spoke to his readers—their desires, their hopes, their dreams. And that allowed him to turn those readers into customers far better than any pitch could.
And that, in short, is the essence of copywriting.
Telling a story. A story wherein your reader is the central character. A story so irresistible that your reader realizes that they like being in this story . . .
And they’re willing to take the desired action—pay money, sign up, click on the link—to make it a reality.
But here’s the catch.
Copywriting might be built on storytelling.
But copywriting is not the same as storytelling.
In creative writing, your goal is to entertain. To write stories that sweep your reader away and make them forget, if only for a moment, about everything else.
As a copywriter, your job is to make them take an action.
If entertaining them will make that happen, then entertain. If telling a story will make that happen, then tell a story. If haughty and insulting copy will make it happen, then that’s what you need to do.
As a copywriter, you’re no different to a carpenter or fix-it man. You have a toolkit. Storytelling is in that toolkit--as is comedy, psychology, persuasion, and whatever else it takes to get the job done.
Your story isn’t your end-goal.
The action is.
Eli Landes is one of those weird writers who just can't get enough. A marketing writer by day and a fiction writer whenever he can squeeze in the time, he spends his spare time working on his novel, writing short fiction, or daydreaming (I mean, researching). His main genre is Jewish fiction, but he's been known to dabble in the weird, the absurd, and the truly dark.