Episode 1: Storytelling
Way back when, the podcast you know and love was called “Freebie Friday.”The name change is a long story described in this blog post. In this first episode, JT discusses what the podcast is and covers the topic of storytelling.
You can listen to the episode right here. The transcription is below the player. Feel free to add your comments using the comment section below.
Episode 1 Transcript
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00:00 [JT Pledger] Welcome to freebie Friday everybody this is episode 1 and today we will discuss what exactly this podcast is and our first episode topic which is storytelling.
What Is This Podcast?
00:28 [JT Pledger] All right let’s jump right in. First off what is this podcast? This podcast, “Freebie Friday,” is brought to you by ExtraDraft.com. It is a Tips & Tricks add-on for the multiple video courses that we have available on the site. On site you will find the 5-Draft Method course, that one outlines novel-writing.
00:58 We also have a passive income and a work from home video course that will be available. They… they will cover various writing styles and uhh.. passive income opportunities and how to make them happen for you. So be sure to check those out.
01:19 Umm, this podcast though, what it is is it’ll be a weekly little add-on for one or more of those courses that I want to expand upon. Or give you a little tip, a little trick, some fancy tidbit or we may have guests on that want to expand on more of what they’ve done with the courses and we will bring those to you here weekly. So we can look forward to all that.
This is About Storytelling
01:50 The the first topic that I want to bring up to you that really isn’t covered in all of the courses is storytelling. Thi.. uhh.. Storytelling envelops every type of writing that you can do whether you’re writing a novel, a script, an email campaign, web copy… you know, whatever it is, there’s gonna be a story involved or at least there should be and I’m going to tell you exactly why today.
02:20 First off let’s start with with the novels and movie scripts. Obviously, the whole point of those is to tell a story, so there’s going to be a major style of storytelling that gets put into a novel or a screenplay that’s drawn out over the course of that entire book. You know, you have your… your different plots, or your subplots, or your character arcs and development and, you know, the… the supporting characters and supporting casts and how they deal with things and all these little stories kind of come together and that it really makes sense when you think about it. Obviously, you’re reading a story, you go to a movie: you watch a story… and that’s what these things are about.
It’s How You Connect With The Reader
03:05 But it’s important to know that when you’re sitting down to write a novel or to, to… hash out a screenplay what the main story is how are you gonna connect with the reader or the viewer. How are you gonna put butts in seats in those theaters, or sell a book through Amazon or through, you know, Barnes & Noble or wherever you get your books and have them open it and want to continue to read it?
Characters Are Also Important, But…
03:39 The biggest draw is going to be your story. Now, obviously, there are some aspects, you know, that you you read a book because you really like the character, if it’s a repeating character. Umm, one that comes to mind off the top of my head obviously it’s Odd Thomas. Now those were really great books, I love Dean Koontz but some of the Odd Thomas books weren’t as good as the other ones. But, I read them cover to cover because I loved the character.
04:12 But that is a really rare instance and there have been several books that I have opened and put down right away, you know, after the first couple chapters because I just I wasn’t into the story. And so it’s very important that when you’re writing the novel that your story is the main draw, you know? So you want to make sure that you have that fleshed out. Now, now in the course, obviously, we’re gonna go over all of that. But I just wanted to touch on that in this podcast there, because I didn’t want to leave out, you know, the 5-Draft Method in this, uhh, inaugural podcast, if you will.
Storytelling is Not Just For Novelists
04:53 But let’s move on, because the more important thing here is for the others. For you copywriting out there, your ghostwriting or your… if you’re working to on an email campaign or you know whatever it is. If you’re… if you’re trying to get your website up and have visitors come and stay, or read the entire page so they can get to the “Buy Me Now” button at the bottom and actually click it.
05:21 A lot of the things that are missing from these aspects are stories and just like with a novel you have to be able to connect with that viewer, you know? When you are writing a novel or a screenplay you have a lot longer, you know, in a typical novel they usually give you about the first 15 to 20 pages to..to connect with, with your audience. In a movie, you know, you, you, you get a good 5 to 10 minutes worth of movie to really draw them in and make them want to stay to see how this is gonna turn out.
06:00 On a web page or in an email you have about four seconds, okay? You know you have to have the catchy headline or the subject line. You know you have to have the first couple paragraphs in, that really draw them in and make them want to continue to read. And the way that you do that is with a story, and you actually want to connect with your target audience based on that story.
Storytelling Connects With Readers
06:29 And if you’ve heard me talk about this before on some of the social media sites, the Facebook groups that I post in to help out in, or anything else like that you may have heard me even referenced this before. One topic I continuously go back to is one that I did a couple of years ago where I had a client come to me complaining that their webpage wasn’t producing enough turnover.
There Was a Problem
07:00 They were getting a lot of visits a day but they weren’t getting the… the clicks. They weren’t getting the buys. They, you know, they weren’t converting sales. And so, they said what, you know, can you take a look at it see what’s wrong with it? Why, why are we getting, you know, almost four thousand visitors a day to this page, but not very many sales at all? I was like okay I’ll take a look at it.
07:25 The first thing I noticed was that they had a lot of information. And that’s great! You want to be able to tell everybody. And what they were selling on this page was a new style of dog collar as similar to those, uhh electric fences, the invisible fences but it was a new take on that. So it was a relatively new product and people were interested in it, you could tell by the numbers. But they just weren’t connecting with it enough to want to buy it.
The Didn’t Connect
07:57 And the first thing after the information, everything that I noticed was that these guys had no way to connect with their target audience. And obviously, in this situation, your target audience is gonna be people that owned a dog or thinking about owning a dog, and there are several ways that you can connect with them. Especially if you do own a dog or you run a business selling things for people that own a dog; you should be able to connect with this audience very easily.
They Were Missing a Story
08:30 And what they were lacking on their page was a story. And when I say a story I’m not talking about, you know, you’re not gonna have to scroll through 27 paragraphs. I mean, this can be something that’s done as simple as two sentences up to a couple paragraphs, maybe you know its own little section at the very top of the page. It comes in a form where the reader or the visitor to the page glances over it and then they connect. They mentally connect with what’s going on on that web page or in that email. They can identify with you, you’re identifying with them. There’s that connection, it builds automatic, instantaneous trust and that is the most important thing. They’re not gonna buy from you if they don’t trust you.
First, Make a Quick Evaluation
09:29 So, all I did was I relayed their page, I took out some of the more detailed information off of the page. I made the page shorter, easier to read. You know, you’d have all the copywriting tricks, you know, two sentences per paragraph, split them up, add a lot of subheadings, pictures things like that and most of that they already had.
09:53 But, I took out some of the detailed work and in its place at the very top of the page I added a story that had happened to me when I was a kid. When my dog got out of the front door and ran through the yard, down the driveway into the road, turned the corner and got hit by a car. And right away you can tell that if you are a dog owner this is a big fear. Especially if you don’t have a fenced-in front yard. Uhh, you don’t, obviously, want your dog to be hit by a car.
Then, You Fix it
10:35 So, my story gained two types of visitors. It gained the type that were there because they were scared that their dog was going to get away or get outside of the boundary. And.. and then I confirmed that through my story, that the worst possible thing that could happen actually happened. And that triggers the empathy and sympathy response in the visitor.
11:09 So not only have I now connected with two different types of people, I have the ones that are on my side; they’ve connected with me, they trust me now more because they sympathize with what I have gone through. Maybe they have had a similar instance or they get a new puppy because their old dog has passed away. Maybe it didn’t even have to get hit by a car. But the losing of a pet is a very profound, emotional disturbance, you know? Just like losing a kid or a parent. And so, you connect with those people that way. Or, you have first-time pet owners that are scared that it’s going to happen and then they come in they read this little story.
It Didn’t Take Much
11:58 It took up three paragraphs, I think it was. Maybe a total like eight or nine lines to tell my little tale. But the point of it was you’re either scared this is going to happen or it has happened. You can sympathize with that it happened to me. And we have that instant connection now through these words, on the page, right at the very beginning. And you’re going to read the rest of it, you’re already there. Now you’re scared it’s going to happen to your pet. Or it has happened and you want to see if there’s something that you can do to prevent it from happening again.
12:38 And just by doing that– by adding that story to their webpage– within two weeks their sales increased 14%. In two weeks. Just from adding a story. Because that’s all we had to do was connect with the audience.
The Power of Storytelling
12:58 And that is what a story does. So, whether you’re writing a novel, you’re writing a screenplay, maybe you’re writing a TV episode. Or you’re doing, you know, uhh… a transcript for a video, or if you’re doing copywriting, ghostwriting, you write a long-form article, a sales page. Whatever it is, find a way to connect with the target audience through a story to gain that instant trust. Whether it be through fear, sympathy, empathy… Tell your story and they will stick around. And if you tell it well enough and they connect with you and they trust you, they’re gonna make it to the bottom of the page. And they’re going to click the button.
Come Back for More
13:53 Alright guys that is going to do it for the first episode. I hope you enjoyed it. Umm, next week we will have a totally different topic and we will go into more detail. Umm, I’m not gonna spoil what that is now. But if you go to ExtraDraft.com you can sign up for the Freebie Friday newsletter. You can also join the Freebie Friday course which is just these podcasts in one spot it is free or you can go through iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher… your favorite podcast search engine, you can find the podcast there. Umm, otherwise, if you do sign up for the newsletter, you will get a heads up about what the next episodes are gonna be. If you join the course you will get it a day early otherwise, I will see you next Friday!