If you’re using online content to sell your product or service, one rule can set you apart from other businesses doing the same. Instead of only listing the facts and features of your product, steal the advantage by using content to tell a memorable story about your business.
The idea that powerful stories capture attention is nothing new, but knowing how to apply this technique to your business content can be a challenge.
That’s why in this new series, I’m listing some of the top screenwriting techniques that have been capturing and keeping audience attention for years, while showing you how to apply this to your online content such as your business blog.
Here’s number 1:
Use (customer) conflict to get attention in seconds
“I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being”
Gordie Lachance, Stand By Me
“3 Billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day.”
Sarah Connor, Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Gripping scripts open with drama, and drama is born from conflict. Lajos Egri, author of The Art of Dramatic Writing, (widely regarded as one of the best works about playwriting) stated that without conflict there is no story.
Conflict rouses emotions, propels characters into action, gives rise to heros and evokes empathy from the audience. Even upbeat and happy films will include obstacles for the characters to overcome.
With the 2 film examples above, notice how they immediately hit you with the premise of the stories without giving the whole plot away. The result? We’re gripped, we’re curious and we want to read more.
How to do this with your corporate content:
As a business publishing content to generate leads, the best way to attract potential customers is to solve a problem. During the research phase, your target buyer is looking for advice to help them.
How can you use this to find conflict?
- Highlighting insecurities and worries: Does your reader worry about competitors? Do they worry about being good enough? Do they worry they won’t succeed? Do they worry they’re not following their dreams? Are they concerned about making mistakes?
- Highlighting what customers want to achieve (but haven’t as yet): What is the goal you can help them achieve? Why aren’t they there yet? How can you help them?
- Highlight things customers should know (but don’t): What are the common mistakes you see in your industry? Is there something your readers should be doing that goes against the common trends?
Begin your blog post with a conflict close to your reader’s heart and you’ll get their attention within seconds.
Over to you…
What are some of the challenges facing your target market? Take a moment to list 3-4.
Now look at a recent publication of content from your business. Do you begin by addressing one of those challenges? Most companies start their content with background on the company. If you want to differentiate from your competition, make sure you start your content by focusing on the conflict your customer faces.
Want help on applying this technique to your content? Let me know in the comments below!