“Stories are equipment for living.” – Kenneth Burke
True… but you need to make sure your “stories” are positive and forward-moving!
Enter customer spotlights: a unique form of content writing that sells. <— I explain in this post what a spotlight is, and why they’re a great form of MEI’ing (motivating, educating, and inspiring) your email subscribers and fans.
Now let’s dig into how to write and edit spotlights.
It’s not simply about copying and pasting a customer’s exact words verbatim and plopping them into an email. You need to think about how to present the story.
Spotlights use a strategic story structure that puts events and details in the right order. In fact, the effectiveness of spotlights is due largely to how they’re structured.
Mix that with copywriting principles that help facilitate sales, and you’ve got a winning combination.
Unless you’re a profesional writer like me, you probably don’t have the time or desire to master story structure by reading Robert McKee’s book, “Story.” Although his book is geared towards screenwriting, the principles also work well for business writing.
So here’s a quick cheat sheet for writing spotlights that sell…
6 Tips for Writing a Customer Spotlight That Brings Nice Profits:
1. A fan writes you a message with glowing praise about one of your products they purchased and used. “I love your product!” they gush… followed by some details on what they loved about it. Don’t just sit there… do something with that praise!
2. Reply and say, “That’s awesome! How did you hear about us? Can we feature your story in our newsletter?” Invite the fan/customer to say more. Usually they’ll be delighted to say yes.
3. Ask the fan a few questions designed to pull out more details about their experience. Get curious. This can include: “How did you hear about us?” “What help were you looking for?” “What problems were you trying to solve?” “What struggles did you experience before you found our product?” “What were the positive changes that took place after you started using the product?” (Insights every business owner should know to grow their biz.)
4. Edit all of the above into a short, 750-ish word email article that’s compelling to read, reads likes a mini movie, incorporates copywriting elements into it (such as a call to action, a P.S., and some creative, benefit-filled hyperlinks). It doesn’t need to sound like typical marketing speak at all. Edit it, or hire an editor.
5. Add your commentary, your twist, your spin… and fill the writing with educational content and principles that your business teaches. MEI people (motivate, educate, inspire).
6. Send the final email out to your list, so your readers can enjoy the article and buy the product mentioned in the spotlight. Share your content. Over time, your top fans will share their favorite emails of yours with their loved ones. Over time, your bank account will fatten up with profits.
7. Send your customer a “thank you” gift in the mail, for letting you use their story publicly. Put good energy out. This positive karma expands and multiplies the success and momentum of your business.
The Best Story Structure in a Nutshell:
Shit was bad. –> Shit got even worse (point of no return). –> A “gift” showed up (the product) to empower the person to save the day! They became the hero of their own life. All was better.