Winsday Wisdom – You don’t need to be Tolkien to write a white paper on “Elf and Safety”

This week, Greg is reflecting on meeting one of Britain’s most successful writers, David Walliams, and how learning to tell stories is one of the greatest marketing skills you can learn (or hire).

So, are you sitting comfortably? Read on to discover more…

In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit.

Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Thank you Mr Tolkien,  a most useful introduction because the problem with MOST marketing is that it is all a bit, well, meh.

It doesn’t make you feel comfortable like the legendary opening to “The Hobbit”, nor does it make you feel UNCOMFORTABLE.

In fact, it rarely makes you FEEL anything at all.

The reason?

You aren’t telling stories.

Try this:

“It was after I bundled Richard Branson through a security door that I knew I loved my job!”

I’ve used that anecdote many times because it is the beginning of a story that explains how I help people with their PR.

It also creates intrigue, it entertains AND it informs.

The problem is, far too much marketing focuses only on the latter.

Last month, I found myself face-to-face with David Walliams.

Winsday Wisdom - David Walliams

After some polite chit-chat and the obligatory photo-opp (David insisted) I made a note to write about this encounter.

You see, David is not only the co-creator of “Little Britain”, he is also one of the best selling children’s authors of all time!

I’m not suggesting you go out there creating Gangsta Grannies or Billionaire Boys but it might help if you injected some more colour into your case studies.

“It was a crisp February morning when we pulled onto the disused wasteland…” is a far more promising start to a case study about groundworks than the usual Client, Location, Size format!

I know writing does not come easily to everyone but we don’t need “War and Peace”.

We need something that breaks the monotony, that speaks to the target audience.

We need stories.

So next time you start working on some copy for your “About Us” page of your website, or an award submission or a case study, become a storyteller, even if just for a little while.

Remember, you don’t need to be Tolkien to write a white paper on “Elf and Safety”!

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