Musing 02: the power of story

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Musing 02: the power of story

New musings go out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:00 AM PST. To subscribe, go here:

Subject: $$$ tip: story, dating coaches, creeps

I didn’t learn the power of story by reading books, writing copy, or doing a deep dive into human psychology. I learned the power of story through movies and T.V. shows. 

More specifically, movies and T.V. shows that centered around a “negative” main character (in the eyes of society). 

You know the type…

Murderers. 

Drug dealers. 

Kidnappers.

Privileged, snobby rich kids.

Stuck up influencers.

Creeps.

Aka people who society views with disgust and hatred. 

And obviously for good reason!

Yet it was these shows (above all else) that first taught me the power of story.

How exactly, you ask? Well, growing up I would typically watch these shows with siblings/friends and I was naturally wired to be observant. 

In the beginning of the show when my friends/siblings first discovered what the negative character was up to, they would REALLY dislike him/her and make all sorts of comments…

“This guy is such a creep!” 

“Whoa this guy is so Fd up in the head!”

“I can’t believe people like that exist!”

And on and on the comments would go…

And again, these comments had truth to them. But as the show would go on, I would notice that their opinion on the main “negative” character would slowly, but surely start to change. 

By the end of the show/season: 

They would like/love the character. 

Needless to say, this REALLY intrigued me as a young marketer…

“How on earth are the screenwriters getting people to change their mind on x character in a matter of just hours?” 

This was such an important question (to me) because this was directly in alignment with my work in marketing/persuasion. 

So I investigated with a closer eye…

Before long, it quickly became apparent that each T.V. show and/or movie was using more or less the same formula:

First they would show you the dark-side of the negative character in full force and get you all riled up with judgments/hatred (initial impression). Then overtime, they would slowly, but surely start to humanize the negative character by leveraging the power of story. 

This story often involved them shedding light on what the negative character went through in childhood / early life that shaped/molded him into the person he became today. 

The scenarios shown during the person’s childhood were either very relatable to the general public (i.e. growing up with an abusive alcoholic father) or ones that would invoke strong doses of empathy (i.e. a helpless kid that is abandoned by his parents, left in shit environment).  

As a result: 

Now the viewer would no longer view this person as ‘other’, but would start to see small pieces of themselves in the negative character and start thinking to themselves: 

“I understand why this person became who they are today. If I had gone through those horrible experiences, maybe I too would’ve ended up like him/her.” 

This in return would replace initial feelings of rage/hatred with empathy and relatability/likeability by the time the show ended. 

Obvious stuff, right? 

For sure, but this was a BIG insight for me at the time that would go on to help make me/clients a lot of money, but before I tell you how… I want to share with you one more example. 

I don’t know where I read this, but I remember reading something once that went something like this:

If you tell somebody to bring to mind their worst enemy, they will be full of rage and hatred over the thought of this person. But if you sat them down and showed them the full, uncensored story of their “enemies” life full of all the pain, heartache, struggle, abandonment, frustration, despair they faced and how that shaped them, then by the end (at the bare minimum) the hate/rage wouldn’t be as high, but would instead be replaced with feelings of empathy and maybe even guilt for hating that person so much.

If you don’t believe that, then you can prove it to yourself by reading a biography of someone ‘negative’. 

I recently did this with a notorious dictator that caused a lot of harm for his people. At the beginning of the book, I thought the guy was a goof. By the end of the biography, I was like sheeeeeet his life was Fd, no wonder he grew up to do what he did. 

Again, not excusing negative behavior here, but more so just showing how powerful story is. 

It can transform one’s opinion and emotions from x to y in a very short period of time (unlike any other marketing asset at your disposal). 

This is why it’s crucial to study/understand story for nothing persuades/influences like a good story. 

SOOO with all that stated, how exactly did I first leverage all this to make money for myself and clients? 

Many ways, but here’s one of my favorite ways:

Favorite way: By humanizing my clients through the initial welcome sequence that involved sharing raw, uncensored, painful, and true stories that would create relatability/trust/connection/likeability with the audience instead of the emotions/feelings they initially felt. 

Example: Let’s say you’re working with a dating coach that helps guys get dates with beautiful women. 

Now let’s assume the dating coach is tall, good looking, built, and has status/money/whatever. 

On the surface, this isn’t going to really fly. 

The audience is going to react negatively to this guy. 

“He has all the advantages in the world… how could he have a problem with dating… how could he help me… he doesn’t understand the struggles of being ugly and short… he doesn’t understand my pain… etc.”

They’ll think to themselves. 

As a result, they won’t want to buy from him or like him.

Instead, they’ll be like “F this guy.” 

(Same way people first react negatively to negative characters in movies/T.V. shows aka surface level impression). 

But now let’s say you know the power of story, so you go up to this dating coach and you tell him: 

“Yo bro, this shit isn’t going to work. 

Not like this. We have to humanize you and make you see eye-to-eye with your audience. Otherwise we’re Fd.” 

THEN you interview the client and find REAL “marketing gold” that he would’ve probably looked past on his own. Raw and real personal stories (that are relatable). Ugly photos. Painful insecurities. Embarrassing mistakes he made with women that turned them off. All the negative feelings/emotions/judgments he felt. Stories of getting cheated on.

You know. The real gold

(All have to be true BTW!)

Then with your welcome sequence you’d take all that gold and craft up a story that went something like this: 

“You probably think getting dates with beautiful women was a complete breeze for a guy like me. After all, I was lucky enough to be blessed with good genes, height (6’2), and a family who worked in the oil industry (so money was never an issue for me). 

But actually that wasn’t the case… Because believe it or not here’s what I looked like just a few years ago:

[ugly photo would go here] 

And worst, here’s a journal entry I wrote to myself on [x date]

[raw and real journal entry highlighting insecurities would go here] 

As you can see…

[Continue with rest of the email/story]

– 

That was just quickly jotted down off the top of my head, but hopefully you get the point here? 

By doing this, we would change the opinion the audience had about the client (in a good way – from “F this guy, he doesn’t understand me” to “Holy shit, we dealt/face/felt same crippling hurdles), build trust/likeability, and then go on to move a lot of product that helped them get results, plus made my client money. 

This was all accomplished through the power of story. 

So learn it for it’s one of the greatest skills to possess.

Your friend, 

/tej 

p.s. The Netflix Show “You” is a great example of all this. In the beginning of the show, girls on social media were outraged at the main character for being a disgusting creep. 

By the end of whatever season they’re on, girls on social media were falling in love with the main character. 

Fs up with that brah?

I don’t know. 

But something tells me it has to do with the power of story

(Story can be used to influence positively or negatively. Be aware of this and how sometimes you fall victim to story over facts.)

p.s.s. A lot of internet marketers F up IMO. 

They create an image of status with fancy cars, planes, and hot girls. 

And try to paint this narrative that they got it all down.

But the issue is… this isn’t very relatable to the audience they’re trying to sell to. Instead, it would be better to dig deep into one’s depth and pull out the real stories. 

Stories of how you heard your mom shit talking you about your online biz dreams. Screenshot of when your account hit a negative balance. Stories of how you were working a dead end job, trying to build your freelance copy biz on the side, and how horrible/dreadful it used to feel working night and day, but getting zero results. You know, the real shit. People don’t trust a lambo. People trust a good story. 

Leverage it, my friend. 

p.s.s.s. Unrelated, but recently put together this quick and dirty links page that details some of the various free + paid Clicks&Copy offers. If you want more, give it a quick glance:

https://links.clicksandcopy.com/

Cheers & may today be a legendary day. 

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