Stories matter more than anything else in our lives.
The literal among us want to believe the thing–whatever the thing might be–is what matters. I get it, and sure, the thing happened and it seems like the thing matters, but it’s the story that lives on forever.
The story lives in our memory. The event itself is ephemeral; the story is what we’ve got. The story is what matters now.
It’s not even the telling of the story that makes it matter. We don’t ever have to tell anyone our story for it to matter.
Remembering the story makes it matter.
Our lives are nothing other than our remembered stories.
Everything that ever happened is now a story. It’s all stories.
When lawyers ask me how to use stories in their marketing, I’m not sure how to answer the question, other than to ask, “How do you not use the stories in your marketing?” What else could a lawyer use?
The question flummoxes me
I advocate for lawyers to use stories in their marketing–on their websites, on social media, in advertisements, in videos, everywhere. Why? Because that’s what we’ve got available to us to use. It’s all we’ve got–at least, it’s all we’ve got that matters to anyone.
I push Rosen Institute members to tell their ideal client’s story and their own story as the cornerstones of their marketing. I suggest that they tell those two stories as their primary marketing approach.
When it gets very practical, when it’s time to write words for a website or create tweets or posts or find images for Instagram, it’s hard to figure out how to fit the stories onto the page.
It’s easier to say generic things like “we’re affordable, excellent, experienced problem-solvers.” It’s easier to identify the problem and offer to solve it. It’s easier still to just throw darts at a list of adjectives and call it a day. Our marketing platforms offer convenient places to put features and benefits and calls to action. Stories are awkward.
Telling stories is hard and working them into the marketing conversation is uncomfortable. But remember: stories are what matter. They’re all that matters. We all feel it, know it, and understand it, deep down.
When we tell a story, people draw near; we speak softly and they crane their necks, they stop checking their phone, and they want to know what happened next.
The stories are all we’ve got
When you ask me how to use them–well, they’re all you’ve got. How wouldn’t you use them?
A website, just because it’s one good example of marketing-come-to-life, can feature problems, and solutions, and biographies, and maps to the office. That’ll be a fine website, but not many people will care what it says, visit it, pay attention to it, or make a change because of it.
Or a website can feature a story of an ideal client who is grappling with the problem you solve. That website will draw people in, which will bring even more visitors, and will inspire action. Your phone will ring.
How do you include the story on the site? You just do it. You just stick it right there, front and center, where people will see it, read it, and get sucked into it. It may not be beautiful–yet. But nobody will care that it’s not well designed, or doesn’t look like the websites of other lawyers, or doesn’t make sense as a starting point. It’ll work because people will want to know what happened next in the story.
The story is all we’ve got–at least it’s all we’ve got that matters to anyone.
So how do you use a story on a website? You just tell it instead of doing what you used to do. You include the story and see how it goes. One day, sometime in the future, you might change the layout and design, you might make it look different, or maybe you’ll turn it into a video, or figure out a way to make it interactive. But none of that will matter, because it’s the story that matters.
When we tell someone else their story, they listen as hard as they’ve ever listened to anything. Why? Because it matters. It’s the only thing that matters.