It’s Only A Good Story If It’s Yours
I wrote a damn good story for a client’s LinkedIn. My client rejected it.
It showcased a remote worker’s triumphs from living with his parents to being able to build his own house at age 35. I hooked the reader with the juxtaposition of the post’s hero making $2/hr at his previous job while his boss flew around in a private jet. Then I showed how his life had changed since being hired by my client’s company, culminating with his ability to start building his very own house. I ended with an appeal to the audience to treat remote workers like people with real dreams (and real expenses) and in turn reap the benefits of a dedicated, talented, and inspiring workforce.
I tweaked the post to make it as punchy and powerful as I could, until it was ready to go live and get my client some real traction.
All that work, and my client turned it down.
He acknowledged it was a compelling post. But it wasn’t the story he wanted to tell. Now in my defense this was a brand new client that had been passed onto me by a previous ghostwriter. I didn’t have time to do much research on the client’s voice ahead of time, so I had no idea he wouldn’t get behind such a divisive angle. But in that rejection, I learned everything about my new client.
The story he wanted to tell wasn’t distracted by shock value or putting someone down – even if that person was an exploitative jerk off. Instead, my client wanted to focus the whole post on the positives about the post’s main subject, how great an employee he is, and how he deserves all the success he can get.
When I sat down to do the rewrite, I’ll admit it wasn’t as fun. It wasn’t as easy to make it compelling. Any copywriter knows that a negative angle is usually where you can stir the emotion and deliver a solid story arch.
But none of that was the point.
My client was protecting his brand personality by protecting his values. Like I teach in my VIVID personality process for brands, values (the second V in vivid) is both the most difficult and the most vital piece of the process. When a company crystalizes their values it informs every part of their brand’s personality from a solid and relatable place.
My experience with this client’s post is a perfect example of how a clear brand personality informs the story you tell, and more importantly, how you tell it. I’ll close here how I opened this short illustration. A story is only a good story… be it true or made up… if the story is YOURS.
Hi! I’m Annie Aaroe, a b2b marketing strategist. To find out more about story-driven, conversion copy and strategy that’s tailored for tech and SaaS brands, visit my website, aaroewriting.com, or shoot me an email at email@example.com.