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« Barnum & Hyping Up Your Event | Main | Words & Your Event Promotion »

Your Event, Stories that Sell, and P.T. Barnum

Stories are a powerful way of presenting information. They are also a powerful sales catalyst. People have a much easier time relating to information presented in a powerful and persuasive story than they do “just the facts.” When trying to sell your event, inject a passionate writing and story into your marketing.

Write Passionately and Find a Compelling Story

Joice_illusOne place where painfully polished grammar and strict academic vernacular should take a back seat is when crafting your advertising and promotions. When is the last time you read a story and thought to yourself, “that story was amazing, I have to tell my friends about how grammatically correct it was!” This isn't to say you should use intentionally bad grammar, because that won't serve you very well. Just don't focus so much on grammar, that you lose your reader in the process. 

People love stories because of how a story can  resonate at a deep personal level. It’s OK to sacrifice some grammar for a compelling story.  I know my English composition teacher probably wants to reach through the screen and strangle me, but it’s true.  Highly technical writing is very boring to read.

Some of the greatest marketers on Earth have sales letters and copy riddled with improper grammar and spelling mistakes. Ironically enough poor use of the English language doesn't stop people from purchasing, because they buy in droves.

Below is some ad copy from the New York Sun advertisement written by P.T. Barnum. He writes about the supposed nurse of President George Washington. Notice the style of passionate writing . . .

GREAT ATTRACTION AT NIBLO'S -- UNPARALLELED LONGEVITY . . .
Joice Heth is unquestionably the most astonishing and interesting curiosity in the world! She was the slave of Augustine Washington (the father of Gen. Washington) and was the first person who put cloths [sic] on the unconscious infant who was destined to lead our heroic fathers on to glory, to victory, and to freedom. To use her own language when speaking of her young master, George Washington, "SHE RAISED HIM!"

Joice Heth was born on the island of Madagascar, on the coast of Africa, in the year of 1674, and has consequently now arrived at the astonishing age of ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-ONE YEARS!!! She weighs but FORTY-SIX POUNDS, and yet is very cheerful and interesting. She retains her faculties in an unparalleled degree, converses freely, sings numerous hymns, relates many interesting anecdotes of the boy Washington, the red coats, and often laughs heartily at her own remarks, or those of the spectators. Her health is perfectly good, and her appearance very neat. . .

The appearance of this marvellous relic of antiquity strikes the beholder with amazement, and convinces him that his eyes are resting on the oldest specimen of mortality they ever before beheld . . .

Source: New York Sun, August 21, 1835.

Are you using persuasive and passionate writing to get people excited about your event? Try to find a way to craft a story around your event and be passionately descriptive in how you write sales copy. Leave the hum-drum writing for academia.

The information above is applicable to almost any form of advertisement: email, billboards, posters, direct mail, etc. If you aren't creating compelling copy with a powerful story you're selling your event short.

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