How Important is Storytelling in Copywriting?

How important is storytelling when it comes to copywriting

I recently reread Donald Miller’s Storybrand and it got me thinking… 

How important is STORYTELLING in copywriting? 🤔

For as long as I’ve been a copywriter (12+ years), businesses have been coming to me for “storytelling.”

They talk about it like it’s a silver bullet that’s going to somehow solve all their communication issues.

So many brands think storytelling is… 

⇢ A lofty mission statement 

⇢ A poetic manifesto (ugh that word 🤢)

⇢ Some long, esoteric “story” about their company

⇢ Vague headlines that seem “clever,” but don’t actually make sense 

They hire an expensive agency to build a “brand book” that looks pretty, but is filled with mookey-mahkey-gobbledy-gook (seriously, what I just wrote makes more sense to me than some of the stuff I see in brand books).

They take the contents of their brand book and slap it on their website without context or asking questions like “is this even relevant to the person reading it?” and “does this even make SENSE?!!”

They “purify” the story so it’s “customer facing” – leaving it devoid of any real emotion or meaning.

What’s left usually comes off as corny, tone deaf, disingenuous, and cringey – and unlike a real story, it’s not interesting or engaging.

And worst of all, it’s not going to help you SELL.

Your customers may like you. Hell, they may LOVE you.

But at the end of the day, your customers care about THEMSELVES – not the “story” you hired someone else to write, your “manifesto,” or whatever else is in your brand book.

Customers care about things like… 

⭐️ Your experience with the problem they have (and how you solved it)

⭐️ How your unique experience is relevant to them / their goals / challenges etc

⭐️ How your product will help them / make their lives better

⭐️ How it works (and if it fits into their lives)

⭐️ How your product has helped others like them (and if it will work for them)

⭐️ What it costs, if they can afford it, and how they can buy it

Wondering what that looks like in practice?

Check out this example from my client, Em Connors of The Creative Bodega (this is a snapshot from one of the many sales pages we worked on during her website revamp project):

As you can see, we’re not telling “any old story” on this page.

We’re telling a SPECIFIC story that speaks directly to (1) the challenges/goals of the target audience and (2) the product we’re selling.

That’s just one example, but hopefully this illustrates to you the difference between a story that sells and a story that falls flat.

Long story short?

YES, storytelling is an essential part of copywriting – but only when you make the customer, not your brand, the hero.


Storytelling is NOT appropriate for every single brand in every single context. 

Storytelling is like spice – it should be used in the appropriate amounts and in the right places (you wouldn’t eat an entire meal made of spice – you need other ingredients to make it taste balanced).

What do you think about storytelling in copywriting? Do you think it’s essential or total BS?

Comment below and lmk!

Get a new article every week!

Learn more about conversion copywriting, customer research, conversion tactics & more by subscribing to my weekly newsletter.