The Trojan War raged for 10 long years before the Greeks used the Trojan Horse to enter the city of Troy and end the conflict. The Greeks filled an enormous wooden horse with their most cunning soldiers. The rest of their army then sailed away leaving the horse on the beach.
The Trojans found the horse and dragged it into Troy as a symbol of their victory. Once the statue was inside, the Trojans celebrated the end of the 10 year-long war in style.
That night, when the people of Troy were all passed out from celebrating, the Greek soldiers slid out of the horse, opened the huge gates that had held back the Grecian army for 10 years and let in the army that had pretended to sail away.
Everybody knows the story of the Trojan Horse. And everybody knows the lesson behind that story: “beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” Or a more modern rendition could be to never trust your enemies when they are making suspicious overtures. Probably the most modern example is the email you get saying you won the lottery and all you have to do is give your social security number.
1) If someone simply told you to be aware when your enemies are offering you nice things, would you listen to them? 2) What if an authority figure (parent, teacher, coach, etc.) told you that you shouldn’t lie? 3) Or if that authority figure simply said, “You should be nice to people because it pays off.”
Compare those statements to 1) the story of the Trojan Horse, 2) to The Boy Who Cried Wolf and 3) Cinderella.
Stories are inherently more engrossing than basic facts.
A few years ago I bought a pair of $300 Bose Noise Canceling Headphones because I frequently traveled on airplanes. About a year into owning the headphones, I broke them. I don’t even remember how. I called up Bose customer service to tell them about it fully expecting a grumpy customer service rep to tell me that the warranty was over and I had to buy a new pair at full price. I was even ready to pay for them to fix the headphones. Well, when I called the rep said, “fix them?? We’ll just send you a new one in the mail.” To which I replied, “How much will that cost me?” She replied, “It’s free, and we’ll send it two-day mail so you have them before your next flight.”
These stories are much more readable and much more shareable than just saying, “Bose Headphones are great” or “Be nice to others.”
What is your Trojan Horse? What is the “Bose Headphones” story that you can share with your audience that they will share with their friends?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re writing stories for your business:
- Identify your target market. My Bose story is great, but what if my target doesn’t want or need headphones?
- Distribute your stories through your blog. You can also create eBooks and distribute your stories through email and places like Amazon.
- Have testimonials on your website. If you’re an insurance agent, a story from one of your customers about how you saved the day is much better than you telling the world how great you are. And make sure your website is designed well so people can find and share these great stories.
Now go build your Trojan Horse – A story that people will share, while talking about your product or service along the way.
To your continued success,
Hendrik de Vries