Story Lead Checklist

They make many copywriters roll their eyes in disgust…

Wondering who gets sucked into this garbage.

But in certain markets, they work gangbusters.

What am I talking about?

Story leads!

You know the ones…

Those dramatic, over the top tales of people being rushed into hospital…

Women falling down stairs due to their weight…

And people having heart attacks on running machines.

A lot of copywriters might not like them…

But when done well…

Story leads work great!

Because in the wise words of John Carlton, “People are bored s%itless.”

And if you want to pull their attention away from Facebook…

Their favorite YouTube channel…

Or the million other digital distractions in people’s lives…

You’ve got to make a BIG impact…

And make it FAST..

Here are 6 key elements of a high converting story lead:

  1. High drama 

You want to bring in showmanship, sensationalism and imagine your writing the opening scene of a Hollywood blockbuster. Detective and romance novels are great sources of ideas for high drama openings.

  1. High stakes 

You want the story’s stakes to be as high as possible. So consider how you can make the hero’s struggle life and death, whether literal or in another sense, such as the loss of a relationship or losing people’s respect.

  1. Uses multiple senses

Talk about what the hero can see, feel and hear. Because describing the scene with multiple senses will help inject the reader into the scene, and imagine themselves in the same situation.

  1. Relatable 

Crazy things do happen in real life. 

But you still want to ensure your hero is relatable, and your reader can see them as an embellished version of themselves. 

So while your story might be about a magician being humiliated at a kids’ party due to their weight (yes, I wrote this), you want to focus on their emotional struggle rather than the fact they’re a magician.

  1. Presents a new discovery 

After opening with a dramatic moment of peak emotion, you want to quickly reveal how this was a turning point. And how it led to a new discovery that can solve your reader’s problem.

  1. Future pace the benefits

You want to build your reader’s excitement about the transformation that could soon await. 

So give a preview of what happened to the hero after implementing their new discovery, and what the reader can look forward to in their own life too.

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