And, But, Therefore
When crafting your messaging (via email marketing, paid ads, social media posts, website copy, etc.) to attract customers and clients to your business, service, or product – storytelling is one of the most effective ways to do it.
A simple and successful process is by using the ABT Storytelling Method. A=And, B=But, T=Therefore. Before we walk through the formula, let’s talk about why this is effective and what your strategy should be when writing it all down.
In today’s climate, viewers want to create a connection with your brand. Storytelling helps to convey your identity, your brand’s values, and what you are all about. Nowadays people have short attention spans, so you need to get your message across to them quickly, or they’ll just move on. Using the ABT Storytelling Method you get to the gist of the message right away. You can go into more detail later, once they are interested and engaged.
The Story is Your Strategy
The ABT Storytelling Method (And, But, Therefore) helps you to get to the point of your story, quickly and cleanly without leaving the reader wondering “Um, What’s your point?” Break things down so that your prospective customer or client understands what this business/product/service can do for them. In other words, write the story with the intention of solving that customer’s problem. That’s your strategy. Remember that the story is not for you, it’s about them.
So, when crafting a marketing story, you may want to start with your ideal client’s end goal … start with the result your service or product will achieve for them.
Keep It Simple Silly (K.I.S.S.)
Your story should do three things:
- Break down what may be complex into simpler terms they can understand.
- Make a connection with the customer or client.
- Inspire them to take action.
A Funny Story
“whenever you can exchange your and’s with but’s or therefore’s, it makes for better writing” — Trey Parker
Any South Park fans out there? Believe it or not, this method was originally introduced by South Park creator, Trey Parker! Harvard professor, Randy Olsen, was watching a short documentary in which Trey and co-creator Matt Stone were talking to a group of NYU film-making students about their methods for writing scripts. In the documentary, Trey shared “I sort of always call it the rule of replacing and’s with either but’s or therefore. And so it’s always like, this happens, and then this happens, and then this happens — whenever I can go back in the writing and change that to this happens, THEREFORE this happens, BUT this happens — whenever you can exchange your and’s with but’s or therefore’s, it makes for better writing.”
And with that something clicked in Professor Olsen’s brain that this simple idea could be used in his own science and nature writing … it could be used to convey any story or message.
Wait, let me re-tell that story …
Professor Randy Olsen watched a documentary about the creators of South Park and in it, they shared their simple method for writing scripts. But, Olsen saw that this simple formula could have an effect on much more than Hollywood scripts. Therefore, he wrote a book to share the science of storytelling – The Narrative Gym – Introducing the ABT Framework
See what I did there?
The ABT Formula Broken Down
_______ and _______, but _______, therefore _______.
Yep. It’s pretty simple. And that’s the point.
Our brains are wired to be more interested in stories that relay cause and effect. They create some tension followed by an outcome. We also like structure. Using the ABT formula, you can make your brand or marketing message have more of an impact.
And sets up the story, But creates the tension, Therefore presents the resolution.
“Every story can be reduced to this single structure. I can tell you the story of a little girl living on a farm in Kansas AND her life is boring, BUT one day a tornado sweeps her away to the land of OZ, THEREFORE she must undertake a journey to find her way home.” – Randy Olsen
Some ABT Alternatives
Ok, so maybe you don’t want to use the same words over and over again – that can also get boring. I pulled out my thesaurus for you and here are some alternatives that you can use to jazz things ups.
- as well as
- on the other hand
- and so
- for this reason
Putting it into Action
Ready to take your copywriting to the next level? Put this formula into action by updating the branding across your social media channels! I have a handy, free guide that you can grab – The Business Edit Worksheet.
I’ve done the work for you to map out exactly what the character limits are for each area of your chosen channel’s Profile/Channel name, bio/tagline, and short, medium, and long-form descriptions for the main social media channels. I use this exact worksheet for my business and for my clients.
Ready to get more out of your Digital Marketing Strategy? Check out our current online classes. (and come back often because more are in the works!)
“Most marketing executives communicate and care, but they bore. Therefore tell a story.” – Park Howell, author of Brand Bewitchery: How to Wield the Story Cycle System to Craft Spellbinding Stories for Your Brand and co-author of several of Randy Olsen’s books. I highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about crafting effective marketing messages!