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Write Copy that Compels and Sells

Lesson 4 of 10

10 Stories That Get People to Practically Throw Cash Money at You

Melissa Cassera

Write Copy that Compels and Sells

Melissa Cassera

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Lesson Info

4. 10 Stories That Get People to Practically Throw Cash Money at You

Lesson Info

10 Stories That Get People to Practically Throw Cash Money at You

So let's talk about the 10 stories that get people to practically throw cash money at you. So these are awesome stories that you all can tell in your business, and the hope, is that when you exit this class, and you're finished this class, that you're gonna take at least one of these stories and use it in your copy right away. Alright. So your origin story. We actually touched on this a little bit already. People love hearing how it all got started. This is the question I get the most in my business. Everybody wants to know, how did you get started, or, like, how did you get from point A to point B? It's always fascinating, those early days of our work, right? Everyone wants to know that. So, this is a story that, if you're ever stuck, and you have no idea what to write about, just use this one, it's the default of everything. And again, this is such a great story to use in sales copy, it's great to use, even for, like, your bio, if you're writing a bio. You can really talk about... It...

doesn't have to be this sweeping saga, unless you wanna do what I said earlier, where you have a six-part piece of content that shares your big story. It doesn't have to be a sweeping saga, it can simply be, you know, at one time, I was sad, depressed, overworked-Melissa, but now, I feel like this, and the reason why I got to a better place was because I did these three quick things, right? It could be that simple, it doesn't have to be this whole saga unless you want it to, and you're great storyteller, then you totally could. These are also great for workshops, or speeches, when you have some more time to play with. People love to hear this, especially if, maybe part of your business model is to speak for a living, like maybe you show up and speak for free, and then, at the end, you try to encourage people to come into your world, and get more help and service. So this is a great one for that, right? Easy to plug-in, people can see, they can go on your journey with you, it's exciting for everyone, and then, at the end, they know, hey, you were where I was at some point, and I want to work with you, because at least you'll be able to meet me where I am now, and then you can take me to where I wanna go. So, origin story is for sure the best default. Alright, the why I do this story. So, it's always important to communicate the why behind what you do, and this is really great to put in any sales copy. So, what we don't want, and I'm gonna guess none of you do this, but what I hear a lot, is that, when I say, "Okay, what's your why, "why are you doing your work?" And people will say, "Well, I wanna make money." Right? Now, that's not a bad why. Like, as business owners, we should be making money, and desire to make money, and that is fine, right? We are owed that, that is the world. But, that is often not enough. Just saying, "I want to make money." It's like, okay, well then why did you choose this path to make money? We could do anything to make money, right? All of us can have tons of different jobs, and go in different directions, but there's a reason you chose this particular path, so that's what I wanna know. I wanna know that why. Why? And there's always a reason that has nothing to do with money there. And that's what you want to communicate to people, because there's something that makes you feel really passionate about your work that people can then get behind, and rally behind. And it doesn't have to be like a huge, deep mission that's, like, non-profit or charity-based, although some of us do you have that, right? Some of us are trying to do something in a bigger, deeper, more global movement, and that's awesome, too. But, like, for me, mine isn't that, mine is that I see... You know, I was sad Melissa one day, and now I'm happier Melissa. But, really, what the crux of that is, is that I just have more fun in my business. I built my business to be pleasurable for me, or I like to say it feels like a guilty pleasure, because I love that term, and I love it feel spine-tingly and fun. And that's how I wanna approach my business, that's how I wanna feel in my business, and that's how I want people to feel when they come and hang out with me. I want you to feel like, ooh, this feels like my favorite guilty pleasure. So, that's what I've created. So, my why, is just to help more people have more fun in their business, it's that simple, right? I'm not really changing the world with my why, it's not huge, but at the same time, it is meaningful for my ideal clients, because they are completely burnt-out, or they hate their business model, right? Or they hate writing, or they hate some other aspect of business. And so, at the end of the day, they could be making great profit, but they're miserable. So, to them, they're in a space where it's, like, I gotta break this wheel, right? That's so Game of Thrones. We've gotta stop. And I have to figure out a way that things are gonna be more pleasurable, because, not spending time with my family, or getting to pet my dogs, or go on vacation, or whatever that is for that person, right, is just not working for them anymore. And so, that's my why. My why isn't money. My why is because I want people to have more fun. Alright. And then the triumph over adversity story. So, people love hearing stories about beating the odds, and, if you think of, like, any movie, everything is this, right? Every TV show is about this, people are beating the odds, they're crushing obstacles in their path. It's heroic and exciting, right? Superhero movies are built on this, and they make billions of dollars. So, they're also really great for your business, but something I want to bring up, is that don't ignore the small moments, or the small obstacles that you've overcome, because, when we do this, oftentimes, and I know that I've set it up to be this, like, heroic, dramatic, superhero-y thing, so... And that's what we often think, we're like, "Oh, but wait, I haven't done anything like that, "so I'm gonna scratch that one off my list, "that's not for me." But, think about the small moments, because, most of us, when we think of this story, we don't say, "Oh yeah, I'm a total hero in my life." Most of us don't think that way, and, it's fine if you do, but then if you tell this big, sweeping tale, then people will find that exciting, but they might be, like, "Well, that's her story, his story, their story." But there's not really a connection to it. It may be exciting to read, but they're not exactly saying, "I can't wait to hire that person," right? They're like, "That was a cool story, "but, peace," you know? But instead, if you were to talk about a smaller moment. Like you get lost in the car, right? You're driving somewhere... How much stress is that? I get really stressed when I'm lost somewhere, and my GPS craps out, it's the worst, so, and then, you know, you're in the middle of L.A., and you're like, "I can't find anything." And then you're late, so it's a mess. So, something like that is a better story to tell. If I get lost on the way to an important meeting trying to sell one of my scripts, which I have, and then, I'm all stressed-out now, and when I do get there, it's gonna ruin my meeting because my energy is all over the place. So, that would be a better movie... Or, movie... Better moment or story to talk about, because that's relatable to everybody. We've all gotten lost, right? And we've all probably dealt with it in many different ways, but oftentimes that leads to, I'm stressed out, and now I'm gonna miss my meeting, and this was important, and now I'm all rattled, and I don't have enough time to prepare, and, you know, you go down this rabbit hole. So, for me to talk about how I was able to overcome that, if I did something in that moment that just allowed... Maybe it was even just a thought that passed through my mind, something as simple, that just changed this, or me just saying, "Nope, I'm not gonna let this go down this way." You know, like, "Nope." And I've done that, you know, where, I'm like, "Shut up, shut up, brain." Like, "No, it is not goin' down, "I am gonna crush this meeting." And it could be that simple, but that's a good story, because everyone can connect to that, we've all had those moments. And then, at the end of the day, they're like, "Okay." And then when they're in that situation, maybe they're trapped in the drive-thru line, and now they're gonna be late for something, right? Doesn't even have to be lost in traffic, it's just something that evokes that same emotion, they're gonna remember my story, and go, "Oh, well maybe that will work." "Maybe that'll work for me, let me give it a shot." Alright, so the bad advice story. So, have you ever been given well-meaning advice that actually ended up being kinda terrible? (laughs) I see some heads nodding. I certainly have, as well. Did you follow that terrible advice? Did it take you on a terrible path? (laughs) Or, did you say, "No, that's terrible advice, "and I already recognize it is, "so I'm not taking that," right? And what did you learn from that experience? So, these are great conversations to have. I use this story a lot when I sell one particular class that I have. The reason is because in this class, I've gotten so much feedback from the students that have gone through, that they're, like, "Wow, I love this class, "because I've gotten terrible advice "in other classes, in a similar vein, "but this class doesn't even feel like advice, "it's just like we're all charting our own path, "but you're guiding the way, "and it's not like this, you must do this, "and then nothing really feels like it aligns." So, I tell this story, when I sell that class, for that reason, because I know where they were 'cause I have been there. I have gone down that path many times, even when I knew it was a path that I've been down before, well, where did Melissa end up? Right? So I've gone down this path, but even when I started my screenwriting career just a few years ago, I went down this path again. I should have known, right? Of course I should have known, I've been here. But, what did I do? I went down the path, and I'm getting all this advice of, like, "You're too old, you can't do this, "blah, blah blah," right? And I'm just, like, "Oh no, I'm making a huge, terrible mistake." And then, fortunately, I was able to just say, shut up to that advice quicker because I caught myself, mostly in just remembering this story. But this is something that's really good if you have been in this space, which I think a lot of us have, and if your clients are expressing to you that folks they've worked with, or hired, or whatever before, experiences they've been through, I'm tired of people giving me this terrible advice. This comes up a lot in the health and wellness industry, I find, so, if you work in that industry, I hear that all the time. Like, I'm tired of people telling me to lose weight, I'm tired of people telling me this. That is not my goal, that's not my health goal, right? People don't wanna hear that, they want to hear something else, something more body-positive, right? So, that's a really great one for that industry, specifically, but also works for lots of other industries, as well. Alright, so student success stories. So these are not your stories, these are actually your students' stories. So what you could do, is you could craft a story around your students. Now, let me just point out quickly with this, when I say student stories, I don't mean a testimonial. So, when we ask our clients for testimonials, oftentimes they're like, "Ugh." They love us, but they don't really know what to write, unless they're a professional writer, then they're like, "Cool, I got it." But most of our clients are not professional writers, so they're, like, "Uh." And they just kinda cobble something together, and it usually isn't really that illuminating. So this is different, because this is where you're crafting the story around your client. So instead of saying to your client, "Would I be able to grab a testimonial from you?" Just do this instead. Ask them if they would be open to you writing a story on them. Most clients are like, "Hell, yeah." They love that, that already feels exciting that somebody's gonna write a story about you. And then, you can get them on the phone, is the best way, or if you wanna do it in person, and just ask them some questions about their experience, like, where were they before they came to you? You know, what was the process like, how do they feel? Point out specific things that happened during your time together, and then, just say, how are you feeling now? How have things changed? And you don't really have to focus on specific numbers. I see that a lot, where people are so focused on, like, I made 20,000, I made 80,000, or something. That's fine, but this is really more about crafting a really fun, exciting story around your client, really showcasing them in a great light, which also showcases you in a great light for awesome social proof. So, it shows that you're getting them serious results, but it's in a much more exciting way. And I will say that most testimonials that work and, I'm calling them success stories here, but, the ones that work are usually the ones that are emotionally-driven, and not the ones that are statistic-heavy. So where it's like, this-to-this, or, I lost 25 pounds with this person, right? Instead, it's the one that says, doesn't just say, I lost 25 pounds with this person, it's like, I was feeling this way, I would always open the fridge every time I was stressed, like, everything was a mess, I was, like, ripping open Dove Chocolate Promises, and, like, the closet, and like, chocolate everywhere, and then, when I started working with Nikki, all of a sudden, I was, like, I stopped. And I thought about it. And I still ate some chocolate, but it wasn't as much, and then... You know, and again, it's like, this story with twists and turns. And then at the end, it's like, and now I just feel I'm not even thinking about the chocolate, I feel like I can have it whenever I want it, but, I don't really think about it as much now. Because, now, it's just, I filled my life with all these other beautiful things. So again, it's all this emotion, right? There's not like, "I lost 25 pounds with Nikki." Right? It's this other angle, and, that, people will connect to, because they'll be like, "Oh God, I've been in the closet with the chocolate." Like I've been there, help me, right? (laughs) Alright. So, the walk away story. So, in life, there are always moments that we need to courageously walk away from or say no to something. And these stories are often really intimate and also inspiring. So, you can give your readers a sense of courage through this. So I see this a lot when it comes to sales copy. If people have ditched some kind of lifestyle, or ditched some kind of corporate career, and decided to chase a dream, right? That's really, really powerful and popular to do that. So if this is your story, where, you know, you've courageously walked away from some path in life that was charted for you, or some expectation of you, and decided to be like, "Nope, I'm going this way, I'm charting my own path." That's really, really powerful, and absolutely something that you would want to share, 'cause it gives people courage off the bat. They know that you've done this courageous thing and it immediately wants them to say, "I wanna be in your world." Even if you're not a coach, per se, right? I think this is really common for people that are coaches, or consultants, or teachers, of course they would use this. But even if you're not, it's still a way of being, you're still sharing that you're a courageous person and have done this. So even if you're not necessarily teaching them, like sitting down with them, and saying, "Here's how you can be courageous, too." Instead, if you're just that person, they wanna be in that energy, they wanna be around... Don't we all wanna be around people that are doing things, and taking risks, and not, you know... Even if they're scared, it's like, "Screw it, I'm gonna do it anyway." We all want to be around people like that 'cause it's inspiring, so... And this is a really great story for everyone to tell. Now an exciting discovery story. So was there a moment in your life or career where you made a surprising discovery? So you can share a story about that moment, right? Like, "A-ha!" "This just happened, I can't believe "I didn't see that before." I think we have lots of moments that way. And this is a nice transitional story, so if you're writing some copy for your business, and you're kind of talking about something that's happened to you, or, when things weren't so great, and then all of a sudden, you went from point A to point B. Well, don't wanna miss that second section, you don't wanna just be like, "I was this, and now I'm this," right? You need a little transition there. So this can be a fun way just to say, well, what was the exciting discovery you made? This story could be one sentence, it doesn't even have to be, like, a bigger story, it could just be, yeah, I discovered this, I discovered this work, I felt this way, right? And then the clouds parted, and everything felt wonderful. So this is a nice... You can use it as a stand-alone story, but it's also really nice transitional moment, if you're struggling with, like, okay, I'm trying to really get across that I was here and there, but it seems weird, 'cause there's no middle part, this is the middle part. Alright, and then the you are not alone story. So, express to people that they are not alone. A lot of these earlier stories actually, you know, really speak to this, as well. So this can be combined, but, you can also do something themselves, like, you're not alone. I do these a lot in my audience, particularly for any kind of launch content, or promotional content, so if I'm trying to get people to enroll in my course, let's say, you know I often will tell stories about this, about... I've been in your shoes, you know, and I'll tell a specific story about when I was feeling the way they do, or something that happens to a lot of my clients, and totally happened to me years ago. And so then they know that they're not alone, and they also know that this happened to me, and I knew how to get past it, or how to, you know, thrive despite it happening. So this is a great one to tell for promotional copy, specifically. Alright, and then, behind the scenes story. So, everybody loves a backstage tour. (laughs) If you're stuck, do this. This is very, very easy to do. It can be everything from sharing the behind the scenes... It can be this simple. You can take a picture of your work space, and share that on social media. It could be that simple. People love getting peaks, especially in this world, where everything is so Photoshopped, right? And everything is so glamorized. When people can see you behind the scenes, they love it. There are huge movements around this kind of stuff. There's, like, the no make-up selfie movement, and all kinds of things. Where, it's like, everyone just wants to see the reality of the picture. It also humanizes you for others. So, if they're looking at you online, and everything just looks so glossy, and beautiful, and wonderful, great, but, it's awesome to give them a little backstage pass. Shoot, Beyonce does it, so we can all do it. (laughs) Right? I mean, we wanna see that stuff, so this is a great, great default. And then of course, the starting-over story. So, this is really good, but, you know, when you're that type of person that maybe has this really elevated, insane level of success, or if people say to you a lot that they're, like, "You're intimidating." You know? Or like, "I'll never be where you are." You know, if you get that a lot, then this is a great story to tell, because you wanna show people that you've been a beginner at some point, right? And it also doesn't have to be for your business, necessarily. So, this is a story... I did one of these recently when I started, like, a boot camp class, and I had this terrible experience where I started a brand new class, and then I didn't listen to the instructor, of course, and I just went, like, full force, and then, at the end, when we were in, like, the hug circle, everybody has to get in, like, a hug circle, and celebrate that we did this hard class, I vomited in the hug circle, so... (audience laughs) So, that was, like, super-awkward beginner story. (laughs) And it was really helpful, though, for my audience, because everyone feels like a beginner, right? For my clients, they all feel like beginners, that's why they're coming to me. And, you know, for me saying, "Look, I was a beginner last week "and I vomited in the hug circle." So, you know, if you come to me, you'll be totally fine. So that's just a really good story to tell, and just let people know, that, even if you are beginner in something else, it's still relevant, it will still, you know, connect.

Class Description

For some business people, if they write a piece of copy that sounds decent and doesn’t have any grammatical errors, they’re happy. But lazy, serviceable writing isn’t going to help sell your product or service.

Marketing consultant and screenwriter Melissa Cassera will show you how to use storytelling techniques and professional TV writing structures to create copy that captivates your reader and compels them to buy. Before long, your clients and customers will be consuming your copy like it’s the latest episode of “Game of Thrones.”

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Turn your clients or customers’ pain points into compelling crises that they’re dying for you to solve.
  • Determine what stories you should tell.
  • Write copy that captures your personality.
  • Understand your clients or customers’ motivation and what drives their decisions.
  • Turn your readers into fascinating protagonists in your copy.
  • Come up with loglines for your offers that immediately draw people in.
  • Create a world in your copy that people want to be a part of.
  • Develop an exciting story arc that guarantees people will read to the end.



I thought this course was pretty great. Melissa packed a lot of value into a short class. I took notes and brainstormed on a lot of the exercises and strategies she recommends while watching (pausing as needed) and finished the class with a document full of good ideas and first-draft copy. It is a short class, so if you're looking for something that really gets into the nitty gritty of how to write, this probably won't be enough for you. But if you're just a bit stuck on how to tell your story in a compelling way, or need to inject some excitement into your copy, I'd recommend it.


This was a great course for giving starting points and methods to make your copy more engaging. It doesn't tell you what to write or is not overly specific, but then what course could cover that for everyone. It does set you up with ways to write and include storytelling techniques that will help make customers read your copy, and hopefully,​ take the action you want.

Mariya Haberberger

This was super helpful!