My wife has a funny saying when I ask her where she heard something.

She says “I read the internet.” According to her, she reads it about once a day. That’s how she knows everything.

Today I was reading one of my favorite blogs (copyblogger) and there was a post about the concept of powerful marketing comes from telling stories. The article was written by Johnny B. Truant who writes a pretty cool blog himself. Check out his post on “StoryTelling 101” which is where I got the idea for this post and the info on Stephen King. I believe he coined the phrase “storyselling.”

Commercials and campaigns that work are testimonials. This is how this product worked for me. Have you ever been sucked into an infomercial (like a mosquito to a bug zapper) by story after story of people who are either skinnier or their life is easier thanks to 3 easy payments of $19.99?

You start to imagine yourself having the same success, because “If they can do it, then I can do it too!”

Christians are no strangers to testimonials.  In fact Revelation 12:11 sums up how evil is defeated in the world and connects it to sacrifice of Jesus and the testimonies of His followers.

Storytelling is powerful.

Jesus was a storyteller.

The bulk of his teachings were done in the forms of parables or stories that people could imagine themselves living.

Jesus captivated with story.

In his book “On Writing,” Stephen King cautions storytellers not to make the mistake of writing to some “audience out there” but to imagine writing to your “ideal audience.”  Stephen King says his ideal audience is his wife, Tabitha. When he is writing a scary book, he is trying to scare his wife. When he is telling a funny story, he is trying to make his wife laugh.  When he starts to ramble on about something he notices “Tabitha over his shoulder” getting bored and knows it’s time to move on.

That is the power of a testimony. Just like Stephen King is writing his stories to his wife because she is his “ideal audience.” They share a common story.  Your life story (testimony) is perfectly suited for maximum impact in the life of someone with a common story.

The phrase “If they can do it, then I can do it too!” isn’t only powerful when applied to growing back hair, chopping vegetables, or P90X workouts. In fact that is only taking a powerful principle and making it trivial.  It is powerful in the story of a man overcoming addiction, a woman finding joy again after a miscarriage, a family reunited, a marriage redeemed.  That is a testimonial that tells a real story.

That is “storyselling”

Are you living your story in front of its “ideal audience”?

Target your testimony and tell a better story.

People might not be moved by bigger buildings or cooler light shows, but highlight stories of people’s lives changed and you are speaking to the “ideal audience” in your community. If you are going to market something make sure you are selling something people want to buy.

Check out these commercials by One* Church Spokane for some inspiration.