Copywriting Hacks: Discharge Defensiveness, Misbeliefs, & Limiting Beliefs Easily With Storytelling
Updated: Apr 28
Whether you’re an activist or copywriter (or a bit of both), one of your biggest hurdles is to change the beliefs of your audience. You may think that showing the facts or data will change minds, but unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
Cold hard facts and statistical data analysis do nothing in the human mind when a belief system is in the way. And if that belief system feels safe and familiar, like they often do, it makes your job even harder.
When you start throwing facts at people with different beliefs, defenses go up, and they hold on to those beliefs harder.
Okay, so what can you do? When you need to change minds and beliefs in your audience, you can defuse their defensiveness with… storytelling!
You know that moment when you found out your belief about something was totally wrong the whole time?
“What! Fortune cookies are not Chinese at all! Is everything I think I know about Chinese food a lie?”
Okay, maybe you’re not that dramatic about it, but it is a little mindblowing when you realize something you once believed is total BS. What you were suffering from was a case of misbelief. But don’t feel bad. We all have them.
The problem is that some misbeliefs shape how you see the world, and when someone corrects you, your defenses go up.
It’s part of our human nature. We tend to attach our identity and worldview to our beliefs; to question them is to question ourselves and the world around us.
That's why, when you tell someone why they are wrong about something, they fight back. Sometimes they throw absolute nonsense at you to depute your claims, and no matter what logical thing you say to them, they won’t budge on their misbelief.
That misbelief is false information that your opponent is holding onto for dear life because it facilitates their worldview. Unfortunately, facts will not be changing their mind any time soon.
While a misbelief is false information believed to be true, a limiting belief is a belief about yourself that limits you in some way.
As similar as they sound, a limiting belief is more confined to what you think is possible versus what you think is true.
Say you see an ad that says you can make $10,000 a month by doing XYZ. You look up the average salary for XYZ. You do your research and find people who make $10k or more doing XYZ.
But the idea of you making that amount of money just doesn't seem possible. In this case, you are suffering from some limiting beliefs. You believe in the truth of the possibility of making that money doing that thing, but the limit is within your belief about yourself.
Misbeliefs and limiting beliefs are massive hurdles that have to be overcome in order for copywriting or marketing to work. You can’t understand the hurdle unless you understand the person jumping over it, aka your audience. You have to understand their life and worldview first, but once you have that, then you have some dismantling to do.
Why data doesn’t work
Well, if you need to prove someone wrong, all you have to do is show them the reason why they are wrong, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. If it was, we wouldn’t have a climate crisis, trans people would have access to the healthcare they need, and a million other things that are wrong in the world would not be a problem.
Just throwing data at a belief does not stop the believer from believing it. In fact, in some cases, it can cause them to double down on it. I would argue that it plays a large role in the further polarized political climate.
So if you can’t show someone the facts and appeal to their logical mind, what can you do? Doesn’t logic trump emotions?
Unfortunately for us, we are humans, not Vulcans. We need emotions to make logical choices. The best way to get your logic into the minds of your audience is to integrate that data into storytelling.
How To Integrate Storytelling
Stories have taught you lessons your whole life, and integrating storytelling into your sales page, ad campaign, or whatever it is that you're using to change minds and beliefs, will make it all the more effective.
Here are some simple tricks you can use to make your data a little more fun, interesting, and story-like.
Take a Walk
When you’re heading up a belief with facts to the contrary, before you dump your truth bombs on your audience, take a walk in their beliefs with them for a minute.
By connecting with them about their belief on the subject, you allow them to feel seen and understood, which helps to defuse their defensiveness.
The more personal you can make your information, whether from your own experience or from testimonials and client stories, the more your audience will see themselves in that story.
Humans use stories to mentally test out scenarios which is why testimonials are so powerful in something like a sales page.
Making your information personal and, dare I say… even vulnerable will help your audience connect with your story and help them see how their journey may play out.
Beginning, Middle, & End
All good stories have a beginning, middle, and end. And your story should be no different. Open your story with reliable problems and create that connection.
Then moving towards solving that problem in the middle and evoking some hope that there is a solution. And end it with something actionable that they can do to solve the problem.
And don’t forget to make your audience the hero of this story!
Understanding your audience's misbeliefs and limiting beliefs will help you connect with them, but using storytelling will help you dismantle those beliefs so you can show them the path to a better way.
If you need help with integrating storytelling into your copywriting, book a call with me, and let’s see how I can help with that.
P.S. Don't forget to check out my channel, The Rebel Mind, for more amazing entrepreneur and copywriting tips.