Many people think business writing shouldn’t include anything fake, but that’s not true.
There’s nothing wrong with incorporating fictional stories into business writing. In fact, people often respond very well to stories.
The key is to not be misleading—you shouldn’t use fictional stories and say they’re real. As long as you’re being honest and transparent, it’s fine.
A great example of this is a famous sales letter from the Wall Street Journal. It tells the story of two young men who graduated from the same college and went to work at the same company. They started their careers with similar talents and ambitions, but 25 years later one was a manager and the other was the president of the company.
The letter then asks what made the difference between these two men over the course of their careers. The answer given is that “knowledge is power” and that the Wall Street Journal gave one of them the edge.
It’s a blatant pitch for the Wall Street Journal, and anyone who read it could clearly see that. But that didn’t bother too many readers—the fact that it starts out with a story that motivates the pitch is why it works so well.
This sales letter was so successful that it ran for almost three decades and brought in around $2 billion worth of subscriptions.