Is it Okay to Borrow Other People’s Stories for Emails?

Rushed for time? CLICK HERE to download
this post as PDF to read at your leisure

I’m pretty sure it is, if you give credit where credit is due. Keep in mind I’m not a lawyer, but I see other marketers use this method all time, as do I.

Check this out…

Two thirsty friends were driving in Alabama on a hot August day when they pull up to a water pump in the yard of an abandoned farmhouse.  One of the men starts pumping on the handle of the water pump and the other fetches some water from a nearby stream.

In order to get the flow of water going, you have to put some water in.  As a great man once remarked, in the game of life before you can get anything out, you must put something in.  Unfortunately, there are many people who stand in front of the stove of life and say, ‘Stove, give me some heat and then I’ll put some wood in you.’ 

In the spring farmers start doing the work that is required to have a bountiful harvest later in the year.  We all know the proverb, “you reap what you sow.”  You have to do the work up front if you want the results later on.

After several minutes of pumping the man starts questioning whether there is any water in the well.  He’s getting hot and tired and decides to quit.

But the other man grabs the pump handle and resumes pumping.  He yells, “Don’t stop now, Bernard; if you do, the water will go all the way back down and then you’ll have to start all over again.” 

Sometimes it feels likes it too much work to plan, like you will never get there.  Unfortunately, if you quit, things will slide back and much of the work will need to start all over again. The tough part is you never know how many times you will need to pump to get the water.  But regardless of what you are doing, if you will pump long enough, hard enough and enthusiastically enough, sooner or later the effort will bring forth the reward. 

Just as you score no run if you stop on third base, you can’t quench your thirst with the water that almost comes out of the pump.  Fortunately, once the water starts to flow, all you have to do is keep some steady pressure on the pump and you’ll get more water than you can use. 

This is the story of success and happiness in life, and this is also the story of success in planning. Sometimes it moves quickly and sometimes it takes years. The key is to not quit and keep pumping.

Thanks to Zig Ziglar for that marvelous story of what it takes to be a success.


Did you see what happened there?

The story of the water pump isn’t mine at all.

But by giving the real originator credit, it’s okay to use it in your email. This was actually a story Zig Ziglar told to his live audiences back in the day, and it’s still just as valuable now as it was then.

Just be sure to credit your sources and don’t pass it off as your own work.

You might even start the story with, “I heard a story the other day,” or “I just read this great story and had to share it with you.”

Anyone can share a story as long as it’s factual and non-defamatory.

How does this help your marketing?

Simple… just find a way to relate it to your subject, your product, your philosophy or anything else you’re writing about.

Think of yourself as one-third reporter, one-third storyteller and one-third marketer and you’ll get the idea.


Right now I’m going to go to today’s news to find you an example of using a story found in the news to write an email promoting a product.

Here it is:

Subject Line: One man’s poo is another man’s pennies

Today I read on GoodNewsNetwork that some people are saying Cho Jae-weon has a dirty mind. This environmental engineering professor believes that thinking outside the box can solve all kinds of humanity’s problems, including what to do with human waste.

Cho has found a way to convert human waste into digital currency with his BeeVi toilet. His compost/currency commode uses a powerful vacuum to pull feces down into a composting tank, thereby eliminating all water usage.

Bacteria break down the feces, channeling methane into a solid-oxide fuel cell which powers building functions such as hot water heaters. And most interesting of all, people earn digital tokens called Ggools – which means Honey in Korean – for using the toilet.

But converting something that’s going to waste into money isn’t a new idea at all.

For example, take all of the content you’ve ever written for the internet that is now collecting dust on your old websites and hard drives.

There is a way to convert this old content into new cash using a system called Dusty Content Cash Creator.

Here’s how it works: (And then you would continue to extoll just enough of the program benefits to get the reader to click the link and learn more.)


Here’s another example using a story about Lisa Kudrow of Friends’ fame:

Did you know Lisa Kudrow was set to play Roz Doyle on Frasier before filming for the pilot took a turn?

According to US Magazine, Kudrow is quoted as saying, “I wasn’t right for the part [or] for the chemistry of the group, so that wasn’t working.”

Kudrow then went on to audition for Friends but was worried she wouldn’t get the part. The actress explained how she felt director James Burrows let her go from Frasier because he didn’t like her acting, so she was worried when she had to audition for him again.

“I did it and he went, ‘No notes,'” Kudrow explained. “I left going that either means, ‘She’s beyond help and helpless, just like I always knew,’ or ‘Yeah, it’s perfect. I have no notes.'”

As you know, Kudrow got the part and went on to star in Friends, earning as much as a million dollars per episode.

“No notes” is also how I would explain the XYZ program because there is absolutely nothing to change about it. Just follow the steps exactly as written and the results you get will surprise you. Here’s how it works: (And then you briefly explain how it works and encourage them to learn more by clicking the link.)

Using this method you can pull any story off the net and use it in your own emails. The key is to give proper attribution for the story and to relate the story back to your own product.

Now you’ll ever run out of material. Everything you hear and read can potentially be another email to your list, another article to your readers or the beginning of a chapter in your next book.

Rushed for time? CLICK HERE to download
this post as PDF to read at your leisure


You may also like...