What's Your Story?

What’s Your Story?

A while ago on the spur of the moment we decided to head down to Portugal for a few days. Some friends of ours had flown in for a week and had a villa with some empty bedrooms.

It would have been a shame not to fill them!

They’d brought with them a game called Cards Against Humanity.

On the first night, we sat on the balcony looking out over the marina at Albufeira, and fired up the barbeque.

It was glorious. Friends, wine, beer, and a hilarious card game. You can’t beat it.

The thing about Cards Against Humanity is that you’ll either love it or hate it. You need to have a weird sense of humour and be a little bit twisted to be good at it…

I was pretty good!

Many hours of fun were had.

When I got back, I started reading up on it. Cards Against Humanity was a $4000 Kickstarter campaign which initially raised $15,000 and went on to to make over $12 million in sales.

It seems like there are a lot of weird people out there!

whats your story

You Need A Story

One thing that jumped out at me while reading up about Cards Against Humanity was a quote by one of the creators.

“I knew from the beginning that we’d be relying on earned media to get the word out about our game, which meant we needed to have a compelling story. “Some guys are selling a game” is a boring story, but a Kickstarter project is very exciting. Project creators on Kickstarter are underdogs who are trying to make their own thing against all odds while the clock ticks down. That’s a great story.”

Do me a favor read that again.

Now memorize the bits I've highlighted about needing to have a story.

Now go apply that to every aspect your business.

"Lose 10lbs in 21 days" isn’t a story.

"How to get your ex back" isn’t a story.

"How to get more subscribers" isn’t a story.

"Learn how I lost 10lbs in 3 weeks and won my husband back" is a story.

"7 ways you can get your ex back and live happily every after" is a story.

"Learn how we doubled our subscribers and trebled our profits with 2 simple changes." That's a story!

What I am saying is where possible, frame your content, opt-ins, content, emails and giveaways in the form of a story.

People love stories, it’s part of our DNA. It’s ingrained in our psyche. We respond to stories far more than we respond to anything else.

Why do we prefer films to documentaries? Why does fiction outsell non-fiction? There's a reason the most memorable ads on TV are mini stories!

In the UK each Christmas, all the major retailers roll out epic adverts that hardly mention their brand, but they tell great stories.

The John Lewis adverts regularly get over 20 million Youtube views.

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Here is this year's advert, at no point does it talk about buying their products. They aren't selling, they are telling.

It's time to stop thinking of your blog posts as just content and start thinking about using storytelling marketing to engage your readers.

People Think In Stories

The fact is, whenever we think about something, we build up a short story in our minds.

Try this: Think about going to the local store to buy some bread.

I'll bet you just pictured the store, the bread and the journey all in a matter of seconds. You’ve just told yourself a story.

Parts of your brain activated that were dormant just moments before.

Think about me writing this post. Picture where I am, what's around me. You are thinking in stories which is why we respond better to stories.

Bring more stories, metaphors and word pictures into your content and you will generate more sales and leads. I guarantee it!

Apple, Nike, even Burt's Bees uses stories to market their products for a reason.

Framing Your Content

Notice how I framed this post?

I could have just said "use more stories," but you may well have forgotten about it, or heaven forbid, ignored my advice.

I found a quote and then a wove the facts into a story that led to the quote. From there, I developed then presented a "take away."

To write story-based content, find your central idea then weave a story that incorporates that idea. Then transition from the idea to the action you want the reader to take.

This whole 900+ word article stemmed from a few days in Portugal and a quote, which just goes to show you don't need big ideas to be able to write story based content.

I still have several stories from that trip that I can use to get across aspects of marketing, in fact I used one about  the €480 fish dinner we had in an email to illustrate why people will pay for quality.

Find something relevant then weave your story around it. Always finish with something actionable.

If you are reading this far down, the storytelling has probably worked so why not pay the storyteller with a share, just click on any of the share buttons and you'll have my undying appreciation.

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2 Comments

  1. Kevin Martyn on November 28, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Great content Mark and so very true, you have got me thinking deeper than ever.

    • Mark on November 28, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks Kevin…

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