Last week I published Episode 46 of the Strategic Storytelling podcast: How to structure a persuasive story. Shortly afterward, a few people reached out to ask if I’d heard of Donald Miller’s best-selling book, Building A Storybrand. They wanted to know how my “persuasive story fit in.”
Of course, I’ve heard of Storybrand! That book has become top of mind for many large and small businesses. In fact, on job boards, we’re seeing requests for writers who know the Storybrand framework. Mastermind groups and marketing coaches advise their clients: “If you’re not sure how to define your business, go read that book about Storybrand.”
The book offers a broad framework for viewing your business. In contrast, my podcast and my approach focuses on structuring a story as part of content creation and message strategy.
The Storybrand framework has 7 components. The hero – your client – has a problem. The hero meets a guide If you’re a service-based business, you’re the guide. The guide has a plan, which will help the hero avoid a significant disaster. With the guide’s help, the hero experiences a transformation and a happy outcome.
If you’d like the tl.dr version of the book, here’s a good summary article (I don’t know the author and have no relationship to the article).
StoryBrand is one of the most helpful business books you can find. Use the formula for everything from websites to networking. I see it as more of an overall framework whereas in Episode 46 and elsewhere, I go into the specific structure of a story you share in your marketing.
But, I sometimes get asked, where do you come in? Miller’s book talks about understanding the hero when you are the guide, as well as good suggestions you can use in your marketing.
However, I think it’s important to emphasize the difference between a “hero’s journey” in fairy tales and epic stories. In those stories, there’s one hero and one guide. In business stories, the hero has to choose the guide. The hero’s inbox will be filled with emails from guides pitching their services.
It’s an important step. The way you market your services, and the way the hero makes a choice, can have huge implications for your relationship with your client. Your client won’t be thinking, “I’m so lucky this guide appeared just in time.” She’ll be reviewing her decisions.
Let’s face it: you deal with someone differently if you sought them out, knowing you had choices, compared to being thankful for whoever appeared on your hearthside, just in the nick of time.
So an important step on the hero’s journey might be, “The hero chooses a guide.”
Mythical journeys find the hero out in the middle of nowhere. Cinderella’s family abandoned her by the fireside with nobody around but a few useless mice. Luke Skywalker’s stuck in a whole new universe with only his mechanical friend for company.
In today’s world, the godmother couldn’t get away with handing over a coach, gown and slippers, not to mention the limits of an arbitrary deadline.
She’d need to show why her plan works better than anything offered by the competition. Another godmother would be right there with a plan that included dancing lessons and a 3 AM deadline (“more hours at the ball — more time to meet your prince!”)
The guide has to use copywriting techniques and find a way to help the hero make a decision.
Let’s do this for Cinderella’s godmother.
Today’s godmother defines her audience as “young millennials who feel life has let them down.” They’ve lost confidence. They have no idea what to do next and they lack the skills to reinvent themselves.
Wave a wand? No way. Today’s godmother introduces her clients to a proven proprietary system where they learn 5 critical life skills in one afternoon.
Here’s what a first draft of the godmother’s copy might look like:
“No more sitting by the hearthside weeping for your misfortune! This godmother will empower you with a new mindset and new tools to build your confidence, so you overcome obstacles that seem insurmountable.
“You’ll learn how to recognize a family member (maybe your stepmom?) who’s operating with hidden agendas – eager to turn you from a strong young woman into a household drudge.. You might even realize the prince is a pretty good guy … but you can do better.” – The Godmother Coach.
And there you have it – we’ve seen how the Storybrand framework can be incorporated in what I do …just a slight addition to the story. Again – tremendous admiration for the StoryBrand framework.
When you read a hero’s journey story, just remember: you’re not the only guide in town.
Learn 17 surprising ways to use storytelling in your marketing. Click here for access.