Every Blockbuster Movie Ever Made Has
This 5 Piece Story Structure
Some of the most challenging work we do as marketers is to distill our messaging down to the essential parts so that our value proposition is clear and precise for the people we seek to serve.
(We and our in this context is you and us; the creative work we all do as marketers and creative professionals.)
This can be a unified brand message, product sales messages, social media posts, and the ads we write to lead people to our stuff like a trail of breadcrumbs.
Getting to that point of perfect clarity is hard <insert expletive> work.
It reminds me of a quote attributed to Blaise Pascal, who wrote:
"I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time."
Every business needs this skill, but the sad reality is that the majority of marketing messages suck, especially when they make first-contact with "cold" prospects.
It's one thing selling to people who know, like, and trust us.
Selling in this context can be (very) easy because a meh story can convert just fine.
But all bets are off when someone doesn't know us from Adam…
An unclear meh story has us leaving the champagne on ice for another day, replacing the sound of a popping cork with the chirp-chirp of crickets.
For many of us, writing world-class stories can feel like bleeding on the page…
There is nothing easy about making a connection with a prospect who has no relationship with us.
Moving their heart and mind with the words we write, then galvanising them into action is one of the hardest things to do.
This is why I have a process that (mostly) turns bleeding on the page into sunshine and rainbows.
Trust me, I’m a doctor. (Ok, I’m not a doctor, but you should trust me anyway.)
Part #1: The Set Up
This is where we meet our hero leading his everyday life.
In our world, this is our ideal prospect.
They are probably thinking…
If only, I could overcome this (the challenge that they’d pay almost anything to overcome) then that (the better future they yearn to lead).
So this is where we express those thoughts.
We pick an instance. An example.
Of where this challenge shows up in their lives.
We mirror back to them the old familiar story of the frustration they feel. The impact that it has on their business. The story they tell themselves about why they are unable to overcome it.
We express the words that their flatmate (the little guy inside their heads) is using to explain away the failure and reassure them that they are better off staying safe in their comfort zone.
We express the anger that they are unable to make solid progress.Just two steps forward and, at least, one back (on some days more).
We go through their reasoning.
The thing is…
The challenge they think they face is only a symptom of a much deeper problem.
It is up to us to show them this.
When they wake up to this reality, they start to believe that, at last, they may have found someone who can guide them up the mountain they want to climb.
We have shifted them from their starting belief which was they probably couldn’t do it however hard they worked to a new belief that there is a chance that if they listen to you, they might, just might, succeed.
They are ready to go on a journey…
Part #2: The Rising Action
The first few miles are smooth so you take the opportunity to tell them about how you came to be who you are. Not a moment too soon, because your prospect runs into a problem (Conflict).
They start to doubt themselves.
They look to you for the solution.
As their guide, you are not there to do the work for them but you are there to give them helpful ideas and suggest new ways of thinking. You are there to make sure they maintain forward momentum.
There are two things going on here.
When they started their journey, it was their desire to succeed… To reach their goal… to live the life they dream of that pulled them forward like a rubber band.
It was effortless.
Then they run into their first problem.Self-doubt floods in too.Imposter Syndrome.Uncertainty.
On top of their first problem.
In the past these doubts pulled them backwards.
Hence the two steps forward and one back, that they are so familiar with.
Your job is to break the cycle. To stop them running off to find yet another external solution as they always have but to look within.
To think their way through.
To overcome using the ideas you have put forward in your story.
You’re not looking to give them a home run.
Just a few effective tips to boost confidence in themselves (and you).
So they can keep moving forward.
Note: the person who starts the journey is never the person who arrives in the sunlit uplands they have struggled to reach.
There has to be a transformation.
As the hero grows and evolves, we are drawn in emotionally by the trauma, the conflict and the drama. The story is in essence a journey from failure to success … from sickness to health … from victimhood to victory.
Part #3: The Climax
The path up the mountain has been steep and hard. The hero has overcome many problems. At times, they have felt like giving up… and almost did.
Only with your guidance have they been able to continue to climb because you have told them what to look out for on the way up to know that they are on the right path.
Occasionally, you have encouraged them to stop, look down and see how far they have come.
This has reset their current reality.Allowed them to refocus. Solidified their gains.
Now they stand at the summit.They know they have succeeded.
This is where you lay out in very clear terms the markers they see all around them.
Not just the physicalBut the emotional too.
So that those who follow will know what to look out for. How they will feel. And the impact that this is going to have on their personal life too.
It is important to be granular about this.
To define all these things in as much detail as possible.
So your reader can imagine succeeding too. Can absorb all the granular details. Try them on. See whether they really fit.
Be encouraged because a person just like them with the same misgivings actually made it.
Part #4: The Falling Action
Now we’re on the road back home.
Your hero is a changed person. A more experienced person.
Someone who has grown into a new pair of bigger and better wings.
Someone who glides effortlessly across the sky like they always intended to.
This is where you lay out what happens after the pivotal moment.
This is where you lay out all the good things that are now happening to your hero.
Again, be as granular as you can about these.
Lay them out in detail.
This reinforces the picture your prospect is building up in their mind.
Reinforces the strength of the desire.
Strengthens the pull moving them out of their comfort zone.
Shifts their beliefs again and again so they move closer to you.
Part #5: The Resolution
This is where you pull together all the lessons learned. List the key takeaways and, of course, reference your product or service.
The 5 essential story elements are these…
- The Set up
- The Rising Action
- The Climax
- The Falling Action
- The Resolution
Within that structure there are another 5 elements that drive the story and transform us from observers into participants.
- Your Hero: This is your ideal prospect
- The Villain: The challenge/conflict that your hero is battling.
- Tension: The conflicts your hero faces that lead to his transformation
- The external struggle - The physical things your hero has to overcome
- The internal struggle - the self doubt, impostor syndrome, etc
- The Journey: This is divided into 2 parts:
- The external journey - everything that your hero is contending with in life.
- The internal journey - the self doubt, impostor syndrome etc
- The Goal: The thing or place your hero is desperate to reach.
We go into all of the above in a lot of detail in my 30 Day Story Driven Workshop which is designed to help coaches, consultants and expert service providers grow your audience and ensure you onboard one new high value client every 7 to 10 days within 6 weeks of completing the programme.
To qualify they should be earning €5+/month already and want to increase this to €15k and beyond ASAP – simply by writing great stories that attract, engage, motivate and inspire people to enrol in their high-ticket offers, this offer may be of interest to you.
It should be said that this is an intensive programme which works best for both solopreneurs and people with small teams, who want to enrol more of their ideal prospects to their high-ticket offers...
Together we work on the following things:
#1: Clarify what your ideal prospect needs to have accepted and internalised before they are ready to make a buying decision and the logical sequence of beliefs that lead to that understanding.
The outcome being a complete content strategy based on prewired ideas which you can use in your posts, Ads and articles. You’ll never be at a loss for relevant subject matter again.
Your potential customers will arrive on your virtual doorstep pre-sold knowing exactly what you do, how it will help them achieve their goals and how long it will take them to start seeing results.
#2: Clarify your high-ticket offer – Who exactly is it for? What emotions are driving their decisions? What outcome(s) are they seeking? What makes your method unique? What needs to be in place for your clients to get their desired outcome while they make the best use of your valuable time and pay you what you are truly worth? – and, most importantly, how you talk about it all?
This is a key step. If you are not clear about how you help your ideal clients solve their most important challenges in the most effective way, how do you expect them to have the certainty required to buy from you?
Nailing this will help you to dial in your messaging and attract the high quality clients you want to deal with.
#3: Get strategic about your storytelling so you write insightful posts that give tremendous value; convey your expertise and experience; and convince your ideal prospects that you have a proven process which helps them achieve their goals - by distilling that method into easy to follow steps.
You receive detailed feedback from me on as many posts as you wish to write for my review. (This piece comprises about half of the program.)
Practice makes perfect. The more you write, the more you will get out of this. You’ll be amazed at how many nits I pick out of your copy to ensure that you are precise in your wording yet natural with your language.
#4: Write weekly offer posts in such a way that the right people can immediately see what it's all about and what’s in it for them - and feel compelled to send you a DM about it (because they want what you have and are clear about what to expect).
Doing this well ensures your ideal prospects know in advance what they are buying, how it works, what they will get out of it, whether they are a good fit and how much they will have to spend to hire you.
This transparency takes the mystery out of the decision making process and ensures that potential clients only contact you when they are ready to start.
#5: Tailoring my simple traffic system so you can get an endless flow of high quality leads using organic traffic to grow your organic social media audience.
This is so simple that it typically takes a few minutes for you to understand!
For the 30 Day Story Driven Workshop only, this is Facebook based to ensure that you master one strategy to increase your revenue. This requires you to invest two hours per day but no money.
#6: Creating a simple yet respectful process to manage those DM and sales conversations to ensure you’re enrolling exactly the right people...
Together, the above 6 points make up the exact system that I personally use to consistently get one strong lead per day in my inbox, enrol an average of 6 clients per month to my high-ticket offers, and earn an average of $30K/month (as a solopreneur).
This program gets best results for people who are pretty settled on a particular niche and ideal client (i.e. I don't do well with people who are wanting to pivot to something new).
1-2-1 calls with me, detailed assignments and guidelines for everything, unlimited private access over Messenger in between calls, access to a private Facebook group to network and lifetime access to all updates that I make to the program content and teaching, plus free Q & A calls for alumni of the program, too!
In order to be the best candidate to get results, you must have a lot of experience serving clients in your area of expertise (ideally years or decades), and already have a pretty clear idea of what problem you solve and who you enjoy helping the most. (If you’re not sure if you meet this qualification, message me on Facebook and we’ll discuss.)
You must love writing and sharing your thoughts about the topics you’re an expert in.
This offer is a mid four figure number to start with.
The next steps...
If interested, DM me on Messenger and we’ll chat to see if it’s a fit OR email me at firstname.lastname@example.org,
I’ve noticed that there is a very particular profile of who does best in this program, and I can tell with a pretty short dialogue whether you’d be a good fit or not.
If you do, we can get you started in the program immediately!
Thank you, and I look forward to chatting with you!