How to Structure a Story in 5 Amazingly Simple Steps

When you structure a story using these 5 simple steps, you are following the same process Hollywood screenwriters use to engage, inspire and move their audiences.

As B2B experts seeking to promote our businesses, we would do well to take a leaf out of their book.

Some of the most challenging work we do is to distill our messaging so that our value proposition is clear... To the people, we seek to serve.

(We and our in this context is you and me; the creative work we all do as marketers and as 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 by laying out 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 B2B expert needs this skill, but the sad reality is that the majority of their marketing messages suck... Especially at the point when they make first contact with "cold" prospects.

It's one thing selling to people who know, like, and trust us. This can be (very) easy because a less than special message can convert. When it comes to someone who doesn't know us from Adam, all bets are off , however …

An unclear 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 grabbing the attention of prospects who do not know us.

Moving their hearts and minds with the words we write is hard. Galvanizing them into action is even harder... One of the hardest things we have 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 XYZ (the challenge that they’d pay almost anything to overcome) then ABC will happen (the better future they yearn to lead).


So this is where we express those thoughts.
We pick an instance. An example. A scenario.

Of where this challenge shows up in their lives.

We mirror the old familiar story of the frustration they feel back to them. Then, we express the impact that it has on their business. And repeat the story they have playing in their heads on an endless loop about why they are unable to overcome it.

We use 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 and frustration they feel at being unable to make solid progress... Just the usual two steps forward and, at least, one back (on some days more).

We go through their reasoning.

Then we point out that the challenge they think they face is only a symptom of a much deeper problem. This is a revelation. A lightbulb moment that prompts them to believe that, at long last... They may have found someone who can guide them up the mountain they want to climb.

This shifts them from their starting belief to a new one... That if they listen to you, they might, just might succeed.

They are ready to go on a journey with you…

The journey

Part #2: The Rising Action

Now it's time to explain one aspect of why the much deeper problem keeps happening. 

Break out one piece of your 5 step method and go into why it's an important part of the process. This is a good opportunity to tell your reader the story of how you discovered this part of the solution. 

Write about 500 words in this part but keep it fairly high level. Going into too much detail confuses your reader.

Tension

Remember: There are two things going on here.

When they started their journey, they were looking forward… Towards their goal. Their momentum is pulling them effortlessly forward... 

That is until they run into the first thing on the journey that goes wrong. Self-doubt floods in. Imposter Syndrome too. They begin to waver. These feelings of powerlessness stall their progress and begin to pull them backward.

Hence the all too familiar vicious cycle... Two steps forward and one back.

This story structure is designed to break that cycle... To keep them moving forward and stop them from going off to find another bright shiny object (external solution)...

You might feel that you're almost giving away the farm, but I don't mean you should be telling your audience every minute detail. I do mean telling them a minimum of what your method involves so that you (it) don't sound mysterious

The story you tell is in essence a journey from failure to success … from sickness to health … from victimhood to victory... And how to get there.

Transformation

Part #3: The Climax

The path up the mountain is steep and hard. The hero (your ideal client) has to overcome many challenges on the path...

You've gone into one aspect of the solution at some length. Now it's time to list the other milestones they will have to pass on their journey so they have a picture in their minds of where they are and how much further they have to go.

This is a good time to explain that the solution you have proposed is in fact the method you use with your one-to-one clients to help them achieve their goals. Explain how long the results take to appear and how to recognize the first signs of success.

Remember... 

Up to now you have only talked about the solution to your ideal client's problem and have made no mention of the fact that you just happen to be well placed to be their guide on this journey.

They have to accept the solution is right for them before they can be ready to hire you.

Summit

Part #4: The Falling Action

Now we’re on the road home. 

Your hero has a clear vision of the complete journey they have to go on and they know they can guide you on that journey.

You know that not everyone reading your story is qualified to go with you. It's time to be really clear about who is and who isn't. 

To work with me, 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, DM me on Messenger and we’ll discuss.)

You must love writing and sharing your thoughts about the topics you’re an expert in and realize that investing in your ability to communicate your value to your folks is probably the most asset you could develop.

To join me on my 30-Day Story-Driven Workshop costs $5,000

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.

For instance, I use this exact same story structure in my marketing to attract 3 to 4 high-level clients every month working part-time (25-30 hours per week) so $15-$20k months are what the right people can expect to make consistently.

if they structure their stories using these 5 simple steps

  1. Set-up
  2. Rising Action
  3. Climax
  4. Falling Action
  5. Resolution

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 their audiences and ensure they onboard one new high-value client every 7 to 10 days within 6 weeks of completing the program.

It should be said that this is an intensive program that works best for both solopreneurs and people with small teams, who want to enroll more of their ideal prospects in their high-ticket offers.

In addition to spending 50% of our time together on storytelling... during which you practice your writing based on a belief-shifting story framework I provide (You receive detailed feedback from me on as many posts as you wish to write).

We also review the following things:

  1. Your positioning and high-ticket offer.
  2.  Your organic outreach strategy.

You get:

1-2-1 calls with me, detailed assignments and guidelines for everything, unlimited private access over Messenger in between calls, access to a private community 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!

The next steps:

If interested, DM me on Messenger and we’ll chat to see if it’s a fit OR email me at [email protected].

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!

WORK TOGETHER

You don't need another secret tactic or hack that promises much but delivers little -- You need a clear people-focused digital marketing strategy which gives you the mindset and vision you need to succeed. Let's get started.

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Boomer Digital is unique because it breaks mindsets that tell us in an older generation that " normal " for me is time to finish . But I am loaded with ideas and inspiration. Boomer Digital is a coach of my generation roaring to me to finish the race with glory not rust out before the starting gun fires.

Just yesterday I became positively irritated about starting out a business. The only available resources were outside my dreams and interests. Here if I don't find the resources I need I see something close enough.

Alan Bowman

Rory has a great marketing insight, offers constructive feedback and also helps you better understand your customer so you can more effectively speak to them. His approach helps you focus on what's important and not get caught up in the unnecessary details so you can get your product launched quickly.

Amber Briggs

Rory is a savvy marketer who can help you build your digital funnel. What a lot of people underestimate in marketing is establishing the basis. If you don't know what you stand for and who you're talking to, your marketing is a shot in the dark. Rory can help you fix this problem and get you going with clarity.

Hannes Kuehn

Rory is an extremely patient and very expert. He is helping me with my sales funnel and I am learning so much from him. He has a way of keeping things simple and profound. I would highly recommend him!

Chengi Tobun - Black Swan Management Group

Rory is a great marketer and coach. He’s really helped me refine my marketing message so it resonates with my target market in a powerful way.

Myrna E Arroyo

What I like working with Rory, is his excellent sense for what is important, step by step. He gives me the structure to do the work I need to do, he is giving excellent feedback and at the same time he honors, that in the end I have to decide how the content of my campaign should look like. He is an excellent sparring - partner and a pragmatic coach, who always points to the simple but effective solutions.

Daniela Bomatter

As a presentation professional, part of my core proposition is that I take a client’s idea and transform it into a compelling story and presentation. This is exactly what Rory did for my marketing messaging. He understood immediately what I wanted to communicate. Rory has a wide breadth of knowledge in all aspects of online marketing. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him.

Jan Pochop - Founder/CEO, Pochop Presentations

I chose to work with Rory for his great personality, clarity and expertise. Still, I got way more than I expected. He coached me through a deep marketing process and my outcome was way beyond what I had expected. It had to do a lot with Rory's strong focus and his ability to understand me and my customers. Rory became a good friend that I will always come back to when I need advice about online marketing and how to build better customer relationships.

Paal Christian Buntz - The Wildman Programme

I strongly recommend Rory as a strategy and marketing coach for his candid and skilful approach. He’s currently helping me to set up my business and I am finally making good progress with it. Methodology is clear and straightforward and every conversation with Rory represents a major step forward in my journey as he helps me focus, make informed decisions, and move closer to my goal.

Valeria Rosignoli - VR Coaching

Rory is currently helping build my Life Coaching business, and that includes identifying a target market that I connect with, learning how to speak their language, creating products and services catered to my target market, and creating a minimal viable funnel that will help me market.

My journey with Rory has been really great. He understands me and what I want to deliver, he is a great mentor by seeing the answers within me, and works with me to bring those answers out. If you are feeling stuck in terms of marketing yourself or product/service, Rory is the go to man!

Lana Maher

I have been learning the art of marketing with Rory for a couple months now. I have been impressed with how deeply he knows his subject and his ability to make it understandable.

Aman Berry
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