Your product or services will likely solve a problem for your customers, or fulfil particular needs and wants. No matter how boring you view this product, it sits within a ‘story arc’ that can always be made interesting to consumers facing the challenges that it solves.
In Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, a basic pattern of storytelling is defined as a ‘monomyth’ or ‘hero’s journey’. This is a pattern that can be seen in a wide range of storytelling from around the world. Essentially, protagonists within a story go through a number of common stages, as below:
From Homer’s The Odyssey, to Medieval Romances and modern sci-fi adventures such as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Avatar, this story arc persists:
Using Star Wars as an example, the story arc is easily recognisable:
We can use this kind of story arc in a content marketing strategy through switching the protagonist with the customer, and then offer mentorship through the content, and the promise of reward (or quest completion) from the product. For instance:
While the second story is hardly going to make audiences as excited as one of the most successful films of all time, it can help you shape a relevant structure for you content marketing plan. For instance, from Joe’s potential ‘quest’, you could shape it as follows:
This story arc has a good understanding of the protagonist (who could be defined by your personas), their challenges and how you could solve these. It's a great place to start from!
By James Carson
James Carson is a Content Strategy consultant and owner of Carson Content. He was formerly Head of Digital Marketing at Bauer Media, where he oversaw digital integration and content strategy for some of the UK's largest media brands including FHM, Grazia and heat. You can talk to him on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.
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