So, let’s talk about content.

Storytelling for Success

Content marketing. You’ve seen the phrase around. I know you have. Unless you’re a hermit living in one of those astonishing caves in Cappadocia. In which case, welcome to the internet and thanks for stopping by my blog! Here is a link to the most important stuff online.

For the rest of us, especially those of us involved in any sort of writing or marketing or general internettery, the term is well nigh ubiquitous. But I’ve noticed a lot of folks aren’t exactly sure what it means. So let’s clear that up, mm?  Continue reading

So, how about marketing done right?

Storytelling for Success

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about the facepalm-worthy fails of the marketing world. The late night television ads that assume folks are too dumb to operate hammers. The stuff so sexist or racist you wonder how it ever made it to print. Even the things that are just…meh.

Here’s how German home improvement biz Hornbach does it right.


This ad is not only good at giving you warm fuzzies, it works on a whole host of levels. Strong use of color? Check. Excellent narrative? Check. Tapping in to the way we’ve all felt like outsiders? Super check. This aging goth is going to be smiling all day. Who knew DIY was so heart-warming?

Watch it a couple of times. Analyze it. Then see what you can take away for your own marketing.

(Tip of the hat to Fast Company for tweeting the link.)

So, you talk about tropes a lot, Steph

Storytelling for Success

Yep, I do. And I play pretty fast and loose with the term, too. But there’s a method to my madness. Won’t you join me as I saunter down the trope-y garden path?

But before we begin: A warning. Stay on that path. If you stray, you may end up lost in the dark wood, and stumble across a place called TV Tropes. And it will devour all your free time. In a glorious self-referential display, TV Tropes even has a page about how TV Tropes will ruin everything for you. I’m not kidding. That site is a massive time sink (but also excellent and useful for analyzing storytelling). So. Beware, abandon all hope, etc.

Back to tropes. What are they? Strictly speaking, they’re figurative language — similes, metaphors, figures of speech, that sort of thing. But like a lot of terms, the word has mutated over time and now means rhetorical or literary devices, the techniques at are the basic building blocks of storytelling. Like Legos. You can use the same blocks (knights and princesses) to build a spaceship (Star Wars) or a castle (King Arthur). Continue reading

So, here’s Thought Experiment #6

By now, if you write or market or create, oh, anything, you’ve heard of the elevator pitch. Forbes has covered ‘em. Entrepreneur has covered ‘em. This page has the best image choice ever for ‘em. We can safely conclude that critter is here to stay.

But you don’t want to craft an elevator pitch for your brand. Ugh. Boring.

Nah. You want to craft a movie trailer for your brand.

Please note: I’m not saying go make one (though you could and it would be awesome and if you do please send me the link immediately.) But think about it. What’s your music? What’s the voiceover text? Does stuff blow up?

(Oh, man. Stuff should blow up. Unless maybe you sell Unexplodable Widgets. Then…yeah. Don’t do that.)

Why would I ask this?

Because you, buddy, should start thinking about how you want to manage perception of your brand.

Run it up the flagpole. See if it waves.

So, do you ever think about magic?

Storytelling for Success

Oh, man. Only all the time. And you should, too. Especially about this French cat named Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin. If his last name looks familiar, that’s because an American escape artist and magician by the name of Ehrich Weiss paid homage to Robert-Houdin in his stage name, Harry Houdini.

Yeah. Dude’s kind of a big deal.

Why? Oh, I love it when you ask the perfect questions. Continue reading

So, what does storytelling require, anyway? Part 3

Storytelling for Success

We’re back again. Together. You and me, ol’ buddy ol’ pal. Here to check out those classical Western storytelling tropes and how they can make your marketing awesome. We’ve already covered the protagonist vs. society and the protagonist vs. antagonist, so today, we’re going to take a look at…

Protagonist vs. Self, ie: Crippling Self-Doubt, Tony Stark’s Default State, Gregor Samsa’s Bad Day, Me Trying Not To Eat A Whole Tin Of Smoked Oysters On Crackers With Hot Sauce Don’t Judge Me They Are Delicious.  Continue reading

So, what’s up with Yo?

Storytelling for Success

Have you heard about Yo? It’s an app. That lets you say “yo.”

No, really. It got seven figures worth of backing, and that’s all it does. That’s it. Or rather, that was it. Yo has been given an overhaul (a yo-verhaul?) that makes it less single-purpose. Users can now send hashtags and include URLs in their messages, expanding the app’s functionality by several orders of magnitude.

Which, to be honest, wasn’t hard.  Continue reading