Dear Matt, it’s not so hard to create a simple story.

(What follows is the outline I wrote in advance of recording the video. They’re my talking points. Not a regular post or article. Just an outline.)

Matt is a student of my course, Selling with Stories.

He wrote to me and asked…

“Nick, your course taught me a lot about the power of stories, and how they can be used to engage with an audience and ultimately help make a sale. But… even after completing the course, I feel intimidated and don’t feel confident about being able to create strong stories myself.”

Ouch. That sounds like a fail. On my part. Not his.

OK. First, stories can be gloriously complex and involved. I love big, long stories. I love novels. I love movies. And I’m a student of stories, reading books on the topic of creating stories.

All that said… creating a simple story really isn’t so very hard.

Grab a pencil and write this down.

1. You need a beginning, middle and an end.

2. You need a central character.

3. The life or circumstances of that character has to change as he or she travels through the arc of the story.

And as we’re in the business of marketing, that should be a positive change.

We want to move our character from bad place into a better place.

And guess what, it’s our product or service that helps make the change.

Some examples…

Beginning: Our central character is unfit and a little overweight.

Middle: With the help of the wonderful running shoes we’re selling, he gets into the habit of running regularly. Big struggles. Not easy. But he perseveres.

End: He finally finishes his first marathon. He’s fitter, slimmer and a whole lot happier. He’s the hero, but our running shoes share a little of the spotlight.


Beginning: A company’s marketing group is in chaos. Lots of people working from remote locations. People losing important, shared emails, missing phone calls, and so on.

Middle: A big client or opportunity lost. Marketing Director’s job is on the line. How can she save the day? She gets her whole team to dump their email and use an online project management tool.

End: Huge turnaround. Our hero pulls in two big clients. Her team is much happier. Her job is secure. And our product shares the spotlight.

This is a super-simple story structure…

Start in bad place. Struggle through the middle. Emerge into the sunlight with a smile.

You can tell this kind of story in a blog post, in a video, on a sales page, on Facebook, through Instagram or Snapchat… and so on.

So… Matt. I hope this simplifies things a bit and makes the idea of telling a story a little less daunting.

NOTE: If you’d like to use the power of storytelling to increase your skills as a web content writer, online copywriter or social media writer, take my course… Selling With Stories…

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