Close Menu

Why Your Storytelling Isn’t Working

Have you seen the 1997 blockbuster Titanic?

The most fun I have when teaching digital writing workshops is a storytelling exercise. I ask participants: “What do you think Titanic is about?”

They answer, “Rose and Jack, the love story, the iceberg, and so on.”

What do you think it’s about?

Find Your Point of View

The truth is, Titanic is about a ship. A ship that sank. And the storytelling device used to frame that narrative is the case of a missing diamond and a fantastic love affair.

The filmmakers chose to tell the story from that point of view. They also understood that every story needs the following three items:

  • Character
  • Goal
  • Obstacle

Let’s try this on:

Star Wars

  • Characters: Luke/Leia/Han Solo/Darth Vader
  • Goals: Bring light to the force/bring darkness to the force
  • Obstacles: The Emperor, Darth Vader, The Rebels

Harry Potter

  • Character: Harry Potter
  • Goal: Defeat Voldemort
  • Obstacle: Voldemort

The story’s point of view depends on who is telling the tale. As a marketer, it’s your job to find your point of view and tell your brand’s story. Here’s a helpful checklist of questions to ask yourself:

  • Who are we choosing to be the character?
  • What is that character’s goal?
  • What is his/her obstacle?

Most of the time, you don’t want your brand to be the character. You want to use something that represents your brand. That way, you can tell the story from the character’s point of view, but make your brand look great.

When it comes to great storytelling, don’t forget the last step: resolution. (Of course, it’s been nearly 40 years and we’re still waiting on the last three chapters of Star Wars to find out what really happens.)

Interested in your team learning more about storytelling? Consider our digital writing workshops where we develop your messaging and then train how to tell that unique story.

Tags:

About Ahava Leibtag

Ahava Leibtag, MA

Ahava R. Leibtag has more than 15 years of experience in writing, messaging and marketing. She is a well-recognized content expert and writes thought leadership about content strategy and content marketing. Ahava is the President and owner of Aha Media Group, a content strategy and content marketing consultancy founded in October 2005. She... More >