How to Make Your Product Stories Become the Stuff of Hollywood Scripts

Posted: December 5, 2012 in Apple, content creation, customers/buyers, marketing, PR, sales, vendors, web traffic, websites
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Stock Photos: Making movies. Image: 6746033


We read this analysis of “storytelling” recently and were struck by the similarities to the principles that can elevate marketing content from good to really good, or even great. Yes, we’re talking about the guidelines of Hollywood screenwriters.

Before you scoff, consider that your users and customers do not read your website. At least, not necessarily.  Neither do they devour your PDFs.  In fact, they steer clear of anybody’s “marketing content”.  However, they DO read what piques and holds their interest. And this is exactly what great storytelling is and does.  See if you don’t agree how something like a case study or a customer use-case is a close cousin to a great script:

Heroes: They draw an audience like a magnet.  Especially if the “hero” is a character with whom people can relate and identify.  If it’s an underdog fighting the odds, so much the better.  Maybe a beleaguered security professional making tradeoffs between network productivity — and the possibility of compromised data.  IT folks can certainly relate to this.

Antagonist: In a security case you’d call them the bad guys but “they” can also be an abstract. Like the “before” in a before-and-after set of “before” circumstances.  An example would be the conditions that existed in a company where employees are not free to utilize their own smartphones and tablets securely.  In such cases, mobility is a myth. And productivity suffers. Or, in a different sense, there is Apple vs. Microsoft where, in Apple’s messages, we can always count on Windows, or Android, being cast as the straw man or whipping boy.

Big Moment:  AKA, the “aha” that’s the hero’s awakening to what must be done to resolve the conflict, or rectify the wrong, of the situation at hand. “What we need is an app that enables our employees to bring their own devices and stay secure and productive while they access company data wherever they roam!”

Transformation: Now comes the commercial message.  The hero wields your product or service like Luke Skywalker’s Light Saber, overcoming the problem and the odds. Mission accomplished.

Does your content attract and hold the audience you’re looking for today?  Can it work harder? How can you transform your brand’s story into a nonstop page-turner?  Do you see opportunities for your existing product line or new offerings to be dramatized in compelling stories and cases?


(When he’s not posting on this blog, Stan DeVaughn sees to it that technology companies place priority on customer value in their marketing content and communications.  You can also read him at The Write Stuff, the blog of technology writing service Write Angle.)



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