The Mistake Of Telling Your Story

I want to share with you an insight that I’ve learned from working with a lot of clients. It’s what I’d like to call a “creative assumption,” which is essentially a part of the creative process that most creators overlook because they assume it’s natural, or that it’s best practice and should just be done a certain way.

The problem has to do with storytelling.

Creators are telling their story far too early in the creative process. They’re fleshing out the details of what each segment means to them, what they want the viewer to know, how much it could change a person’s life, etc.

This may be because every article on the internet tells you to focus on storytelling, or because it is what you come away with after watching a great piece of content, so it is understandable.

But let me explain…From the perspective of a potential viewer:

“I don’t care how amazing your story is.”

“I don’t care because I don’t know enough about you, and I haven’t seen more than maybe 3 seconds of your video yet (assuming it showed up in my feed.)”

“I don’t care because it looked over-produced, or it made me read too many things too quickly, or because it gave me the feeling that I’d need to spend a lot of time watching it.”

“I don’t care because even if I made it through the first 20 seconds, it’s starting to get boring. I don’t care that you haven’t gotten to the point yet, I don’t want to be working for you…I want the content to work for me!”

Here’s the solution.

Don’t worry about fleshing out the story yet. Hold on to that part for a minute.

Start with your ideation process. Figure out the core “hook point” of the story you want to tell, or what makes it interesting. Then come up with a different approach, even a different story if you have to. Come up with 5 versions, and 5 completely different styles of hook points. Ditch the ones that don’t hold up against other great content you’ve researched in your genre.

Remember that checklist I sent you in one of my recent emails? If you don’t have it, you can find it here. Make sure you can figure out a creative and compelling way to open your content. If it’s boring or annoying, no one will care about your story.

Now start coming up with the structure of what your message is. In outline form, but no more! Are these the points you would hang your hat on? Are they really going to break the viewer away from their otherwise pretty engaging feed on Facebook or Instagram? Try to be honest with yourself! This will net you better retention.

Ok. Now flesh out the story.

Remember, if the design of your communication isn’t good enough, it’s like telling a great joke to a person who doesn’t know your language. It’ll be completely missed. So take the time to learn that language. In this case? It’s the language of communication, and the language of algorithms. Speak to that as you tell your story.

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