Part 1: The Story
So there’s this guy, right. He’s kinda frumpy looking, and works for a company out West in the US. He’s doing pretty well, but then one day they decide to fire him. A few years later, he gets his job back, but then he dies a few months later.
There’s this other guy, who has this crazy idea to start a company with his best friend. They can tell they’re about to change the world. They live in California, and mess about with drugs, and live the hippie lifestyle. They make millions on their first project, then hit a rough patch, but come back from it triumphantly, changing the way we will all live for the next few decades. Then, sadly, this guy is ill. He powers through it. He works till the end. And when he dies everyone treats him like a messiah.
These are the same men, same story, told differently. Both of these men are Steve Jobs.
Part 2: The Technique
What is a story? How do you tell it? There are four main parts to any good story: mood, relatability, archetypes, and hooks.
Storytelling is more important than branding.
You need to have an overarching narrative to what you’re doing, and this ties in to all the social media stuff you’ll have undoubtedly researched in your quest for online branding.
You are always talking to someone when you’re telling a story, so make sure the way you tell that story reflects that.
Everyone fits into one of the 7 basic plots. These seven stories have been told since the dawn of time, and your story instantly becomes understandable when you fall into one of the categories.
1. Overcoming the Monster | Dracula, Seven Samurai, James Bond, Star Wars
2. Rags to Riches | Cinderella, Aladdin, Jane Eyre
3. The Quest | The Odyssey
4. Voyage and Return | Alice in Wonderland, Gone with the Wind
6. Tragedy | Madame Bovary
7. Rebirth | Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast
Part 3: Personal Storytelling
If you’ll allow me some self-promotional navel gazing for a couple of minutes, I’d like to tell you my story.
I grew up in London, and I did a bunch of things, and now I work at Keeward.
I’m intentionally cutting out what I normally say, because I don’t think that represents me today. Stories change over time.
What is important about what I did, is that I did it exclusively through social media. I had the luxury of time back then, and could test and try and learn. But all my writing was noticed through my personal network at first, then went broader. I owe everything to Facebook and Twitter. I quickly realized I needed to frame the conversation. I picked a narrative. London Born. Ex Banker. Now writer. I didn’t make anything up, it was true, but I told the best version of my story that was available to me.
Part 4: The Wanton Bishops
One of the things I do today is manage the Wanton Bishops, which you might have heard of. I want to show you a video.
So the basics of that video are five hairy dudes went to Stockholm and Copenhagen for a week and played music for a few hours. But the story of that video is that 5 Lebanese guys have been given a unique opportunity to play somewhere new, and to record, by a major company, and they’re happy about it. And they’re travelling and exploring the world. And that bit at the end shows how we look at our analytics, and realize that our audience is no longer Lebanese, so we have to tailor the story around that. We have to know who we’re talking to. Again. Never make anything up, just be sincere and tell the best version of your story that you can.
Part 5: The Missing Link
You can share a link in one of two ways. You can say “here is an article in Daily Star’ or you can say “After 3 years of studying, 14 blisters, 37 patterns, a bank loan and a bunch of sleepless nights, finally a review in the Daily Star”. You’re not making anything up, you’re just framing it the right way.
This brings me to my last point, that a lot of you probably don’t feel you have a story. You’re too humble to think that there’s something to your life that would interest others. But that’s not true. You all have something compelling, and that’s what I’d like to discuss with you over a coffee now.