I had a nice quiet weekend planned, maybe do a bit of work on the site but largely recover and look forward to a big week ahead.
However, to quote Scottish poet Rabbie Burns, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!”
I had the May Issue of the Casual Marketer Monthly Newsletter all ready to go last week and then something came up on Friday that got me thinking. Before I knew it, I decided to shelve the issue I’d already done and start again with a whole new idea.
To be clear, that’s not an inconsequential piece of work. The newsletters are usually between 4000 and 5000 words, plus they need a bit of work with regards to layout and editing. Plus to get them out on time, I need to get them printed and stuffed into envelopes. There’s a fair bit that goes into this magic show!
Saturday rolled around and I got stuck into it. As Burns said, I was in a state of grief and pain in the name of promised joy!
The idea that came to me was about storytelling. More to the point, how crafting your origin story is critical to your client relationships.
As you no doubt know by now, I’m a big believer that the best way to convey your message, no matter if it’s for entertainment or for marketing (or both at the same time), is to tell stories. A good narrative is memorable, captivating and persuasive without being aggressive. These are all the hallmarks of a good sales pitch!
But I’m more into fostering long-term relationships with my audience. To do that successfully, I need to provide a consistent underlying narrative.
That’s where your backstory comes in, or as the comic books refer to it, your origin story. I bet there isn’t a single person reading this that couldn’t tell me Batman, Superman and Spiderman’s origin stories. We have seen and heard them so many times that we know them intimately.
And if that were all there was to it, they’d be no more memorable than a nursery rhyme – I bet most of you could recite “Jack and Jill” or “Humpty Dumpty” off the top of your head too. While those nursery rhymes have great subtle political narratives, they’re limited to rhyming couplets and funny ideas we tell to children.
With the comic book origin stories, they provide context to the character. We know Batman is a driven vigilante because of what happened to his parents and his slightly sociopathic behaviour can be traced to his incredible wealth blurring the lines of what’s practical and what isn’t.
When we see Batman fighting to “reclaim his city” there’s the element of defeating criminals, but there’s also that small piece that in some way, Gotham is actually his city, Wayne Enterprises does, in fact, own a significant part of Gotham.
We can totally use this in our marketing.
Your origin story tells how you came to be where you’re at today, how you got there and the journey you took along the way. It gives your audience depth and colour about you and the story when you communicate with them.
The key, of course, is keeping everything consistent.
Batman doesn’t “kill” because that’s a line he can’t cross due to what happened to his parents. There have been occasions where Batman does cross that line (almost always inadvertently) and EVERY SINGLE TIME the real fans of the comic book are outraged.
The same thing applies with your marketing, if you create a backstory that’s one of rags to riches, then you can’t tell people about the time your family rented all of Disneyland as a kid because your sister caught Chicken Pox and missed her trip there for her best friend Amy’s ninth birthday. That just doesn’t make sense.
There are some common story arcs and structures that almost every good origin story that people use with their marketing contain. In the newly written May Issue of the newsletter, I deconstruct those and give subscribers a framework on how to create their own origin story.
If you want to learn how the secrets of a crafting your own great backstory, then I suggest you click here and pick up the May 2016 Back Issue which walks you through the whole process and importance of crafting your own backstory.