How a Common Hollywood Screenwriting Technique Can Transform Your Marketing – Part 1 of 3: The Content Marketing Dilemma

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In this three part series, I’ll examine how marketers are increasingly tasked with creating quality content. I’ll define and outline a narrative framework called ‘The Hero’s Journey,’ and how you can use it to improve your content marketing efforts.

Let’s face it, traditional marketing is dead. Or, at minimum it’s on life support. Content marketing – creating, curating and sharing relevant information and ideas with your customers – is the new normal. The key word here is relevant. When you share knowledge that resonates with consumers you’ve given them a real reason to seek you out and engage with your brand. You have a unique insight or knowledge set. Share it with customers (and potential customers) and you’ve made an investment that can help shape your brand’s perception and define your customer relationships.

If you’re currently engaged in content marketing and find that your content is increasingly ignored ask yourself, is the content too bland to ignite any real interest or too similar to other content to garner attention? There are millions of tweets and blog posts, each proclaiming that ‘quality content is king,’ (and they aren’t wrong). But too few tell you how to improve your content to make it eye-catching, interesting, relevant, and share-worthy. The marketer’s dilemma is then, “How can I consistently create quality content that my customers want to engage with?”
Hollywood SignThis contemporary problem can be solved with one of the oldest crafts known to humans, the art of story telling. Specifically, we think the framework of The Hero’s Journey is the perfect structure upon which to build your brand’s story. Ok, ok… I know… you’re probably rolling your eyes right now thinking that this is some solipsistic “liberal arts” nonsense. “What does storytelling have to do with marketing?” The short answer is, “Everything,” but first, let’s take a step back and look at the economic power of storytelling.

According to the US Department of Commerce, the film industry took in $31 Billion in domestic revenues in 2013. Worldwide, the video game market surpassed $93 Billion during the same period. The US publishing industry took in $27 Billion in 2013. Worldwide, people spend hundreds of billions of dollars to read, watch, or listen to stories in movies, television, books, magazines, newspapers, websites, and so on. The ‘story industry’ is a major force in the global economy.

Harry Potter, World of Warcraft, Real Housewives of Atlanta, and a how-to video on your website have very little in common. Except, each taps into the most basic of human desires; the need to hear and share stories. Savvy marketers realize that pushing product features and benefits aren’t going to cut it any more. They create stories that bring those features and benefits to life and follow the classic creative writing rule of, “show not tell.”

So, if we accept the premise that your marketing can be improved through story telling, how can you make a marketing story pop? This is where the Hero’s Journey framework comes in. What is the Hero’s Journey framework? Stay with me now… we’re taking an elevator straight to the top of the ivory tower of academia….

(BTW, if you’re thinking that this blog is an example of content marketing – Spoiler Alert – you’re right.)

Read the next post, “How a Common Hollywood Screenwriting Technique Can Transform Your Marketing – Part 2 of 3: The Hero’s Journey.”

If you’d like to learn about the Hero’s Journey and how it can help your brand, download our free ebook here:

Or, watch our archived webinar: