July 12, 2017

Tell Basic Human Stories that Work

Do you have a bookshelf or two at home? Let me tell you about the mysterious thing that happens on mine.

So, I have some books. I don’t have a huge library; I read a lot on Kindle, and only keep paperbacks I highly value.

And yet… if I turn my back on the bookshelf for a few weeks, MORE books appear! It’s like they magically multiply, all by themselves.

(Whisky bottles seem to multiply in the same manner).

So, I’m trying to read through my backlog of paperbacks. A few weeks ago I re-read The Warden by Anthony Trollope. I read it first when I was 18. My literature teacher at school gave me a copy when I finished my A-levels, so I’ve kept it because of that.

I remember not really enjoying it when I first read it, because essentially not much happens. There’s no death, sex, or other major controversy. So, would I enjoy it more second time round?

I can tell you I did enjoy it more second time round! Which you may find remarkable, because I’m sometimes accused of not enjoying very much…

The book is a fairly classic comedy plot. Even though not much appears to happen, it’s the confusion between the characters that gives the story its drama. The story is laced with huge amounts of internal conflict based on dilemmas faced by different characters.

It’s also an illustration that not every story has to be inherently fantastic. You can make a story interesting by focusing on the small details, and adding conflict. This is the formula for every soap opera and reality TV show.

Sometimes basic human stories are most effective. Which is something to bear in mind, when you’re telling stories in your marketing.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.