April 13, 2018

The Story Selection See-Saw

I want to share a myth with you about story selection.

Many people seem to think there is a foolproof ‘three step’ or ‘seven step’ formula for selecting the right stories. Headlines such as ‘The ‘Seven Secrets’ to bullet proof story selection’ start to pop up in your newsfeed.

(Even I would be tempted to click on that headline, even though I know better…)

The reality is that selecting stories is more like throwing darts at a darts board. Beyond an estimated guess, you don’t really know where they will land.

So you have to start off with just that: an estimated guess. You then keep an eye on open rates, click rates, personal replies and so on. It always surprises me which emails people respond to.

I do have a model for story selection – something called the Story Selection See-saw. The two sides of the see-saw are relevance and unexpected. Finding unexpected stories and making them relevant to your message is where the real magic lies.


Most people focus on telling obvious stories: customer stories and product stories. The reality is these are expected, and only really work when someone very close to placing an order.

If you need to keep someone in your world for a while before they buy, you need to learn how to spot and use unexpected stories.

I talk more about this in my second book Simple Story Selling.

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.