Storytelling 101: How to Tell Stories Like the Best Screenwriters

how to tell an award winning storyEven though it’s the actors and directors that usually get the spotlight, it’s the screenwriters that deserve just as much credit for weaving an incredible story. It’s the same with content marketing (or marketing of any kind). You must have people who know how to deliver content and who to deliver it to, but storytelling is always at the core.

To tell a good story, you need to know what matters to your audience and find a way to connect with them on that level. To create a successful marketing campaign, you have to understand where your audience is coming from and why they’ve come to you to properly address their needs and concerns.

The processes aren’t identical, but they’re similar. With both screenwriting and content marketing, it’s important to establish purpose, figure out what works, and then, don’t be afraid to mix it up.

Establishing Purpose

Your brand is the protagonist of whatever story you choose to weave, and it’s important to make people care. What do you do? Why do you do what you do? What makes you different? How can people relate to your mission and purpose?

In a good story, the hero has an easily identifiable problem to solve. The characters that catch your attention are the ones whose motivations you can understand and relate to. Make sure each piece you plan and publish has a purpose or it’ll be ignored.

If you’re not relatable, people lose interest. And, if people lose interest, then all your other efforts are obsolete. Be funny. Be compelling. Be something that sets you and your story or brand apart from the others.

Figuring Out What Works

Elliot Grove produced over 700 short films and 5 feature films throughout his career, and he’s identified 10 common elements of award-winning screenplays. One of his keys to success includes “choosing your world.” You either have to show something new about the world your audience already knows or dive into a brand new world and provide something valuable that can be used in the future.

Good storytellers know what people expect and how to play to those expectations. Good content strategists have a system to figure out the same. Since each brand is different, it takes market research and experience to figure out the narrative you want to achieve; how to tell it; and then, how to sell it.

Mixing It Up

While it’s recommended to keep your branding consistent, it’s okay to have fun, too and go “off script” once in awhile. Although most Best Picture category winners are dramas, each one has at least one moment of levity. People usually respond well to humor, since it humanizes the brand.

Stay true to your brand’s core values, but don’t be afraid to throw in a few surprise elements to keep things fresh and exciting. No matter how choice the placements or how high the frequency, if your message doesn’t resonate, you’re not getting noticed. Every success starts with a good story. Make sure you’re doing a good job at telling yours.

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