Storytelling for Marketers: The Most In-Depth Instruction Kit Anywhere (Part 1)

by Josh Barney

Give your eyes a break, listen to the audio version:


Jimmy’s heart is in the seat of his pants.

He wipes his brow and refreshes the page a third time.

It’s not a lie.

There was no mistake, no technical glitch.

His head shakes.

Why should he believe it? Nobody had visited his content for the last three days.

But, those stats are still there.

They haven’t moved or changed.

It’s not an error, he’s sure now.



Storytelling For Marketers

storytelling content marketing

Content doesn’t have to read like the above to propel your traffic to DIMENSION WONDERLAND.

There are SPADE-LOADS of different ways to draw readers into your content.

And we’re going to give them to you, alongside PLANS, STRATEGIES and a dumper truck’s worth of valuable storytelling INSTRUCTION.

So, you’ve got no story? Einstein Marketer will find one for you.

No creativity? We’ll drag it out of you.

No clue where to start? You’re in the right place.

Stick with us as we traverse swamps, whip up offices and crystalize pie-in-the-sky ideas.

And you too, can boost traffic, increase return readership and pump a unwieldy surplus of gut-punching energy into your content.


Why Storytelling?

storytelling guide for marketers

If you’re asking that question, you’ve arrived late to the party.

But that’s cool. Einstein Marketer’s that slick guy in the corner, who’s prepared to wrap his arm around the newbie and explain why everybody wants to talk to him.

Let’s start with something really simple: PEOPLE CRAVE STORIES.

You’ve read to this sentence, because you want the full story. You’re already consumed by how this is going to turn out, what’s next, what you’re going to learn, and what it’ll do for your digital strategy.

The answer to all those questions will become apparent.

Did you know, about a third of your day is spent daydreaming? Everyone does it. And yes, we know how to DROPKICK a stat right into the heart of your flow.

So, what exactly are you daydreaming about?


Just because it’s about a minor irritation in your life, or your spouse, or something you’re looking forward to, it doesn’t mean it’s not a story.

Stories are all around us. They’re everywhere. Open your last unread email, there’s a story behind that. Look at the person closest to you, how did they get there? What are they eating for lunch? Where did they buy their socks?

They’re all stories!

Sure, they won’t win any awards, but who cares?

Somebody will ASSOCIATE with them.


Big Benefits

storytelling for marketers benefits

Anyone can pump out stats, unrelated posts, matter-of-fact content…

…but will anyone read it?

Their mother’s might. Maybe they’ll tell them it’s good too.

But the rest of us will quietly IGNORE it.


It doesn’t do the things that visitors demand from 21st century content.

Here’s a little list of the juicy stuff readers want:

(SPOILER ALERT: We find them all in storytelling content)


storytelling tips content marketers relatable

Does your reader relate to your content?

Maybe you’re solving their problems, or giving away a huge portion of valuable information, but if you’re not explaining it in a relatable way, readers will give up before they’ve even got to the good stuff.


2. Relationship building-

storytelling for content marketers build relationships

Does your reader feel closer/more attached to you after reading your content?

First dates can be fun (sometimes), they can also be awkward, horrible and leave you never wanting to see that person again. If you’re writing content without a story, your visitors are basically going on a first date with you every time they visit.


  1. Engaging/emotional-


storytelling for marketers guide

How does your content make your audience feel?

Your audience will return if you can stir emotion in them.

Make them smile and they’ll think you’re funny. Show empathy, compassion or warm their heart and they’ll think you’re genuine. Make them sad and they’ll think you’re relatable.

Do this and you’ll be more than a faceless entity on the other side of the screen, YOU’LL BE REAL.


Got it? Good

So, now you want to be like Jimmy? Remember him? The guy sitting at his computer, gawping at the results on his screen?

Pick up a pen and paper, and prepare yourself for Lesson 1.


Lesson 1

Before we can paint the scenery, or create a plot, we need to focus on our main character.

This is not true for the novels you read on your commute, or books you adored as a child, they probably focussed on plot first.

But, we’re content marketers.


Nobody’s gonna give us a Nobel Prize for a Blog series anyway.



storytelling for content marketers character

An AWESOME main character (protagonist) will achieve all the things we want from our content (relate, build relationships, engage, evoke emotion).

Creating one is easy. All you need to do is use these two options:

  1. You
  2. Your target customer


You doesn’t necessarily mean you.

(Yes, we know that’s confusing, but stick with us).

You can be your business, your staff, your product, your brand, your logo.

Basically, anything that’s on your side of the fence.

Using YOU as your protagonist, provides instant relation to your target market. It takes your relationship from 0 to 1, and if told well, can engage and evoke emotion in your audience.

Here’s a video ad example of a YOU PROTAGONIST:

Your Target Market

Who could evoke more emotion than a character who faces the same hardships as your target market every day?

BTW: when we say target market, we aren’t talking about the whole 5,000,000 of them. A target market protagonist is the personification of all of them.

If you’ve got your CUSTOMER AVATAR handy, use that. If you’ve got your EMPATHY MAP filled in, even better.

Or use a current or previous customer (if they give permission).

When using a target market protagonist, drive straight to the heart of their PAIN POINTS. This will engage your audience’s attention like nothing else. They’ll have to know how the story ends.

And when they feel like that, you’ve got the ATTENTION.

From there, you can take them anywhere you want.

Here’s a video ad example of a TARGET MARKET PROTAGONIST:

More…where? When? How? 

This is lesson 1 (in our storytelling for marketers series). What were you expecting? 25,000 words?

You would’ve never got this far if we gave you it all in one hit.

And you wouldn’t have had time to get your Protagonist in order.

We suggest you go away, create numerous (you’ll need more than one) characters for both YOU and YOUR TARGET MARKET, and check back to our blog in a few days.

We’re coming back with template structures, examples of how to write content stories, storytelling features that’ll make your audience BEG FOR MORE

…and where to use them to maximise results.

We’ll see you there.

Get over to Storytelling Part 2 HERE.

(This is not the end, it’s just the end of the beginning).

Did you enjoy this content? Perhaps there’s something you’d like advice about? Leave us a comment below or send us a message, and we’ll reply as soon as our social media manager has stopped talking about Chelsea FC.

Josh is the Founder of We Imagine Media, an award-winning content marketer, best selling author and creator of the He creates and strategises content, sharing the most successful tactics with his lovely audience. He hates writing in the third person, follow him on the social links so he can get back to writing as himself.

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