The Hero’s Journey and Storytelling

As Marketers, we have to tell stories often. But sometimes when it comes to writing, we’ve forgotten what that story is.

hero journey
Some of the best stories involve evocative heroes leaving the known world. He’s given challenges where he overcomes seemingly impossible obstacles. After some successes and at least one defeat, the hero emerges — victorious! Whether the hero gets the girl or guy, or saves the world, the essence of what makes stories great is their ability to simultaneously take your audience on a journey. Essentially, many of the best stories involve everyday individuals overcoming unique challenges, inspiring us to do the same in our own lives.

To get geeky, Joseph Campbell mapped this hero’s journey after discovering that every major culture has heroes. Every culture’s heroes are called to adventure where they overcome obstacles. From Hercules, to Raven, to Luke Skywalker from Star Wars, these heroes are on an epic journey. His theory is that this essential storytelling is so interwoven into our fabric that it’s what we expect. For example, when you enter a movie theater, you generally know — with some exceptions — the good guys are going to win.

Okay, interesting, but how does this impact me?

Marketers can capture this same spirit within their content. While it isn’t an easy feat, there are a few strategies you can follow to craft excellent content stories and inspire your readers.

1. Your customer is the hero

It’s tempting to make your company the hero. That’s a mistake. Instead, your buyers and customers are the heroes. By using your products and services, they have overcome obstacles to victory. Victories could seem as mundane as saving money or as interesting as saving the entire company.

Added bonus: when your customer is the hero, they tell the story, too.

2. Watch your craft

Of course, your stories should be in brand — they should sound like your company. And when done well, these stories can serve in many different places — in your customer testimonials, in your website copy, in your collateral and in your blog posts. Even your salespeople should know these stories, being able to recall them quickly and easily. Not only will this give you content to use in multiple places, it’ll build the stories you tell. It may even convince prospects on the fence. Data and stories, when used together, have a greater impact appealing to people’s logic and emotions.

3. Get your audience involved

Sometimes just the story itself is riveting. That’s great! But when it’s a shared story moving beyond the walls of your office and building … wow. It’s magical. It’s mystical. It’s viral.

So, how do you involve others? You ask their stories. You can do that with polls and surveys or even as a continuted discussion. For example, just about everyone has a story for failing and what was learned. Once you’ve learned it, that in and of itself can help form part of the heroes journey.

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Tamra Matthews

Tami Matthews

Tami Matthews is a content marketing manager at ReadyTalk. What’s content marketing? It’s a fancy way to say she writes, edits, and plans content – copy, articles, videos, podcasts, and more -- for our website, social media, white papers, ebooks, etc. She has more than 20 years of experience writing and loves it so much, she does it in her spare time. When she’s not at work, she’s hanging out with her spunky daughter and loving husband, reading, writing, and hiking. She’s kinda into sci-fi and loves to talk Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, Firefly, Blake’s 7, Hitchhiker’s Guide, and general geekery with anyone who will listen or engage.

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