Stories about our stories are fascinating.  Take Ernest Hemingway’s well-know six-word story.  “For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn.”  The story is remarkable but additionally so are the stories attempting to confirm the authenticity of Hemingway’s sentence.

At Chris Guillebeau’s Pioneer Nation gathering near Mt. Hood, Oregon I attended sessions dedicated to crafting one’s message.  Creating a compelling story frequently returned to the following outline:

  • Start with a hook (draw the listener in)
  • Offer a brief introduction (who are you and why do you matter?)
  • Deliver the content (what is the message)
  • Make a call to action (empower the listener to take immediate action)

There are many stories online to serve as templates.  Visit Kickstarter or gofundme to see examples of individuals telling remarkable and not so compelling narratives.  Review of data demonstrate that an initial promotional story/video needs to be less than 1:45 in length before the attrition rate grows (and the viewer misses our call to action).  As we build an audience the length of the stories may expand.

Classic stories began ‘once upon a time’, which served as both the hook and the introduction.  The challenge today is to engage with those who are served by our stories.  Not every story will resonate but those that find our content meaningful will celebrate each chapter.

Here are a couple masters of storytelling using a variety of approaches.

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