Using the Seven Basic Plots: Storytelling in B2B Marketing


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In 2005, Christopher Booker published a book identifying seven basic plots that all stories follow. Check out the presentation to find out how to use them in content marketing.

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Using the Seven Basic Plots: Storytelling in B2B Marketing

  1. 1. Using the Seven BasicPlots { Storytelling in B2B Marketing
  2. 2. Q. Why does contentmarketing need stories?
  3. 3. A. Because this is what yourcontent is up against:
  4. 4. The internet is crammedwith entertaining stuff, youraudience leads a busylife, and the only hope youhave of grasping theirattention…
  5. 5. even for a moment –
  6. 6. is by hooking them in with areally engaging story.
  7. 7. In2005, ChristopherBooker publishedthis book.
  8. 8. Booker identified sevendifferent plots that moststories follow – plots thathave existed for millennia.
  9. 9.  Overcoming the Monster The Quest Tragedy Rebirth Romance Voyage and Return Rags to Riches
  10. 10. { Overcoming the MonsterA hero is tasked with destroying a monster(not necessarily a literal one). Examples:Beowulf, Gilgamesh and Jaws.
  11. 11. { The QuestA hero steps forth to perform a task, andusually has friends/allies around to helpout. Examples: The Hobbit, The Odyssey,Watership Down and Ocean’s Eleven.
  12. 12. { TragedyThe protagonist wants something so badly that theylose part of themselves in trying to get it. By the endare no longer themselves – they have become amonster. Examples: Hamlet, American History X andSpider-Man 3.
  13. 13. { RebirthA main character is almost on the path totragedy, but something happens that allows themto see themselves from the outside and so dosomething about it. Examples: A ChristmasCarol, Groundhog Day and The Secret Garden.
  14. 14. { RomanceTwo souls are destined to be together, but arekept away from each other by fate, and so theymust work towards being together. Examples:Pride and Prejudice, The Princess Bride and Shrek.
  15. 15. { Voyage and ReturnThe protagonist finds him or herself in a world wherenothing makes sense, with no understanding of who isfriend and who is foe. Finally they learn the ropes of theworld and can act upon this knowledge. Examples: Alicein Wonderland, Gulliver’s Travels and Labyrinth.
  16. 16. { Rags to RichesA main character, through their own efforts (andmaybe supernatural help), is able to rise abovetheir station in life and achieve what they desire.Examples: Cinderella, Rocky, Slumdog Millionaire.
  17. 17. Applyingstorytelling to B2Bmarketing { A few ideas
  18. 18. Storytelling techniques canbe applied to all kinds ofcontent.
  19. 19. Here’s how you can makeyour content tell a story – infour steps.
  20. 20. 1. Think like a director Cast your ideal customer in the hero’s role.
  21. 21. 2. Pick a story What kind of story will your content tell about them?
  22. 22. 3. Decide on the stakes What’s at stake for your hero? What obstacles do they need to overcome? What conflicts will they encounter? (Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes to answer these questions.)
  23. 23. And: How will they prevail? How does your protagonist get out of their bind? (Hint: this where you get to plug your product or service.)
  24. 24. 4. Create your story ...whether it’s a video, case study, brochure, ebook, infographi c, online game, or something else entirely.
  25. 25. You don’t have to use theseven basic plots, but theydo help to create a strongstory. Here are a few ideasfor how to use them…
  26. 26. { Overcoming the MonsterYour brochure reveals the terrifying monsterlurking at the heart of your hero’s organisation.How can your hero overpower it and save theday?
  27. 27. { The QuestA great prize is at stake, but your hero can’t claimit on his/her own. Your blog post details the alliesthey’ll need to complete the quest successfully.
  28. 28. { TragedyYour ebook tells a cautionary tale about someonevery like your hero, whose obsession with doingthe wrong thing turned out be to their – and theirorganisation’s – undoing.
  29. 29. { RebirthAn infographic reveals the path your hero is on –and it’s the wrong one. What can he/she do toget on the right path for success?
  30. 30. { RomanceYour hero is missing something in theirlife, something that makes their existenceincomplete. Your demo video helps themovercome the obstacles to find it.
  31. 31. { Voyage and ReturnAn online game throws your hero into a confusingand chaotic world. How will they find their wayout?
  32. 32. { Rags to RichesA case study tells the story of how your heroovercame the odds to turn his/her company’sfortunes around.
  33. 33. If you want to see some B2Bexamples of the seven basicplots, read Storytelling inB2B marketing: using theseven basic plots on theRadix Communications blog.
  34. 34. To conclude:The stories are out there,already.
  35. 35. It’s our job as copywriters andmarketers to tell them in a waythat engages and entertains theaudience, creates an affinitywith the brand or product –and ultimately leads to a sale.
  36. 36. What stories will you tell?
  37. 37.  The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by Christopher Booker, 2005  The Seven Basic plots – Television Tropes & Idioms  Storytelling in B2B marketing: using the seven basic plots – Radix Communications  Storytelling in B2B marketing: how to use a three- act structure – Radix CommunicationsSources and further reading
  38. 38.  Kraken by davitydave  The Capture of the Golden Fleece by Jean-François Detroy  Tragedy by Clyde Robinson  Ignorance and Want by John Leech  Pride and Prejudice illustration collection  Cheshire Cat by thethreesisters  Cinderella Pumpkins by Gloria Cabada-Leman  Sword by Daniel R. Blume  Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers by dbking  Dragon by Darek Donnfhlaidh  Tallship Bark Europa by jan-borgstede  Romeo and Juliet by Francis Sydney Muschamp  Groundhog by webhamster  Much Ado About Nothing by Robert Alexander Hillingford  Mushrooms by Gabrielle  Rumble in the Jungle by Andrius PetruceniaImage sources
  39. 39. Radix is a copywriting agency for the content marketing era. We workwith in-house and agency-side marketers to develop programmes ofcontent that guide customers through every stage of the buying process.We specialise in the B2B technology sector, with expertise in enterprisehardware and software, networking, electronics and industrialautomation.In the past twelve months we have worked with innovative companieslarge and small, including Adaptive Planning, AtTask, Canonical, GOSSInteractive, Oracle and Spirent. And weve had the pleasure of workingwith some of the UKs top B2B marketing agencies, including MarketingOptions International, Velocity and Volume. About us