The book 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them came at the perfect time for us. Over the last couple of years, content writing has become more about the story and less about “keyword stuffing.” As we discussed in a previous article, during this time Google has learned how to read and distinguish between a well-written article with useful information and an article that is written solely for the purpose of capturing Google’s own attention. The reason Google does this is because it wants the user to find the most relevant content for the terms they are searching. A happy user is Google’s ultimate goal and should be yours as well. These are your prospective clients.
For this reason, content writing is about conveying pertinent, useful, interesting information to your readers. What better way to capture your current and prospective clients’ attention than by making them the heroes of your story? This is the direction we’ve taken in the last couple of years, and it’s working. We have seen firsthand that stories about people are more engaging and generate more traffic. Make the client the protagonist, tell a great story, and you captivate people. This is why 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them arrived on our bookshelf at the perfect time. We needed some solid story-telling background.
The essential point that Tobias makes in the book is that plot is not merely a skeleton or a framework that supports the story – it is an integral part of every single aspect of the story, such that it cannot be removed, lest the story disintegrate into nothing. There are two encompassing, general plots, which can then be broken down into many more, of which Tobias discusses twenty. The two plots are:
- Force = power, strength, physicality = body = tragedy = forza = action
- Fraud = wit, cleverness, mentality = mind = comedy = forda = mind
Of the 20 plots that Tobias discusses, we thought that two were most useful for content writing – action and adventure. If we apply these two plots to content writing for business, it will assist us in organizing our content into more compelling stories that draw readers (potential clients or referral sources) in and urge them to read more. Note that although we would love to be the hero, let’s face it, the client is always the hero, so move over and let them shine.
One of our personal favorites is the plot where the client has a lofty goal and while they are trying to achieve that goal, an obstacle is set in their way. The client’s team is then challenged to overcome the obstacle in order to reach their goal. Of course, the story isn’t satisfying if there is complete failure, so we avoid those (remember, always make the client look good!), but when the protagonist is challenged and claims victory, this is exciting for everyone involved, and the story is more interesting. This is the kind of story everyone tells at the water cooler on Monday morning. It’s a good story because it gives people a thrill. Affect people’s emotions and you will reach them on a more personal level.
If you are writing content for your business or your clients, we recommend reading 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them to derive some interesting insights into weaving stories into your content. Sometimes it is difficult to come up with interesting, captivating content, so this may be just what you need to spice up your writing and give you a fresh perspective.
Below are some more storytelling in content marketing articles to help you navigate this challenging and fascinating realm of writing:
iScoop – The art of storytelling in 6 content marketing context questions
Fast Company – Six Rules for Great Storytelling from a Moth-Approved Master of the Form