The Story Grid, Or, How to Get to the Deep Red Heart (or high quality veggie meat) of your message
There is a prompt in creative writing workshops—a trick, really—to get a writer to the core of what they want to say. It works like this:
What I mean to say is,
I’m tired of the same boring workout every day.
What I really mean to say is,
I need to energize my training so I can stay interested and active.
What I really, really mean to say is,
With a training program that mixes it up and keeps me motivated, I am sure to slay at the 2020 Olympics.
So maybe your product or service is other than the fictional DJ Workout, as it certainly must be. The idea is, we begin, as in any captivating story, with a status quo—Once upon a time—and work toward happily ever after. Or, in the case of a product or service, you and your client marking the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
When we at Re.Present say, “trick,” we are not talking about subterfuge. Good content and web presence have nothing to do with pulling any wool over anything, unless we’re getting dressed in our writing pajamas. No, we say trick as in method, knack, creative navigation for mapping our way to the heart of the story, your message. The Story Grid is both map and rigging, allowing us to chart a path and sail into the winds.
It begins with listening, deep listening that lets us hear what makes you stand out from the pack, hear the language that will make your site sing like Sweet Honey in the Rock, speak like Kate Tempest in and outside the vacuum.
A word about heart: despite the glorious artichoke, we are talking about the heart as an animal thing; for our purposes here, the human animal. Our human hearts and minds like stories, mostly about humans, almost always more than we like products and services. Of course, we LOVE when a product or service can make our hearts healthier and happier. Kathy Glotz-Guest says in MarketingProfs, Your product story is always about the people who use what you sell and how their lives are better.
Your story is your own singular journey, and the most effective means of connecting with an audience. Ted Talks’ speaker Lisa Cron reminds us, Story was more crucial to our evolution than our opposable thumbs because all opposable thumbs did was let us hang on. It was story that told us what to hang on to. We want to lay down the language that has your community skipping down that yellow brick road, clicking on your home page, your product page, your blog, because they are moved to hang onto your story, which will make their lives better.