Addressing the elephant in the room

The Elephant in the Room: Story Archetypes and StoryBrand

I think it’s time we address the elephant in the room…

Occasionally, when someone is talking to me about website copy, I get asked, “Do you do copywriting like StoryBrand (or use StoryBrand)?” Or some other variation of that question.

My thought is, “what do you mean by doing copywriting like StoryBrand?”

Most of what I have seen about StoryBrand for website copy is fairly common and uses solid principles for copywriting.

If you mean “have I paid $10K to get certified?” then the answer is no. I have not. In no time in my life have I had $10K lying around to pay for a course or a brand.

Courses from CopyHackers aren’t even that much!

Website copy should be written to the client reading your page and not filtered with many “I’s” and “We’s.” I totally agree with that.

This makes the client the “hero of the story” I would assume. That’s fine, I can do that, and it makes sense.

But I don’t have the certification and can’t lead you through the worksheets.

I’m sure I won’t get projects because of this and I’m sure I have not gotten projects because I don’t use StoryBrand.

Miller uses an archetype called “The Hero’s Journey” to create his framework. It was originally proposed by Joseph Campbell.

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I am well aware of story archetypes. Anyone in storytelling is.

I think it’s time we address the elephant in the room…

I’m not sure what you thought I was talking about, but here it is.

The elephant in the room, as far as storytelling and business, is story archetypes.

Yup, I’m aware of them.

Yes, I know about Donald Miller’s StoryBrand. I bought the book when it first came out.

I feel very much like Patch Drury in this article on Medium.

I think Patch summarizes it well.

I did a video a few years ago with my thoughts – see video.

Does he (Donald Miller) give credit to Joseph Campbell by adapting his “Hero’s Journey” archetype for his own brand storytelling framework?

I can’t remember much about that, but I recognized the archetype pretty quickly. A colleague doesn’t think he does and probably will never like StoryBrand for that reason.

There are at least seven story archetypes and you can find them online without paying a cent. It is common, especially in the literary world.

You see, fiction writers will usually use one of them.

So, if you are writing a work of fiction, absolutely use one of the archetypes.

However, I don’t think you should force your story, or your clients’, into a preset story archetype.

In doing so, you run the risk of dramatizing part of the story, making it fiction. Once people find out, they will not be happy.

Don’t use a story archetype unless it truly fits the narrative without making it fiction.

Should I use the “Hero’s Journey?” or Donald Miller’s version in StoryBrand?

My take on using the Hero’s Journey for a business story is it can lead to confusion.

As pro wrestling veteran Jeff Jarrett says, “If you confuse them, you lose them.” source

I am working with About Pages often and there is little to no room on an About Page to fully flesh out a Hero’s Journey version of a company or client story.

Even if you put it on a separate page, I’m not sure it will work.

Movie writers use the Hero’s Journey often and they write something, when filmed and produced, is at least 90 minutes. Longer if you are talking about Star Wars.

The script will take you longer to read (150 pages if you are curious).

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That is probably not best for your website visitors.

Keep it simple.

Here are characters, and a simple plot. A normal, a rise to climax, a conflict, and a new normal.

That’s all you need.

I call it a Signature Story. We work on one first when you do an About Page.

I pull the story for the About Page from your Signature Story.

As for my idea of Brand Storytelling, well, see the video I mentioned above. There are four stories to tell.

If you are ready to get a Signature Story and new About Page, let’s chat.

And yes, I know about all of those story archetypes, including the one used in StoryBrand.

If I ever write a piece of fiction, I will keep them in mind.

Order your About Page today!

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