5 Secret Ingredients to a Remarkable Story Structure

If you’ve been dabbling in corporate storytelling, this is a good time to think through how to take your stories to another level. It’s important to master the secret ingredients to a remarkable story structure to stay ahead and consistent. As a brand struggling to ensure that you stay close to your tonality and purpose, it’s critical to stay structured. This helps you to stay aware of where your stories are headed and always gives you ideas when you’re facing a creativity block.


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5 Secret Ingredients to a Remarkable Story Structure

5 Secret Ingredients to a Remarkable Story Structure

1. Create the Hook

Your first opportunity to connect with the reader begins with the hook. It may be a sassy headline, a big reveal, or something that you feel your audience really needs. Begin with it. And think it through. If the audience doesn’t relate to your hook, they may be eager to abandon the entire plot. The first line of your blog post, the first paragraph, the 140 characters on Twitter, should all lead to an event where your audience wants to read / click further. Stay away from click-baits, but think about authentic and true engagement. Know who you’re creating a hook for and always A/B test to see what works best!

Tip: How to generate a great headline with a formula

Example: Before you think that this is not relevant to you because you’re not writing a book, here’s a great example from social media. Look at how Humans of New York creates a hook with this post:

5 Secret Ingredients to a Remarkable Story Structure Example

If you scroll through the comments on the post, you will notice, people waiting to hear what happened next. He keeps it simple, tight and authentic. And it’s about a topic that’s bigger than the story. It’s about hope and tragedy. People are rooting for the little girl, and involved even before they know it!

2. Set up your story. Tell them what you will tell them.

In a world of skimming no one really wants to read paragraphs after paragraphs without being told what it’s about. Whether it’s a presentation, a blog post, a book, any sort of business communication needs to have a set up. Tell the audience what you’re about to share with them. Prepare them on the aspects they will learn. While you could argue traditional storytelling may not need to be so realistic, but always remember, we seek clarity through stories. Abstraction is a form we may choose, but clarity is what enables us to connect with the audience. And more importantly, for businesses, this is key. Don’t keep your audience hanging with unrelated data points. Tell them your hypothesis and what they’ll get once they invest their time in your story.

3. Generate an inciting moment

The key moment, where your audience goes a-ha or oh, I didn’t expect this! This is what you need to prepare for. Your storyline needs to have a moment of conflict between the protagonist and the events, this is what brings it to the fore. What’s the one key event that you’ll center your story around? Define it, and ensure that you place it in a way that makes sense.

Example: Again using the HONY story (the same one), in the middle the audience is given something that suddenly lifts them up. They are introduced with an experimental antibody that may just save the day. It works, but the audience is left wanting for more. What happened next? Is everything alright?

5 Secret Ingredients to a Remarkable Story Structure example HONY

4. Set up a Climax. And a Strong End.

Give the audience a conclusion that they expected (in terms of what you promised they would get). Do not cut corners but deliver the best you can. If you wanted to share fashion tips for spring, ensure you covered them all and delivered as per expectations. Show that you care. Your audience is smart enough to see your effort!

5. Share the Resolution. Or the Next steps.

What do you expect your audience to do after they have read the story? They could be directed into buying something, sharing their email IDs for further news, giving their comments, participating and sharing. These could be various outcomes that you have planned. But ensure you make it clear and tell your audience what you really want. Remember, it’s important to be clear. Tweet with a specific mention of please RT get more retweets. Facebook posts asking people to comment and share, typically get more of these too. It needs to feel like an authentic and natural outcome. Don’t force actions on people without investing into a true connect.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Remember, telling a story is the first part. You need to engage your audience and get them to act and react to the story. For that purpose, having a structure really does help. If you’re struggling with non performing storylines on any medium, think back on the structure and see what aspect could you improve.

If you’re feeling that you don’t have the best ideas, scroll down on this page HERE and get yourself a creativity manifesto! Make your story remarkable!

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Upasna Kakroo

Upasna co-founded Brandanew in 2014 for the sheer love of storytelling and authentic connections. She has been blogging and documenting digital stories since 2003.
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