Tell Stories that Transform Audiences

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Review Resonate

Marketing content and sales tools are about motivating audiences to change. As a writer you affect big changes like making buying decisions, and small changes like setting aside objections. Here’s a book recommendation to help you move your prospects closer to becoming your customers.

Storytelling skills in writing are very effective at motivating change because stories connect emotions with ideas for a better future. Author Nancy Duarte’s creative studio in Seattle helped companies communicate with PowerPoint slides, but the guidelines in her book “Resonate” apply to every medium. I’ve used these principles in creating marketing content of all kinds, including case studies, podcast scripts and white papers.

In her 2008 book “slide:ology” Ms. Duarte described how to create beautiful slides. Then she realized that people were using beautiful slides to make bad presentations. In retrospect, “gussying up slides that had meaningless content was like putting lipstick on a pig,” she said.

For “Resonate” Ms. Duarte delved into the fundamentals of story and the sources of its power to change minds. She writes:

“Since I already had the context of thousands of presentations my firm had created, I studied what I didn’t know: screenwriting, literature, mythology, and philosophy – all of which led me on a fascinating journey.”

I won’t go as far as to say that she makes the topic simple for marketers to grasp. The story motif is multifaceted and nuanced. To explain it in simple terms, as Joseph Campbell did so well, requires years of study. The explanations in “Resonate” get nerdy and you’ll be tempted to skip the complex diagrams.

But don’t. Understanding story arc will make writing easier and change the way you structure your marketing content. It’s worth the extra effort if you want to learn the fundamentals.

Here’s how marketing author Seth Godin describes “Resonate:”

“Nancy knows a secret, and she’s not shy about sharing it: If you are intentional about your presentations, if you tell a story on purpose, if you set out to cause the change you say you want, you’ll succeed. This book goes a long way in selling you on making that choice.”

Of course, Ms. Duarte’s career was in graphic design and her book is exemplary — page after page of visual delight.

I recommend “Resonate” for your writer’s bookshelf.

About the Author:
P5 Group, Inc. serves technology companies by providing training, coaching and consulting services in product management and marketing communications
Posted in Storytelling, Structures, Writing Better