Avoid This Storytelling Advice at All Costs


A few weeks back, I stumbled across an article by a so-called “storytelling expert” who droned on and on about something called Freytag’s Storytelling Pyramid.

Freytag was a 19th-century German playwright.

And, unless you’re a glutton for punishment, I have good news for you: 

You don’t have to know anything about Freytag or his pyramid to write client-attracting copy. 

But some brainiacs like to complicate things. So they dish out stuff like this and call it marketing advice: 

“The typical storytelling structure of the Freytag Pyramid centers around setting the stage (exposition), providing details that move the story forward (rising action), reaching the most significant point of the story (climax), explaining the aftermath (falling action), and making sense of it all (resolution).”

Got that? 

But wait. There’s more.

According to this article, “The Freytag Pyramid is important for giving your story structure, but it alone won’t suffice for creating a story your audience needs to hear.”

As good ol’ Charlie Brown would say:

Good grief! 

I stopped reading after that. I couldn’t stand it any longer. 

So many goo-roos make storytelling WAY TOO COMPLEX. 

They compare storytelling for business to writing a screenplay, stage play, or novel. 

They liken business stories to Star WarsDeath of a Salesman, or War and Peace.  

And they encourage you to load your business stories with all those elements like exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, backstories, heroes, villains, conflicts, resolutions, and so on and so forth. 

Good luck with that. 

That article about Freytag — it’s one of many littering the inter-webs that spouts the same idea. 

And the madness doesn’t end with Freytag.

Goo-roos galore claim you can’t sell a thing with storytelling until you know all 12-stages of Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey.” 

There’s one “expert” who wants you to master “12 Storytelling Brand Archetypes.” 

Another offers a “simple 10-step system” for business storytelling.

Call me simple. But a “simple 10-step system” seems like seven steps too many.

Bruce Lee said it best: 

Simplicity is the key to brilliance.

That principle — simplicity — guided Lee as a martial arts legend. 

And that is one of three — just three — Story Power Principles that can guide you as a marketer. 

Principle #1: Keep the focus on PROSPECTS’ emotional journeys. 

Principle #2: Keep it human and personal. 

Principle #3: Keep it simple. 

This email — and others I write — checks all those boxes.

That’s why you’ve read this far.

Let’s meet.

I can show you how to apply the three — just three — Story Power Principles — to create captivating content…

…that prospects read from beginning to end…

…that inspires prospects to buy. 

If you want to learn more, reply to the email with the message “let’s meet.”

I’ll shoot you a link to my booking calendar.

We’ll discuss what’s working for you, what’s not, and what you’re looking for. 

I’ll offer some actionable advice to help you transform your content from boring to brilliant, turn marketing from frustrating to fun, and convert results from pitiful to profitable.

And if we agree there are ways I can help you, we can discuss the possibilities.

Reply with “let’s meet” to get the ball rolling.

Whenever you’re ready…here are a few ways we can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you’ll land more clients:

1) Follow Tom Ruwitch on LinkedIn and Facebook and (if not subscribed already) join our email list.

2) Attend our free training: “How to Harness the Magnetic Power of Storytelling…” Discover how to transform marketing from a confusing, resource-draining hassle into something that’s simple, fun AND productive. Details and registration here.

3) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”

4) Become a Story Power VIP in the Content Transformation Academy: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Weekly masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

5) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

6) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.