How to Tell a Story

Your website will tell a story to the people who visit your site. At Valerian, we’ve developed a particular approach to help you craft a clear and compelling story. There’s one idea at the center of this approach:

You aren’t the main character; your clients/customers are. 

This might seem backward to you. “If this is my website, why wouldn’t it be about me or my business?” 🀨 But here’s the secret: people really like to be the hero. If you’ve ever heard someone refer to “main character syndrome,” that’s kind of the idea here. People default to thinking about themselves as if they are the main character of a storyβ€”in their experience, they are! 

If your website talks like your business is the main character, customers might not really respond. After all, it’s a story where they’ve already been cast as a supporting character at best and part of the background at worst. πŸ˜’ 

You’ll see better results if your website lets them take the spotlight.  

πŸ€” So where does that leave you?  

You have been cast as the wise and empathetic guide who will assist the hero on their journey! You are the Yoda to their Luke Skywalker, the Mr. Miyagi to their Daniel, the Luna to their Sailor Moon, the Gandalf to their Frodo… Isn’t that exciting? 🀩

The makings of a great story

So we have our main character and our wise guide. Now we have to gather the other components of a great story:

  • The problem πŸ’₯ What is holding the hero back or standing in their way
  • The path forward πŸ§­ The solution to the conflict or the way through it
  • The happy ending (and the not-so-happy ending) πŸŒ… What happens when the hero succeeds (and what’s at stake if they fail)

Pain points as motivators πŸ€•

When it comes to describing the problem your main character is up against, you’re going to want to think about pain points: things that are causing your potential customers/clients some kind of suffering.

Discomfort is a huge motivator for folks. It’s easy to ignore something if it isn’t causing you any pain, but the moment something starts to hurt is usually the moment someone starts looking for a way to fix it. πŸƒ

We’ll look at examples of different kinds of pain points, as well as questions to ask yourself if you’re having trouble identifying pain points, in theΒ Pain pointsΒ lesson.

Empathy and experience: crucial to the path forward β€οΈβ€πŸ©Ή

To be able to offer your main character a compelling path forward, you will have to demonstrate that you possess two things: empathy for their struggle and experience with that same struggle.

It’s difficult to take advice or guidance from someone who lacks these two things, so you’ll want to make sure to demonstrate that you have both as their guide.

And they lived happily ever after… πŸ°

It’s impossible to have a good story without an ending. The same goes for the story you’re telling about your business/organization. You want your potential clients/customers to be able to picture where their journey with you will lead them, and you want to do that in the most hopeful and compelling way possible. β˜€οΈ

The flip side is that you also often need to make them aware of what the ending looks like without you: what will happen if they refuse to confront their struggle head-on and overcome it? This is basically taking their pain point to its inevitable conclusion if it isn’t addressed. πŸ’”

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