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Social Media Storytelling Formulas: 11 Quick-Fire Ways to Create Your Stories

The Story Spine: Pixar’s award-winning formula

Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

The idea is to introduce a character or a group of character, describe their usual routine, present a twist that disrupts their daily lives, explain how they overcome it, and celebrate!

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Social Media Storytelling Formulas: 11 Quick-Fire Ways to Create Your Stories

Social Media Storytelling Formulas: 11 Quick-Fire Ways to Create Your Stories

https://buffer.com/library/storytelling-formulas#

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11

Key Ideas

Three-Act storytelling structure

One of the oldest and most straightforward storytelling formulas:

  • Setup: Set the scene and introduce the character(s)
  • Confrontation or “Rising action” : Present a problem and build up the tension
  • Resolution: Resolve the problem

Five-Act storytelling structure

Also known as Freytag’s Pyramid:

  • Exposition: Introduce important background information
  • Rising action: Tell a series of events to build up to the climax
  • Climax: Turn the story around (usually the most exciting part of the story)
  • Falling action: Continue the action from the climax
  • Dénouement: Ending the story with a resolution.

Before – After – Bridge storytelling formula

  • Before: Describe the world with Problem A.
  • After: Imagine what it’d be like having Problem A solved.
  • Bridge: Here’s how to get there.

Set the stage of a problem that your target audience is likely to experience ( a problem that your company solves). Describe a world where that problem didn’t exist. Explain how to get there or present the solution (i.e. your product or service).

Problem – Agitate – Solve storytelling formula

  • Problem: Present a problem
  • Agitate: Agitate the problem
  • Solve: Solve the problem

First, you present a problem. Second, instead of presenting the “After”, you intensify the problem with emotional language. Finally, you solve the problem by offering your product or services.

Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle

  • Why: Why the company exists (Why are you in this business? What motivates you)
  • How: How the company fulfills its Why
  • What: What the company does to fulfill its Why (i.e. your products and services).

Dale Carnegie’s Magic Formula for storytelling

  • Incident: Share a relevant, personal experience, to grab your audience’s attention.
  • Action: Describe the specific action taken to solve or prevent a problem, showing that a change was needed.
  • Benefit: State the benefits of the action/change.

Dave Lieber’s V storytelling formula

  • Introduce the character;
  • Bring the story to its lowest point;
  • Turn it around and finish with a happy ending.
Once you introduce the character of the story, describe how things went awful for him/her, using emotions to draw your audience into your story. At the lowest point of the story, turn things around, describe how things improved, and end the story on a high note.

Star – Chain – Hook storytelling formula

  • Star: An attention-getting, positive opening
  • Chain: A series of convincing facts, benefits, and reasons
  • Hook: A powerful call-to-action.

The star grabs your audience’s attention. The chain turns your audience’s attention into a desire. The hook gives them something actionable to fulfill their desire.

The Story Spine: Pixar’s award-winning formula

Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

The idea is to introduce a character or a group of character, describe their usual routine, present a twist that disrupts their daily lives, explain how they overcome it, and celebrate!

The Hero’s Journey storytelling formula

  • Departure: A hero receives a call to go on an adventure, receives advice from a mentor, and heads out on her journey.
  • Initiation: The hero meets a series of challenges but eventually completes the mission.
  • Return: The hero returns and helps others with her new found power or treasure.

This formula is used by many of the greatest storytellers including George Lucas for his Star Wars films!

Nancy Duarte’s secret structure of great talks

  • What is: The status quo
  • What could be: The future that could be possible

Go back and forth between the two and end off with a …

  • New bliss: The wonderful future with your idea/product/service adopted.