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Story Superpower

May 5, 2023 marks the second anniversary of registering my business, McEwen Media Consulting, and the amazing journey that followed. This past year I’ve been able to focus on McEwen Media full-time. It’s moved from side hustle to real business, with a team and everything! Here are five lessons I’ve learned from the past year.

If I had a page for every time I’ve talked about “story”, well I would have a book. And not just any book. I would have a door-stopper. The kind of text you need to cradle in your arm like a baby, there’s so much text inside.

And with good reason.

Everything I do with my business is centered around storytelling. From promoting and marketing my services, to creating pitches, to developing my own brand. If there isn’t a story, there’s nothing for an audience to hold on to.

Stories help you stand out. They make you memorable, whether you’re selling your services or selling a brand.

But one mistake I run into time and time again is companies that make the product the story. They'll come to me with a detailed list of features and applications. What they have in their mind is a product description, not a story.

Stories have character. They're fuelled by conflict: problem, solution, conclusion. There's a beginning, middle and end.

Some of the most memorable commercials in the last 50 years really lean into story, with a mere hint at the brand or product. Think of Apple’s 1984 SuperBowl ad is perhaps the most iconic example of epic storytelling with a mere hint at a product.

Commercials have had to do the heavy lifting in grabbing attention for decades. The more audiences try to avoid watching commercials, the more advertisers have leaned into story and experience to grab your attention.

With more of our lives playing out on social media, the importance of story will only get stronger.

The next time you’re scrolling through your feed, pay attention to what you’re skimming past. Is it staged photoshoots? The same type of image or TikTok trend you’ve watched a million times (even I’m getting sick of Pedro Pascal. Well, I’m down to two fan videos a day)?

Now, pay attention to what’s getting you to stop scrolling. Is it someone you know? Or someone you don’t know, but you like what they have to say? Or is it something so compelling, you want to see how it turns out? All of this comes to you with a story.

It’s why storytelling is our number one priority. It’s our first Universal Truth. It’s what we ask all of our new clients. It is where we start our brainstorming sessions with existing clients. And it’s what we ask ourselves every time we create our own content.

Simply put, story is our success story.


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