Using The Hero’s Journey as a formula for creating your online marketing strategies is something I’ve come across on a least two occasions when working with two different mentors of mine.

The methodology associated with The Hero’s Journey arose from the work of a man called Joseph Campbell. It was first described in his book “The Hero With A Thousand Faces”.

Campbell was an American professor, writer and story teller (orator). His work revolved around the study of mythology, comparitive religion and many aspects of the human experience.

The basis of his theory, which is now widely used by film makers, writers, and now marketers is that every great story follows a similar pattern or series of steps. See some examples here of how it is used.

Watch this short video below to see how The Hero’s Journey can be used in compelling story telling:

The Hero’s Journey And Its Relevance In Online Marketing

The first time I learned of The Hero’s Journey in relation to online marketing was two years ago at a seminar for internet marketers and I recall thinking at the time that it was an interesting theory.

But… be truthful at that time I couldn’t really see how I could apply it, and I basically forgot about it.

Quite recently though, as a result of working with another of my mentors I was reminded about how powerful The Hero’s Journey concept can be when used in creating an online and content marketing strategy.

The difference this time was because my mentor had given a detailed explanation, and examples of how The Hero’s Journey could be used.

And the approach was this……use the steps in The Hero’s Journey to write out a detailed story where my ideal client is the hero in the story.

To explain how this might work let’s first look at the basic steps in The Hero’s Journey

Steps In The Hero’s Journey

Here is the flow, or series of steps in Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey

  • The ordinary world and your character – the hero (your client)
  • The call to adventure – the hero has a problem
  • Refusal of the call – resisting taking steps to fix the problem
  • Meeting the mentor (you) – you call them to action
  • Crossing the threshold – the client starts doing the work
  • Tests, allies, enemies – they encounter problems, you help them
  • Approach the dragon’s den – major obstacle ahead, the final challenge
  • The ordeal – confronting the major problem
  • Seizing the treasure – overcoming the final challenge
  • The road back – reflecting on what’s happened
  • Resurrection – the hero is a new person as a result of these experiences, high self belief, confidence, growth
  • Return with the boon – you help the client achieve success

Ideas For Using The Hero’s Journey In Online Marketing

To repeat, the idea is to write the hero’s journey story with your client being the hero of the story.

In this story you are the mentor or ally that appears to initally encourage them to cross the threshold and begin to deal with their problem/s (all of which you will itemise in the story).

Your story will also itemise how you, the mentor, help them overcome their challenges.

You will also explain exactly what the success is that they are going to achieve as a result of the combination of your help, and the actual work they do to reach their goal.

When you have written this story, virtually every step in your marketing is an extraction of all, or some part of this hero’s journey.

For example:

  • Your call to actions is calling them to let you mentor them
  • You as the mentor will lead them through the entire process
  • You lead them through the trials, tests, ordeals
  • They come out at the other end with success, the boon

On the home page of your website the mission statement could be created as follows”

“We help (ordinary world people) cross the chasm to success by guiding you through the (trials, tests, and dragon’s den).”

Writing Your Sales Message Using The Hero’s Journey

Your sales message could be constructed along the following lines:

  • Outline your client’s current problem/s
  • Expand on the trials and tests they’ve been experiencing
  • Explain part of the problem why they haven’t achieved success is because they’re trying to do it all by themselves
  • Point out some of the things you know they have already tried with still no success
  • Explain more of what they’ve tried without success
  • Highlight the reason for their lack of success – the chasm is they’ve put everything into it, but they are now out of clues.
  • Explain there is a missing link. In order to achieve the success they want (financial success, relationship success, health or weight loss success)….they need a guide to help them cross the chasm (you)
  • Tell your story briefly – you’ve been there too (or explain how you have helped others cross the chasm)
  • Then outline how you’re going to help
    • guide you step by step
    • simple lessons, step by step, exactly what to do (the chasm items but this time from a successful outcome)
    • tell them it will be hard, challenge them…..are you up for the challenge, willing to work hard, do the lessons etc
  • Then, outline the reward….exactly what success looks like, how their life will be changed. how they’ll go from where they are now to where they want to be
  • The question – what would this be worth to you to be led through the dragon’s den, if the results happen by using you, and paying your fee
  • The question – what would happen if you don’t do this
  • Reinforce the transformation you’ll take them through
  • Ask for the business

The Hero’s Journey And Online Marketing – Summary

When you take the time to really unpack each of the stages in The Hero’s Journey by writing a story with your client as the hero you will begin to understand there are so many ways the hero story can be used in marketing your business.

Hopefully this article has given you a few ideas about how to get started using this approach in developing your online marketing strategies.

    2 replies to "The Hero’s Journey And Story Telling In Online Marketing"

    • Graham Forrest

      This is a really useful blog post, and something that I’ll try out on my own website.
      I had never even considered using storytelling, or the ‘hero’ approach, in my emails or articles. But thinking about it after reading your post and the examples of how it can be used in marketing, it’s got to work hasn’t it?
      Thank’s Anth!

      • anthmac

        Hi Graham,

        The same happened for me, and when I looked at the strategy I could immediately see the value in it. I’m glad you found the article informative, and I appreciate your comments. Best wishes, Anth McAvaney

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