This is my first time attending WordCamp for Publishers. I’m really curious to see what types of publishers we have with us today.
Please raise your hand if you’re a journalist…
...a blogger (presumably about something other than the news)…
...a site owner or manager…
Do we have any other types of publishers? And I mean that very broadly. As in you’re using WordPress to hit that publish button and share content with the world.
Ok, great. Thank you.
I’m a blogger myself. At Elegant Themes where I work now, we publish articles on WordPress, Divi (which is our flagship product), Design, Business, Marketing, and more.
Before I began working for Elegant Themes I had a pretty unique job that I’m not sure many people get to do.
I was a story consultant. And yes, I did make that job title up.
I consulted with companies about their branding and marketing, film and television studios about their scripts, authors about their books, and anyone who had questions about stories.
It was a really cool job. I hope to do it again one day.
I ended up joining Elegant Themes full-time because I felt that if I really wanted to learn how stories can be most effective in marketing (which I felt was my most immediate avenue of success as a budding “story expert”) I needed to do it day in and day out for one company.
That...and great benefits with a steady paycheck.
Let’s be real, right?
But I certainly wasn’t wrong about the learning opportunities. And as a bonus the company is awesome and I get to work with some pretty amazing people too.
It’s been a really fun and interesting four years with Elegant Themes and I’m super excited that I get to share some of the most essential storytelling lessons I’ve learned with other WordPress publishers.
If there’s one thing I hope to accomplish today, it’s to get you to think differently about stories and the craft of storytelling.
One of my biggest frustrations as a consultant was that many of my clients knew that storytelling was a big buzzword in the marketing and business world. And if so-and-so is using it, I should be too.
They would come to me with really strong ideas about what a story is and what it should be able to accomplish. It almost always went poorly. So poorly, in fact, that I set up an onboarding process that included a free session in which we talked about what stories are and how they’re best used. If they didn’t get on board, I respectfully declined to take them on as a client.
All of this is to say, in my experience, it’s really important to get on the same page in terms of the “theory” of stories before talking about best practices. Which is why I’ve split my presentation up into two parts.
In part one (which will be the longer of the two) I’m going to give you a crash course in story structure and the concepts of archetypal plots and characters. In part two we’ll talk about how these underlying structures and elements of story can best be used in online publishing.
***Oh, and I would encourage you NOT to try and take notes. There are going to be portions of the presentation where I have to move pretty fast in order to stay within the time limit. If you’d like my notes and slides after the fact, they will be available on my website--nathanbweller.com.***