Turn Routine Events Into Relevant, Engaging Stories

I’m a proponent of telling stories about routine everyday events. The things you’re up to on a daily basis.

The other evening I was trying to sneak five minutes to read a book. I often find myself reading while the toaster is on, or while the kettle is boiling. Many days it is simply the only time I get.

My son Hugo, who is four, sees me holding a book and strolls into the room.

“Daddy, do you want to see a surprise?” he asks.

I roll my eyes. This again.

“Sure,” I reply. Hugo runs off, laughing. Twenty seconds (and half a page of my book) later, he’s back.

“Surprise!” he shouts at the top of his voice, now wearing just his underpants.

“Haha,” I say, carrying on reading. (I WILL finish this chapter, dammit.)

“Daddy, would you like to see another surprise?” He runs off again.

I perhaps don’t need to relate what happens next.

“Surprise!” he shouts again. “My bottom is looking at you!”

And this, dear reader, is why it takes me three months to read anything longer than a children’s book.


Many of the everyday stories in my life are similar to the above: routine nonsense involving my kids.

You CAN use these stories. They are relatable, I think. The most important thing is the way you end them. As I teach in my course, you want to end the story on one idea. This idea can become a bridge concept to your content or sales message.

In the story above, I haven’t explicitly stated the ‘one idea’, but it’s there. I’m letting you come up with it by yourself, rather than explicitly stating it. But if I wanted to transition into a section about how most business owners struggle to find time to write their own copy, do you see how the story could easily connect?

It’s the ‘one idea’ that facilitates the connection, not any natural synergy between the story and the content.


A Writer’s Circle member sent me a question the other day about transcription. In my copywriting work I use a transcription service called Rev (www.rev.com) to transcribe the interviews I conduct with clients.

Rev has an automated transcription option, and a manual option. The manual option costs six times as much as the automated ($1.50 per minute vs $0.25 per minute).

The question was, is the manual option worth the additional fee?

I actually use both options at different times. If I’m transcribing an audio with a view to publishing it, the manual option saves a lot of editing time. If I’m less sure yet whether I’m likely to publish, I’ll use the automated transcript option instead.


A friend introduced me to a possible client recently. “Rob hates funnels!” my friend said as part of the introduction.

I feel I need to clear that up.

Yes, I ran a podcast for a few years called ‘The Maze Marketing Podcast’. On the show, we were critical at times of certain funnel-based marketing products.

But to say that you hate funnels is like saying you hate having a skeleton. Without a skeleton you wouldn’t be able to move. But equally, you don’t see skeletons wandering around by themselves.

The funnel is a helpful mental construct, but by no means captures the complete picture.


BOOK NEWS: the updated version of Simple Story Selling is now live on Amazon! The updated book includes sections on:
Storytelling as a business growth lever

  • Where to place stories across the customer journey
  • What people you need on your team to achieve this
  • Advanced story selection
  • An expanded and revisited discussion of the seven basic plots

If you own the book on Kindle, re-downloading it should update the book to the latest version (please let me know if you have trouble).

If you own a previous paperback copy, I can send you an updated PDF version. Just send me evidence of ownership (a photo of the book is fine, or an Amazon receipt).

If you’d prefer a new paperback copy, I’ll be holding a limited time sale on the book starting a week today. If you have a list who might be interested in that, please let me know.


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