Skip to main content

Storytelling for Business

Lesson 4 of 10

Story Type 1: Why


Storytelling for Business

Lesson 4 of 10

Story Type 1: Why


Lesson Info

Story Type 1: Why

So as I mentioned, over my nearly 20 years combined as a storyteller and marketer, I've learned that most business storytelling boils down to five main types and these are the five types. The why story. The how story. The what I call I've been there story. The I know something you don't know story and the success story. And remember the success story doesn't have to always be the intended vision of success. It can be a transformed version of success. So the first type of story that I'm going to be talking to you guys about is the why story and this is really your business or product origin story. So this will often the be the story that you use in your about page, it doesn't have to be the core story in your about page, depending on your business. So I find that this would be the about page story for someone who has more of a company and isn't necessarily a personal brand. They wanna know how the company came into being. So if you're branded not as you, but as like your business, this ...

would usually be the story you'd be using on your about page. Now the reason I love the why story is it gets to the heart of the matter, because it explains why. It allows you to get into the impotence of creation, like the why the business was even created in the first place and it can go really deep and create a lot of emotional appeal. Because people care, it gets really to like the why is what you care about. It will explain your values without you even trying. because if it's your true story of why, you're gonna have so much value to share. Now your why story answers the question why did you create blank? So you can use this story for your overall business, your company, your brand. You can also use a why story when you are explaining why you created a particular offer, why you created a particular product. It allows you to just give background information to your market so that they can get super emotionally invested into why this was made and how cool is that? And it is your core brand story. So here are all the place you can use a why story. (laughs) You can use it in your about page. So you have options depending on how you wanna position yourself and your business with what to use in your about page. And one of the things that I wanna mention is that you can use multiple stories on one page. Just 'cause I have a feeling that question is gonna come up. When I write sales pages for clients, I typically include a sales story and like an about story and a why story. So the way that you position that across your content, you can actually be telling multiple stories and be spinning multiple stories and they will align, because what those stories really teach and explain are stages of your journey and stages of their journey. And so in storytelling in a mass, the macro version of storytelling is big, it's broad. And across the spectrum of transformation, you have little stories that add up to a big story. And so that's why you can use multiple stories when we're talking about these type of stories on one page. So you can use a why story at least once in any email marketing campaign that explains why you created the thing that you created. You can also use a why story onstage. So I can decide to say well this is why I created my business, this is my I created this course, right? You can use a why story in media interviews. So that can be if you have a really interesting why. Why you decided to create your organization, your business, the way that you're showing up in the world right now, why? If that's really interesting and unique, it makes a great pitch for the media. It's just an interesting story. You get that human interest element and the like oh that's different, I've never heard of that before. So media interviews, pitches like literally a sales pitch. I created this because it's gonna make everyone's life better, I love it so much, I solved this pain and this is why. You can use it in video, could be a very powerful brand video to explain what made you decide that this needed to be in the world. It is the story of creation, the origin story. Social media posts, you can always be using snippets of your why story, you can re-tell it in many different ways, it's a great way to gain more followers on social media to constantly be sharing this emotional appeal. And of course in blogs you can occasionally mention it. So the why story is right for you if you have a business. (laughs) If you have a business, you need a why story. People need to know why your business exists, why it's important. And especially if you're a mission-based or socially conscious entrepreneur and you have a specific focus in your business that you're highly conscious or that there's perhaps some kind of movement that you're creating or that you're supporting with your business, it's important to have your why story. And again, if your product or offering was inspired by something. Lik a lighting bolt of inspiration or specific moment or something you noticed or a catalyst. if there actually is a true story for your business where there was a deep why where you had this ah-ha moment of oh I need to do this, I need to create this. Then this story will shape right around your experience. So here's how to tell a why story. You're gonna start by sharing the catalyst that made you notice what needed to exist. So maybe you noticed a problem that needed bigger solving, you noticed something was off or you noticed people struggling with a specific thing. Or you noticed a pain that needed healing or caring, there was some pain in your market or some gap in the market that you saw the opportunity to fill and a way to help people with it. Or potentially you saw just a change that needed to be made. So for example, maybe you decided to invent a new fitness methodology and it's like a blend of yoga and dance and the reason you created it is because you saw that people needed a little bit of this cardio and a little bit of this kind of stretching, I'm literally making this up, (audience laughs) but you saw that there was this gap where you wanted people to have this blended holistic workout in just an hour. So they can come to this place and get all of that in one place. And that was why. Maybe there were injuries that you noticed your clients having, because they weren't having that level of balance and you saw people getting injured or being in pain and so you created this new thing. So then you wanna share how you noticed the thing and then the inspiration became the idea. So sometimes we see a problem, but we don't know how to solve it. I talk about this for writing too, like you don't know what to write, but if you stare at the page and you think about the problem, it doesn't always happen. There's usually something else you're doing and then you have this oh my gosh, now I know exactly what the thing is. So you wanna share what that was for you. Maybe you wer walking down the street and your realized it, maybe you were having conversation with a client and you realized it. You can share the detail of how that inspiration turned into a more tangible idea that you could take action on in your business. And then you wanna share any challenges or obstacles that you personally overcame in making this idea reality. So what came up? Was it easy? Did it just happen? Like did you just decide and then it was a thing? Were there challenges that you faced? If it really was just easy, I salute you. (laughs) My experience with entrepreneurship is that it's never just easy. (laughs) There's all kinds of challenges. But you wanna touch on what those challenges are, how you overcame them, what did you face in your passion for making this real. 'cause that will show your character for your audience, it shows who you are that you face challenges and overcame then. And then you also wanna talk about how has this idea grown or improved as a results of the challenges. And so what I want you to keep in mind with this too is the first year of your business might look one way and a year or two years later, it might look different. Because your business is gonna evolve with you. We evolve as humans, our business evolve, grow, expand, we're agile. So how has the idea grown or improved as a result of the challenges? What did you face in having this business exist or having this offer exist and since it's inception, what's changed? And so this is the piece of the story that you're always going to want to be updating, basically. Like the first few steps can stay the same, but then this last step, the second to last step, you can constantly be updating. And that way it's nice, because you don't feel like you have to update all of your copy all the time necessarily, unless your messaging changes. But then you just have a place to kinda make sure that it always feels current for you. And you always, I'm gonna say this for every story, you wanna invite the customer to take action. This is huge, I'm gonna say this at the end of every story, it's a huge piece that people often miss. Is like oh I'm telling a story, and this is like a copywriting thing too, like you want to direct your customer to what you want them to do next. So whether this is email marketing, whether this is your website copy. You wanna either be giving a clear takeaway or invite the customer to take action. And so what's great about a why story, I touched on this already, is that it demonstrates your values. So just by showing that you care about solving this problem, that you designed a way to solve the problem, you have a tangible, awesome way, that you have faced challenges in making it real and overcame them, shows your values and who you are. So it gives your audience a true sense of who you are as a person and why you're a great person to work with. It sets up apart in your uniqueness. And it also gives customers a feeling of involvement with your business. So they kinda start to feel like they're a part of it because they're almost behind the scenes with you of like oh that's so cool, I wanna know more about that and I feel like I know her and I know her business and I was there when she created it because I know all these things about the why. And so the underlying message, this is the broad message, it's not gonna be your specific message, it's gonna be changed for you, but the underlying core subtext of this story is we're the right choice of brand to work with.

Class Description

Throughout human history, storytelling has been used to draw people in, evoke their emotions and memories, make them care, and propel them to act. So wouldn’t it make sense to use storytelling to get someone to buy your goods or services?

By harnessing the power of stories, you can capture people’s attention and convince them of the value of your offering. Story is what transforms you from a marketer jockeying for a sale to a genuine person with a meaningful message.

Award-winning writer and consultant Jamie Jensen will show you how to craft a brand story that’s relevant to your business. She’ll walk you through the four main types of stories you can use and explain how each one can yield impressive results.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Figure out when and where to use story in your copy and content.
  • Decide which story to use depending on your needs and goals.
  • Create characters, objectives and obstacles for your story.
  • Change your story to keep it fresh and interesting.
  • Identify with your customer when telling your story.
  • Take on the role of expert or mentor to convince your reader to buy.


Rossella Vacchelli

I love this class. Is is fast and to the point, filled with useful information. Jamie is knowledgeble and easy to follow....please come back for more in depth classes!


Jamie provides a thorough introduction to what "tell a story" actually really means. She breaks down different types of stories plus how and when to tell which. Jamie's energy is positive and encouraging, highly recommend the class for anyone starting a business or thinking about branding yourself

Christopher Joles

Jensen does a great job providing a framework for use in deeper study of storytelling for business. Her material is clear, quite general, moves along, and enough to get the wheels turning for more information and thought.