Here's why you need Character Driven Stories

Aug 19, 2021 11:40 pm


If you're not curating a cult of personality, you're probably doing it wrong.

Hello Content Creators!

I've often wondered why some brands and influencers seem to gain a massive, devoted following, while others just do...OK.

And how they keep them tuned in for years.

Some of it's obvious...they're entertaining, funny, ridiculously good looking, or helpful.

Some of it's less obvious, but use widely available tips and tactics like asking questions, commenting on others, responding to comments, posting regularly, doing all the stories, videos, surveys, and other things that the algorithms like.

But there's something else.


All of those things will get you a decent following if you're persistent. This applies to brands as well as persons.

But it's not enough.

I recently read The Parameters of Peloton Celebrity by Ann Helen Petersen. It's a brilliant analysis of how the Peloton "family" has built their top coaches into superstars. I strongly recommend you read it, but here's the gist:

By tightly controlling aspects of their social posts, personalities, and content, and by scripting the story across multiple people's social accounts, they've been able to create a "drama" that unfolds over time, keeping fans hooked and elevating their coaches to stars of a story.

Think about that for a minute.

Their customers are now hooked on the story and want to tune in to workouts and social posts to see what happens next. And then they gossip about it.

This is how popular TV shows grow...create compelling characters, immerse them in interesting stories, then leave you wanting more until the next episode.


Another example is The Rock. He didn't get to 263 MILLION followers by showing videos of his shirtless workouts.

Rather, he strategically mixed in storytelling about the products he working on (tequila, energy drinks, etc.), movies he's in, funny clips with other actors and celebs he's hanging out with (and they're tagging him), etc. All the while being overly positive, happy, and bright.

Each post is like a new page in the story.

And each one shines a little more light on the characters, or moves the story along in some small way.

And that's key. We humans like novelty, it keeps things interesting. We want to learn more about the people and products we're interested in, and the more we learn, the more interesting they become and the more invested in their story we become.

Until you screw it up.

This is why Girl... author Rachel Hollis' popularity fell off a cliff in a matter of weeks after posting something that was completely out of character for the persona she had built.

She accidentally shone the light on a side of her that was alien to her audience.

There was too much of a disconnect between these new posts and the personality that she had curated.

If her story were intertwined with the stories of others, as is the case for many Peloton stars, it could have made for a great drama that played out with a larger cast of characters...and perhaps she could have redeemed herself and made a comeback.

But Hollis was the entire cast and crew of her story, so there was no one else to keep that story interesting. Arguably, she's done.

Imagine if The Rock went negative on someone? Or trash talked his competition? His popularity would drop like a.... rock.

How to build your own brand's story

So, how can you take the lessons of Peloton and The Rock and apply them to your own business?

Simple, actually.

Who's on your team that does something interesting? What stories could they tell? Do they butt heads with someone else on occasion? What "drama" does that create?

Could you turn that into a fun, friendly story about how each party (like, say, R&D versus Accountants?) has to work together to deliver the best product possible at a price people can afford?

Popular YouTubers collaborate all the time, and each builds their own audience while helping others grow, too.

Which brands, products, or people would complement what you're doing and mutually benefit from collaborative storytelling?

(Not sure where to start? Let's talk.)


Cool Stuff I've Found


If you're shooting video of someone (or yourself), a good wireless mic will take your audio quality to the next level.

Anecdotal and actual research has shown that viewers are more likely to watch lousy video if the audio is good, but turn away from great videos if the audio is bad.

I've tested several mics and have created a complete guide to the best wireless mics and video setups, all using your smartphone for the camera. Check it out and start making your social and YouTube videos sound amazing!

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Be a character,


Tyler Benedict

PS - If you've been enjoying these newsletters and wanna take things to the next level, email me to see how I can help your brand. Or just buy me a coffee.

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