Digital Marketing – How to Write a Story from Nothing

Posted on Jan 20, 2020 |

Storytelling eh?

I write stories at the weekend. Just finished writing a trilogy of plays (full length, took two and a bit years, working on Saturday mainly).

I’ve sent them off into the wild, even to the National Theatre (well, ambition is a good thing).

So, I decided I wanted to write a story that was simple. The idea being it would test the ground for a massive story world.

I won’t bore you with the details of this story world, who knows if it will work.

But I’m going to give you a few ideas about how I went about the above creations…


Write a Storey by Generating Ideas

When faced with no idea what to write or how to start a digital marketing campaign generate some ideas.

Easy eh?

Well, no, as you should generate 50 to 100. That’s right and you know what most of them won’t be worth a spit.

The first 3 -4 – quite good ideas


4 – 10  a bit of a struggle

11 – 20  O’ dear, this is terrible

21 – 29  OK, bizarre but we have some starting points

30 – 35  There’s a couple of interesting ones

36 – 45  O’ God do I have to go on?

46 – 55  Let’s try another creative tool (there are many. Ask me)

56 – 66  Well this is getting easy

67 – 87  I think we’ve been here before

88 – 100  Nice, like that one as a starting point

Creativity in Digital Marketing Post Image

Ideas into Potential Paths

So, from the one hundred you will get 4 – 5 you like. Now, if you hadn’t gone the whole way to 100 you would have missed at least two.

Now you flesh out those ideas, if it’s a creative work then you’ll be adding lines of dialogue that occur, plot ideas, visual comedy, character traits etc.

What if it’s a digital marketing campaign?

Well, then you’ll be thinking of:


  • The product / service
  • The audience (persona)
  • The content
  • The emotion
  • The story


  • The media
  • The platforms and where that lovely traffic is going to come from
  • The budget
  • The expected return and how to track and measure.


Now Write a Story

One of these ideas is going to appeal more than the others shortlisted.

Deep Creativity

When I tackle a new writing project then things always go differently than to the last. Something’s are similar when writing creatively.

Index Card Breakdown

I’ll know the length of the piece I’m writing to I’ll work out roughly how many scenes. Then I’ll gather index cards for each scene ‘the narrative’ and number them.


The End

I’ll work on an ending so I have something to work towards. O’ might not use this end as the characters will dictate the end.


  • Each index card is used to progress the story
  • Each card has what happens on one side
  • On the other side, ideas to explore


The Marketing Funnel & The Bubble

If you are one of those obsessed with ‘funnels’ then you can use this system of index cards. Don’t know why you’re thinking in funnel terms though. The web is more like an ocean where bubbles of branding collide with bubbles of content.

The more a potential lead or sale sees these bubbles, the more they join the dots. Gain confidence and take action ‘I must really visit that website.’ ‘What’s in it for me?’ ‘O’ I see.’

DIgital Marketing Tools 2

Step Sheet

Once I’m happy I have enough ideas then I’ll write up a step sheet. All that is about is what happens. The actions only are written one line after another.

Because then you can see plot holes or frictions in digital marketing terms.

The step sheet will throw up more ideas that go onto the index cards.


To Shed or Keep?

Next, I’ll try and take out some index cards. If I do does the piece still work? Have I increased the pace of the story?


Extra Scenes

If you’re not convinced by a character or persona then write scenes, steps that don’t need to appear in the creative piece or in the campaign.

You want to know your characters / persona so well they write their plot or their own content.

Digital Marketing Tools

Story and Pitch

Sometimes I’ll write up a synopsis and from that derive a pitch. You know the sort of thing ‘ ‘Like The Irishman meets Little Women.’


Not the First Draft

Then when you start to write a story, a play or tv show or prose you are on the third draft and you HAVE A PLAN!

(It doesn’t always go to plan)


Write a Story After Words

I would go on about colour coding (something Solzhenitsyn was keen on), how to be your own creative medicine, what to when stuck and transmedia stories but I’ll leave it there in the hope you get some ideas of how to be more creative and write a story.


You can see me chatting further on creativity, sitcoms and stuff on a YouTube show ‘Creative Herts’ here:



Jim Signature

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