Case study: Dissecting an everyday story

On the surface, this is a story about a 3 year old. But like all good stories, it’s also about the reader.

Source: Screenshot from Nathan Ng’s Facebook; Image annotations by Wes Kao

1. All good stories are about the reader.

Terrified of car washes… Okay, my heart just melted a bit. All of us can relate to being terrified. Maybe not of car washes but of plenty of other things.

2. Build trust with the reader.

This section continues to build trust. Without saying it directly, he’s saying “you and I might be similar.” For example, I hate surprises too, so I’m thinking “Yes, you understand me.”

  • “If you’re reading this, I know a few things about you. I know you are an ambitious professional who wants to succeed…”
  • “Do you want to get to the next level in your business, but aren’t sure what to do?”
  • “Ever wonder how some entrepreneurs get to the top, but others struggle?”

3. Use words that make your reader feel something — anything.

The fact that they had been talking about car washes for two weeks shows how afraid his daughter was. Great example of “show, not tell.”

4. Great marketers create space for their reader to fill in the blanks with their own story.

When Nathan admits that the way he was raised might not have been the best, he creates space. He creates space for the reader to admit there might be a better way.

5. Great stories create a visual so you can see the scene.

You imagine a kid puffing their chest and holding their breath and holding in all that fear.

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Wes Kao

Marketing | Product | Strategy | Prev: altMBA, Seth Godin HQ, Flite (acq by Snapchat), Gap Inc. @wes_kao | weskao.com