By Center for Story Based Strategy, New Media Mentors
Instructions, worksheets, and an example to get you started mapping the movies, shows, books and entertainment your audiences consume, and how to match stories with the kinds of actions you want your audience to take.
An excerpt is included here and you can download the full printer-friendly six-page PDF: Mapping Story Archetypes.
Plot and Plan Story Archetypes to move your audience(s)
Before drafting or finalizing your story- based work, it is important to name and know who your audience is. These folks are different than your Target. A Target is the decision-maker that can make your desired change happen. And your Audience is the people that you need to reach & persuade who have influence over the Target (Hint: the answer is never “the general public.”) Get as specific as you can. Traditionally, we look at what kinds of jobs the Audience have? What hopes, dreams, fears, biases do they hold? What age are they and where are they geographically located? We created this tool to help folks also see the value in knowing what movies, shows, books and entertainment your audiences consume. Your Audience is key! What is your audience listening to/watching/reading?
Define Your Goal
- What is your GOAL?
- Who is your AUDIENCE?
- What is your ISSUE/TOPIC?
- What is the desired ACTION you want your audience to take?
List Your Stories
Brainstorm a list of all the stories that are covering your issue.
- Using a separate sheet of paper, list the name AND the Platform on which each appears. (regardless of whether or not your Audience knows about them).
- Is your issue/topic being covered in
- Social Media,
- Toys, or
Sort Your Stories
Place each story in your list on the mapping worksheet. • Write in the box that corresponds to the story’s Platform and Achetype.
- Refer to the first page of these instructions for reminders about how to identify which archetype is at work in a particular story.
- Start to notice patterns about what Platforms and Archetypes your issue appears in.
HIghlight or Circle Where Your Audience is
On the mapping worksheet, highlight or circle the stories that YOUR AUDIENCE is consuming. It is important to remember that, while many story platforms may be covering your issue in their storylines, your Audience may not know them. If there is mass action around them from a group other than your audience maybe they can be utilized as a support for your campaign but it can’t BE your campaign. Find a story that your audience IS familiar with.
Review your worksheet and start to draw conclusions from your research. If your Audience has only been consuming television stories that are focused on a Tragedy story then does that explain why your Audience has only been mobilized to make donations and sign petitions? What kinds of stories can you create or share with your Audience to move them in to the desired action that you would like them to take instead?
- What kinds of patterns are emerging?
- Where are there clusters or gaps on the sheet?
- What opportunities and challenges do these patterns present?
Change the Story
Use your analysis to make a plan. List out the possibilities for how stories in your desired archetype can be integrated into your organizing work and use them to achieve your goal.
- Amplify and share existing stories that your audience isn’t seeing.
- Create new stories in the archetype+platform appropriate for your audience & action needs.
- Organize fans to advocate to push existing stories to new archetypes, when they are on the right platforms but not encouraging the kind of action you need from your audience.
- Challenge and reframe the stories your audience IS seeing.