Be the Change You Want to See (In Your Readers) With a Character Arc

Be the change you want to see (in your readers)What do Star Wars and blogging have in common?  A lot, actually!

In fiction and screenwriting, there’s an important storytelling concept called the character arc.

Think back to any great book you’ve read or movie you’ve seen and ask yourself this: How did the main character change from the beginning of the story to the end?

Sometimes the change is subtle, sometimes it’s groundbreaking.

Think about Luke Skywalker.  He starts out a whiney, spoiled kid and three movies later is an older-and-wiser Jedi master.  Major character change happening there.  Han Solo changes, too, from being a “me first” smuggler to a man with people and ideas he would die for.

And if you include Episodes 1–3 (which many true fans don’t), just LOOK at Vader’s character arc!  WOAH NELLY.

Your customers and readers have a character arc, too.

Whatever you’re selling (life coaching, design services, toothbrushes), what you’re really selling is a transformation (a better life, better design, better teeth).

But if you don’t have clarity about the change you offer, how will your clients know what it is?

In order for you to help your readers along their path to change, you must be clear on what that change will be.

There are a couple of important steps you have to go through to figure this out:

  1. Who are your readers? More specifically, who are your readers before they become customers—and do they change at all after they’ve purchased from you? Which group are you writing to?
  2. What do your readers need? I’ll be talking about this more in a future post, but it can be extremely helpful to figure out what your readers need at each stage of the buying process, from the first time they do a search related to your topic all the way up to when they’re ready to buy.
  3. How will they change? There might be multiple answers to this. You might have a different answer for those people reading your blog versus those who become customers.  But getting clear on this will influence the topics you choose and how you choose to write about them.

Once you know your arc, don’t get off track.

I hear people complain sometimes that there isn’t enough to blog about, but I think the opposite is actually true—there are so many topics you could talk about, but how do you know which ones you should blog about?

Every time you come up with a new blog topic, ask yourself: Will this information help my customer achieve the change they want? (Or, the change you want them to achieve—they may  not know what they want at first!)

Becoming what Darren Rowse calls a “prolific problem-solver” is your best strategy for finding topics that will keep you on track to helping your customers achieve that incredible transformation you’re offering.

Break down the steps of change and ask yourself if you’ve covered each step. Have you missed any? Could you cover any better?

And if you run out of ideas, ask! Who is the expert on what your customers need? Your customers, of course.

When you are constantly aware of the change you hope to inspire in the people you reach, they’ll be that much easier to inspire.

So tell me: What’s your client’s character arc?

Use this template to get you started:

My goal with my blog is to take [your ideal reader] from [starting point] to [incredible transformation] through [how you do that].

Give me your best character arc in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Stéfan via Compfight cc

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2 thoughts on “Be the Change You Want to See (In Your Readers) With a Character Arc

  1. Marketing specialist Ben Hunt describes similar theory in his book “The Awareness Ladder”: learn what your readers’ needs are and show what they can discover with your writing.

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