By Kara-Marie Hall BSN RN
Senior Reporter
April 25, 2022

10–12 minutes to read

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    What is the StoryBrand Framework and How Can You Use It to Market Your Freelance Business?


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    Marketing a freelance writing business can feel intimidating for many nurse writers – and for good reason. Most of us didn’t go to school for marketing. We went to school to help people improve their health.  

    But what if you could take that same concept (helping people) and use it to excel in your marketing? This is essentially what the StoryBrand Framework is about —  becoming your client’s guide so they can get better at whatever they’re aiming to improve. 

    What is the StoryBrand Framework? 

    In 2017, business owner Donald Miller created The StoryBrand Framework to help other business owners clarify their brand message to their customers. The StoryBrand Framework takes the brand’s message and simplifies it in a way that appeals to its customers’ desires.  

    And just how does the framework help you do this? By teaching you how to tell a good story — where your customer is the hero and you are their guide. 

    The StoryBrand Framework can be used in nearly all marketing materials, from websites and letters of introduction (LOIs) to social media posts. 

    Next are the 7 aspects of the StoryBrand Framework, as explained by Miller in his best-selling book, Building a Story Brand

    The 7 Part StoryBrand Framework

    1. A Character

    “The customer is the hero of the story, not your brand.” Donald Miller

    As mentioned, the StoryBrand Framework is all about storytelling. Think about it: What do many epic stories have at the center? A hero. As tempting as it might be to want to sell yourself as the hero, in reality, your customer is the hero. 

    They’re looking at problems and solutions from their perspective, not yours. Therefore, your marketing messages must place the prospect or client front and center. One simple way to set the hero tone is to apply more “you” or “your” than “I” or “We” in your messaging – right from the start. 

    2. Has a Problem 

    “Companies tend to sell solutions to external problems, but customers buy solutions to internal problems.” Donald Miller 

    Consider your potential customer’s dilemmas. You know they may need content marketing or health journalism services. But what pain points are they really looking to alleviate? Perhaps:

    • Reliability because Judy, their internal content writer, is out on leave and who knows when she’s coming back
    • High-quality content because they used XYZ agency in the past and it was a total bust 
    • Someone who understands their industry because they worked with Rick, a freelance science writer, and he was way too technical for their audience

    Just like a superhero story, your potential clients most likely have problems they need help solving. Understanding and addressing these pain points in your marketing messages can attract prospective clients who are yearning for a freelance writer who truly understands what they want and need. 

    3. And Meets a Guide

    “If heroes in a story could solve their own problems, they would never get in trouble in the first place.” Donald Miller 

    Consider Neo and Morpheus in The Matrix, or Yoda and Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. Neither Morpheus nor Yoda competed with the movie’s hero. Instead, they empathized with the hero’s struggle and simply guided them to realize their awesome potential. 

    Too often, prospects are drowned by marketing messages that talk about the brand itself rather than the customer. Don’t fall into the trap of competing with the customer. Instead, position yourself as a guide dedicated to helping them succeed.

    4. Who Gives Them a Plan

    “Customers trust a guide who has a plan.” Donald Miller 

    You can’t be an effective guide without providing the hero a plan. Customers will want to know how you intend to help them. When they come across your brand (through your website, for example), your prospects may be wondering:

    • What’s your philosophy for working with clients in a particular industry?
    • What tips you can offer about a specific type of project?
    • What’s included in your process, if they decide to work with you?

    If you look closely, you’ll find there is a common thread here —  that is, value. Remember, the client is viewing the world (and their challenges) from their perspective, not yours. And humans are inherently self-serving, meaning customers want to know what’s in it for them. So, tell them. Explain how you can get the job done and exceed their expectations. 

    5. And Calls Them to Action 

    “Customers do not take action unless they are challenged to take action.” Donald Miller 

    Simply put, we can’t expect prospects to read our minds. For example, we cannot expect them to know that we want them to respond to our letter of introduction (LOI) or book a meeting with us unless we say so. We have to clearly invite them to take the call to action (CTA) we want them to take. 

    According to Miller, there are two types of CTAs you can take:

    • Direct. This is the most traditional, including CTAs like  “Call Now” or “Book a Call.” Direct CTAs are bold and obvious, telling your customer to move immediately to the next step (e.g., booking a discovery call). 
    • Transitional. This is a softer, less-direct CTA that focuses on providing free information, such as an informational PDF, in case the prospect is not ready to do business. 

    When marketing your freelance writing business, you can use direct CTAs to drive an immediate response. Conversely, transitional CTAs can be used as a long-term strategy to consistently show prospects your value. When they are finally ready to buy, they likely will remember the guide who’s been there all along: You. 

    6. That Helps Them Avoid Failure

    “If there is nothing at stake in a story, there is no story.” Donald Miller 

    Humans are hard-wired to avoid pain. Good brand messaging makes it clear to customers what they stand to lose without your help.

    For example, if a health company does not work with a nurse writer, they risk producing content that fails to connect with patients. 

    So, what’s at stake for your prospects? For many marketers, it’s wasted time and lost revenue. Could you touch on one of these in your marketing messages? The answer is likely “Yes.” And while you’re at it, let your prospects know how you can help them avoid this pain. 

    7. And Ends in a Success

    “We must tell our customers how great their life can look if they buy our products or services.” Donald Miller 

    Many superhero stories end with a happy ending. As a freelance writer, your marketing messages need to present a clear vision of the customer’s ideal future. Remind them of why they need to work with you to get their happy ending. 

    Overall, when implementing each part of the StoryBrand Framework, keep your messaging as transparent as possible. After all, a confusing story is not only hard to remember but also unlikely to draw (and keep) a prospect’s attention. 

    Have you heard of the StoryBrand Framework? Would you like to implement it in your marketing? Let us know in our social media channels! 

    Kara-Marie Hall BSN RN

    Kara-Marie Hall is a healthcare writer and registered nurse who writes B2B & B2C copy for various niches, including pharma, digital health, consumer health, and healthcare economics. She also specializes in content targeted to clinicians, including nurses. Kara-Marie is a member of the Association of Healthcare Journalists (AHCJ) and enjoys collaborating with others to improve the healthcare experience for all.