Crafting Stories That Spread

Ideas that spread, win.

This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See (2018) – Seth Godin

Despite what you may have heard, there’s NO RECIPE FOR CONTENT THAT Spreads … but we can tip the odds in our favour.

This list is compiled from my own experience (mistakes) and the insight of people smarter than me. It’s been evolving for years at this point, and I add nuances often.


  • Unexpected – does it surprise us, break a pattern, open a loop?
  • Trend Surfing – is it relevant to current trends, fashions, headlines, celebs, rows?
  • Tribes – are there built in, natural, audience(s) or shared enemies?
  • Opinions – do people have strong opinions on this?
  • Emotional – does it hook and trigger high-emotion?
    • E.g. Awe, Excitement, Amusement, Anger, Anxiety, Fear or Hope.


  • Simple – is it one clear, concrete thing.
  • Say it Better – does it slipstream and better articulate the story/emotions they are already telling/feeling.
  • Credible – does it look credible and come from a strong source?
  • Stories – is it wrapped in a narrative? (Hero/Villain?)


  • Tension – does it create urgent or nagging pressure to move?
  • Triggers – will the viewer’s life regularly remind them of the message?


  • Social currency – does it make people look smart/build their personal brand?
  • Useful – is it useful for them AND their network?
  • Public – does it’s use happen in the open?


Where next?

Check out The Business Storytelling Glossary (BSG) or dive into the Story.Business series.

Nick Warren
Work with Nick
Strategy. Story. Copywriting.

I work directly with founders looking to build their business or personal brand.

Learn fast - Online Course
Learn To Craft Your Story

Content to sharpen your skills, business and brand.

The Podcast
1,000 Episodes, Half Below Average

5-minutes a day on story, strategy or whatever’s yanked my chain. No guests. No ads. No nonsense apologies.