Hero's Journey

Instant Influence – just add story.

If you want instant influence, you’re in luck.

That’s because this post will reveal to you how to persuade people to buy without using sales gimmicks, hype, or deceit.

Indeed, in just moments you’ll discover:

  • How to get your readers to know like and trust you.
  • A surprisingly simple way to get people curious about your offer.
  • One neat trick for getting people to read your entire promotion.

This story illustrates instant influence.

A monk was chased by a pack of hungry wolfs until he came to the edge of a steep cliff.

Having no other alternative, he jumped over the edge and clung tight to a small and sturdy branch that was growing out of the cliff face.

He looked down for a means of escape and saw at the bottom of a cliff a hungry tiger.

It was looking up at him with his eyes full of anticipation, smiling a welcome, and licking its lips.

Just then the monk noticed a strawberry growing beside the branch.

It was large, red, succulent and so very inviting.

As he plucked the strawberry and popped it in his mouth, the branch gave way.

And as he fell, he thought to himself, ‘This strawberry is delicious.’

Now I want you to stop and start to notice what was happening as you were reading that short story.

My guess is you were hooked from the beginning and stayed that way until the end.

And your unspoken question was, “what happened next?”

This is instant influence in action.

As copywriters we’re always on the lookout for anything that will give us an edge.

Today, I’m going to give you that edge, but first we need to take our gaze away from writing sales copy, to exploring story.

Everything you read in newspapers is wrapped around a story.

Same with the news channels.

Why is that?

Is it they know something we don’t?


I mean, we’ve all heard stories before.

And we all tell stories to each other and ourselves.

At night when we want to switch off, we will read or watch stories.

In other words, we enter the world of fiction and fantasy.

It’s like the saying, “Thank God for reality and the means to escape it.”

Netflix, Google, and Amazon make a fortune showing us action, love, sci-fi and other movies.

The movies we love the most are stories that fit proven frameworks.

When you watch a building being erected you see the steel or wooden framework.

Once completed the framework is no longer visible.

That’s the same with fiction.

Usually, the writer follows a 12-step framework known as the ‘Hero’s Journey’ to inspire instant influence.

In other words, to influence you to watch or read the entire story.

I say usually because just recently I’ve found another framework just as powerful and persuasive as the Hero’s Journey.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

In case you don’t know, the hero’s journey is one of transformation.

The hero at the beginning of a movie is nothing like the hero at the end.

One of my favourite movies is the Count of Monte Christo.

If you’ve seen it, you’ll know the hero undergoes a massive transformation.

Just in case you’re wondering what all this has to do with instant influence and writing better sales copy, I’ll explain.

If you’re selling a high-ticket product, service, or information products then your clients and customers buy YOU first before they buy what you’re selling.

So, you need to sell yourself and to do that you need a fascinating backstory.

And if you’re backstory has a framework like the powerful hero’s journey story you’ll win out over your competitors.

The truth is your backstory is your secret sauce to winning clients to your way of thinking without using sleazy sales tactics.

A quick look at a typical hero’s journey.

It’s in three parts, like a three-act play.

Act one takes place in the hero’s ordinary world.

Act two is the unknown or upside-down world. Usually, the exact opposite of act one.

Act three is the known world, but the hero has changed for the better and has learned a valuable lesson.

Another way to look at this is…


The hero leaves his or her ordinary world.


The hero learns that his or her view of reality is wrong and must undergo trials and tests to transform into their true potential.


The hero comes back to their ordinary world different from when they left.

In most of these hero’s journey stories the hero no longer fits in their ordinary world because he or she is no longer like the people he or she left behind.

Typically, the hero is alone, although he has won a prize usually a love interest.

I know this is a little on the deep side, but as a friend once told me, “If you’re not confused, you must be misinformed.” 😊

What I’m saying here is, if your backstory follows the same plot points as the hero’s journey then you will automatically be liked and trusted because your reader feels your pain.

I’ll come back to this point in just a moment.

The hero’s journey synchronizes with your prospects unconscious mind and therefore creates instant influence below their level of awareness.

Here’s why.

All normal people go through their own hero’s journey.

It’s full of twists and turns, surprises, sadness, loneliness, hate, love, joy, and achievement against the odds.

See any great movie or read any terrific fiction book and notice how it mirrors life.

Talking of sadness, I’m sure you’ve experienced ‘the dark night of the soul.’ 

Guess what?

All fiction writers employ this technique to get you hooked so they can enjoy instant influence over you.

And if you tell your readers your dark night of the soul, they will love you for being vulnerable.

Being perfect is boring because no one is perfect.

All superhero’s have a flaw. Think Superman and Kryptonite.

Without their flaws we have no interest in them.


Because all of us are flawed in one way or another, and even though we want to, we can’t relate to perfect people.

In the book, “The Writer’s Journey,” the author Christopher Vogler shows us the 12-steps of the hero’s transformational story,

·       Limited awareness of problem.

·       Increased awareness.

·       Reluctance to change.

·       Overcoming reluctance.

·       Committing to change.

·       Experimenting with first change.

·       Preparing for big change.

·       Attempting to change.

·       Consequences of the attempt, improvements and setbacks.

·       Rededication to change.

·       Final attempt at big change.

·      Final mastery of the problem.

When you model your backstory after these 12 points you’ll sell like crazy, gain instant influence and get more leads.

This, by the way, is a great framework for any self-improvement course.

As Ashleigh Brilliant once said, “To whom should I turn to for some self-help.”

I digress.

It’s vitally important that at the end of your story you are a master of both worlds.

The known and the unknown.

Once you show how you were once where they are now and you solved the problem your reader is facing, you’ve now positioned yourself as the expert who can be trusted to help the reader overcome their problem.

Remember, “problems have price tags.”

And the distance between you and everything you want is your words.

How is that for describing instant influence?

There’s no doubt in my mind that fiction is the way forward for copywriters to enjoy higher response rates.

Today you’re seeing more and more Facebook ads using short stories to convert cold prospects.

And they are enjoying higher response rates as a result.

Earlier I touched on another framework that’s just as powerful as the hero’s journey.

I haven’t seen this in any online copywriting courses – yet.

In fact, I don’t think any other copywriter has discovered this.

I could be wrong.

Maybe they know about it and it’s one of their best-kept secrets.

Perhaps I should keep it to myself and feel all superior and stuff.

But would that be fair after you’ve read this far?

Okay then, you’ve convinced me to reveal all. Well, all that I know, because I’m still learning this fantastic new framework.

Would it be right to assume you’ve watched any or all the Harry Potter movies?

They’re based on the hero’s journey, right?


I know I said all major movies are based on the hero’s journey.

But not Harry Potter.

And not Wonder Park.

(If you haven’t seen that movie, you’ll find it on Netflix.)

The interesting point I’m making here is…

The plots are the same.

Or should I say, the framework is the same.

I’m talking about “The Heroine’s Journey.”

Yes, that’s right, women have their own journey of transformation which also leads to instant influence.

It’s as important as the hero’s journey, if not, more so.


Think about it.  Half the population are women.

You may be thinking, what is Harry, our male hero, doing in a heroine’s journey?

Well now, therein lies a tale.

To understand this, we need to take a quick ‘helicopter’ ride and look at this from above.

Or as the NLP guys say, “The Meta view.”

Harry Potter was written by…

A woman.

Like the guy who said, “No wonder I’m confused, one of my parents was a man and the other was a woman!”

Okay, you want to know why one journey is different from the other.

The difference between the hero’s journey and heroines’ journey is profound.

With the hero’s journey the quest is for a prize and typically the hero goes it alone.

The hero gets a call to adventure and enters an upside-down world.

He goes through trials and tests. He is given tools like magic wands and light sabers to defeat the enemy.

They go through a dark night of the soul and finally triumphs and end up with the prize.

Which is usually a woman.

The heroine’s journey starts out with the woman being separated from her family. And is forced away from her normal life.

She feels isolated and strives to create a surrogate family.

As she continues her journey and her search for meaning she asks for help. (Something that never happens in the hero’s journey because ‘real men don’t ask for help.’)

She gathers information and her journey always has a happy ending as she builds a network of trusted, loyal, life-long friends.

In the hero’s journey the goal is almost always the reward – getting the girl.

On the other hand, the heroine’s journey is all about making your contribution bigger than your reward.

Here are the plot points of the heroine’s journey according to Gail Carriger Author of “The Heroine’s Journey.”

  1. Broken familial network.
  2. Pleas ignored.
  3. Abdication of power.
  4. DECENT. Involuntary withdrawal.
  5. Family offers aid.
  7. Disguise subversion.
  8. Surrogate family.
  9. SEARCH. Aided by family. (visit to the underworld.)
  10. Delegation/networking/information gathering.
  12. Negotiation for reunification.
  13. ASCENT. Structured reunion.
  14. (Revenge and glory irrelevant.)
  15. Network established or rebuilt.

Okay, we are now in unfamiliar territory, so let me see if I can create a map for you so you can find your way through relatively unscathed.

Act 1. The main plot is one where the heroine gets separated from her family through outside circumstances.

Act 2. As she enters the extraordinary world, she feels isolated and desperately tries to find or create a surrogate family.

Then she searches for the meaning behind her quest and how to make her world right again.

She acts like a leader as she delegates essential duties to her surrogate family.

Act 3. Then she has an epiphany.

She comes back to her ordinary world with a new and stronger family.

This may be hard to grasp at first.

So let me clarify some more.

(By the way, best-selling novels and blockbuster movies are now using this framework and because of that, it’s worth your time knowing about it.)

Let’s explore this more.

Act 1 in the hero’s journey is separation. This is usually by choice.

Act 1 in the heroines’ journey is also separation. However, this is usually forced, therefore not her choice.

Act 2 in the hero’s journey involves the hero descending into his upside-down world.

Act 2 in the heroine’s journey is the same with one exception. In the hero’s journey the hero finds allies and is in danger from his archrival. In the heroine’s journey she is on her own, isolated and in danger from her archrival.

Act 3 in the hero’s journey the hero has an epiphany and is transformed. To do this, he must fight the monster alone.

Act 3 in the heroine’s journey the same is true except she fights the villain with her friends.

In the finale the hero gets the girl, or the prize and the heroine gets reunited with her family or has a new and better family she helped create.

In a nutshell, the guys goes it alone, the girl gets help from others.

Guys never ask for help, girls always do.

So, when do you employ the hero’s journey, and when do you use the heroine’s journey to create instant influence?

The first answer is simple.

It depends on your audience.

Are you attracting men or women to your business?

If it’s men – use the hero’s journey.

If it’s women – use the heroine’s journey.

To clarify, your backstory has only one job, and that is to have your prospect unconsciously build rapport with you. That way you’re influence goes undetected and therefore there’s no resistance.

These two instant influence story frameworks will do that for you.

The second answer is more complex.

In saturated markets like weight loss and how to get rich overnight using the internet, the hero’s journey is commonplace.

Everyone and their dog have heard it.

But the heroine’s journey is new and exciting. The structure is unfamiliar and inviting.

Watch ‘Wonder Park’ as if you were watching the hero’s journey. You’ll soon discover you are not following the usual plot.

Yes, there are the essential 15 beats, or plot points, like all successful movies and fiction books, but the heroine does things differently than the hero.

For example, the hero often seeks revenge. See John Wick or the Count of Monte Christo.

While the heroine couldn’t care less about revenge.

The hero can show how he was wronged by a good friend.

The heroine can’t because that means she is not a good judge of character, and therefore the story seems unreal and is instantly dismissed.

By the way, you don’t have to use all the elements of the heroine’s journey, to get instant influence, just the most important ones.

About those 15 beats I mentioned a minute ago.

First think of bookends.

The bookend on the left is where the story starts.

The hero or heroine has a flaw they must overcome or a mission to complete but they think they are not “THE ONE.”

See the “Matrix” or “The Legend of the Secret Pass.”

In Groundhog Day Bill Murray’s character’s left bookend was his selfishness. His right bookend was selflessness.

Then the other plot points go from being in the ordinary world, the call to adventure, refusal of the call, crossing the first threshold into the upside-down world and then…

The fun and games begin.

This is where the promise of the trailer gets fulfilled.

We are entertained by two or three outstanding scenes.

Then, ‘shit gets real,’ and the heroine must come up with a plan.

That usually goes wrong.

She must rally the troops and create a new plan.

This time she succeeds.

Then there’s the finale where things return to a new normal where she is transformed and empowered.

All the loose ends are tied up ready for a satisfying conclusion some call a happy ending.

When your backstory does these things, your prospects will feel they know you and therefore like you and trust you.

People only buy from people they know like and trust.

If you have our copywriting course “Influence Intelligence,” you’ll be familiar with our ‘Persuasion – Equation’ model.

Influence Intelligence

The circle in the middle is labelled ‘Defend’ because online there is so much buyer skepticism.

If you have ever been ripped off or didn’t get what you paid for, you’ll know the feeling. And now you’re weary of strangers.

However, the hero and heroine’s journey stories bypass the need to be skeptical and your prospect automatically bonds with you and you have instant influence.

Without that crucial step you can’t sell anything.

As the saying goes, “you can get just about anything in life with a kind word and a gun.”

But we persuaders don’t have guns so we must make good use of kind words.

And when you structure those kind words into a hero or heroine’s journey you have instant influence.

I got fascinated by the hero’s journey story when in 2007 I joined Kenrick Cleveland’s $15,000 a year Elite coaching program.

Since then, I discovered several copywriting courses like the brilliant one from Daniel Levis, who majored on the hero’s journey.

Today, there are several screenplay consultants working with copywriters and entrepreneurs like Russel Brunson showing them how to use the hero’s journey in their business.

But there is no one I know of showing these same people how to use the heroine’s journey,

Is that because all these consultants are male?

Or is it because they don’t fully realise the same emotional impact can be had through the heroine’s journey?

I don’t know, but as soon as I discovered this new story structure, I made it my goal to use it with my next client to help him get instant influence with his website visitors.

Now, to wrap things up, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite quotes from Annette Simmons, author of “The Story Factor…”

“Storytelling is the most valuable skill you can develop to help you influence others.”

If this quote doesn’t motivate you and make you want to tell your personal story, then nothing will.

And that’s why I encourage you to take what you’ve learned in this article and use it to be like all the best-selling information entrepreneurs.

Because no matter who you are, you too can bypass skepticism, cynicism, and distrust with just the right words said in the right way!

To say it another way, if you want instant influence use story.

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