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🦸‍♀️How to use (anti-hero) storytelling formulas


New here? This is Inbox Hacking, a Free Newsletter for Awesome email marketers wanting to level up. Email marketing insights, tools, & tactics sent twice per week. Someone forwarded you our Newsletter? Sign up for your Free subscription. Today’s edition digs deeper into using storytelling (besides the hero’s journey) as part of your email strategy.

Happy Cinco de Mayo tomorrow and don’t fret, Inbox Hackers, there’s more to today’s feature story than The Hero’s Journey. 

We’re gonna look to other storytelling frameworks aimed to help get your messages across and make them stick. Structures and formulas are perfect for those who find writing difficult, but also save time for even those who have a knack for writing.

We begin in a galaxy far far away… this galaxy involves a southbound devil though. 

🚨 Free Live Webinar – Wednesday May 10th – Discover How to Re-engage Inactive Subscribers🚨

Story Structure Lesson #1

*Stories can be 22 times more memorable than ‘just the facts’. (Stanford U)

When I was 5, my great-grandmother (a real saint) recorded me singing The Devil Went Down to Georgia, on a clunky tape recorder. Was I sawin’ on a fiddle and playin’ it hot? 

Nah, but it was my first memory of learning a song’s lyrics start to finish. I paid more attention to every song’s meaning, rhymes, and story from that day on.

Seeing my Granny Jewel smile and enjoy my recording planted a seed. Probably had something to do with me writing for a living decades later. Ever wonder which seeds led you to where you are?

Point is this. There’s endless story structure in song lyrics. You don’t need to understand heroes nor mythology to understand stuff like:


Young Johnny winning a bet against the devil that could’ve cost the boy his soul. Kid took a chance and won that golden fiddle versus the dirtiest player in the game. Also, part of the story that some miss… practice makes perfect and builds confidence.

Even pop music can weave a moving tale. I’ve seen Miley Cyrus’ The Climb make dads cry as it played on a highlight reel of their daughter’s gymnastics routine. (I wasn’t among the criers, of course 😅).


3 More Song Story Structures You Can Use

*Brain scans show the emotional bits in stories amplify brain activity the most.

Review these lyrics:

  1. Changes (2Pac) – Great wake-ya-up song – also puts on a clinic telling the story of problems the young man saw and how they might be fixed. Describing problems in devastating detail is a storytelling skill that can propel your audience to change.

  1. Ballad of Love & Hate (Avett Brothers) – Grab a pen and pad then copy the lyrics to this song to build the muscles it takes to paint the most vivid pictures possible. Insightful for bringing vague or new ideas to life.

  1. In da Club (50 Cent) & 99 Luftballons (Nena) – Neither tell a story as far as I can tell. Can’t understand Nena at all. But both contain the key to getting people to even give your messages a look. A hook.

🔑🔑You can’t study song stories while caught up in the music. Step back… and coldly observe the structure. 


Let me know what song you believe tells the best story.

BTW, wanna see how weak AI writers can be? Ask ChatGPT to write a song 🤢. 

More Storytelling Structures

*Anecdotes (stories) can make health advice personally important to a patient. (Professor Melanie Green)

Again, you’ve likely had a bellyful of the hero’s journey story structure. In case you don’t know though… Make the reader feel like the hero, provide a guide that convinces them to take a chance— to change. Provide ups and downs on the journey to their victory. 

Alternate story formulas to turn your campaigns and offers into better stories:

3-Act Structure. Consists of 1️⃣ Setup 2️⃣ Confrontation 3️⃣ Resolution

Example: Devil vacays in Georgia because his soul supply chain broke. Meets Johnny and sets up epic fiddle duel. The kid beats Lucifer fair-n-square, even mocks him on the way out – “just come on back if you ever wanna try again!” 

Pixar Framework

Via Medium

PASTOR Framework via famed copywriter Ray Edwards




Testify (social proof)


Response (CTA)

John Wick – Why do we care about a hitman? Connection. The bad guys whacked his puppy. 

Best selling ad of all time? A sales letter slipped into a tale that lets readers fill in the blanks at the end. (Use this easy formula asap)

⭐Nobody wanted to see Apollo beat Rocky. Viewers wanted to believe in the underdog but had doubts about Rocky. Same as the doubts your subscribers may have about your offers. Don’t cover those issues up – highlight them – so you can knock those doubts down one by one. 

Alrighty. Storytelling should go smoother for you now. Regardless of your writing prowess.

(Hit me up to share your next story)

Keep reading for an updated click-rate stat and today’s hack that ensures your emails can be read by all.

Knowledge Base

⚡Knowledge is power but first, duck out.

8 must-have digital marketing skills (yes, #6 is painful).

Tools to check accessibility of your emails.

Now ya know… what to post on all the major social platforms.

🧛🏼‍♂️Subject line character counts & other keys that count.


You can quit stressing over subject lines 7 days a week.

This one strategy unlocks better open rates without a perfect subject line every time. 

Inbox Mailers holds the key…

Triggered Emails. And this works for businesses of all sizes.

  • Get open rates of 50% – 70%
  • Increase/Fix your reputation, deliverability, and inbox placement rates
  • Increase/Fix Sender scores and IP Health
  • Re-engage your Dead/Unengaged list
  • Warm up new IP addresses in about half the normal time frame
  • Increase click volume

Book a Demo→ improve your email marketing’s bottom line

Inbox Mailers is the only email marketing tool that truly gives you perfect timing on your sends.

*Sponsored content

Self Help 

The world’s chaos.

Not a new thing, BTW.

See Napoleon, Smallpox, and September 14, 1964…

The day Pop-Tarts were unleashed on the Earth.

Good news is— writing helps us make sense of the world.

Because just thinking about the world is not the best way to organize things.

Ask this Ph.D. dude, he agrees with me.

*Shout-out to Inbox Hacking Subscribers → 

💡Anna at Culture Form (Brand strategy)

🤖Alyssa at Motion2AI (Forklift AI)

Facts and Stats

  • Videos are 2x as likely to be shared than any other type of content (Wyzowl)
  • MailerLite finds 2023 avg. click rates to be 3.36% & bounce rates 0.30%
  • A story is the only way to activate parts in the brain that cause a listener to feel the idea and experience is now their own (Uri Sasson, neuroscientist)

Bonus:  LinkedIn users are 20x more likely to share a video post? (Demand Sage)


How to resuscitate “dead” email subscribers and bring them back into the purchase funnel. 

Inbox Mailers empowers re-engagement. 

This patent-pending technology leverages a unique engagement trigger system that we have seen double, even triple open rates.

Schedule a Free Demo today because you worked hard for those subscribers— and they can be re-engaged.

🚨 Free Live Webinar – Wednesday May 10th – Save Your Spot to Learn How to Re-engage Inactive Subscribers🚨


Marketing Musings

It’s the little things…

Get Hacking

According to Lions International, 253 million people are blind or have moderate to severe distance vision impairment.

According to me and eardrums everywhere, most screen readers suck.

Something to consider when writing emails. 

How do they sound when a clunky robot reads them to a subscriber who can’t see the message?

Your voice would be a better option. Second best would be a more realistic robotic voice of your choosing. 

It’s easy to add a voice recording link to your campaigns.

*Friends with other email marketers? Please forward Inbox Hacking to them. Appreciate you reading.

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