Anatomy of a Fabl Story

August 12, 2020 Brandi Starr

Fabl is used to create immersive content experiences. Although there are many similarities between Fabl and the landing page editors that exist within most marketing automation tools, both the strategy and technical execution of a Fabl story is inherently different. If you are just getting started with Fabl, this article will help define the components within a Fabl story and how you should think about each.
 

Children’s Fables and the Buyers Journey

Before diving into the structural components of a Fabl content experience, let’s first discuss what it means to create an immersive content experience. By definition, a fable (with an “e” on the end) is a succinct fictional story that features animals as characters and conveys a message with a moral. As a child, my favorite fable was The Little Red Hen, a story that teaches children the importance of hard work and initiative.

Since its original publication in 1918, there are hundreds of variations of the book. However, each version follows the same structure. The cover depicts the red hen with all her gardening tools, in each page of the story, the hen asks three animals (most often a cat, dog, and mouse) if they will help with the next step in planting and harvesting wheat. The imagery shows the hen preparing to take the next step and each animal she asks is too busy to help. At the end of the story, the hen uses the wheat to make a cake and then everyone wants to be a part of the final step, eating.

Thinking about this (and other) fables in relation to your buyers’ journey and content experiences, the little red hen in your ideal customer profile (ICP) or target persona. They have a job-to-be-done or a problem to solve (harvesting wheat), they have challenges (too much to do and no help to do it), and a desired outcome (cake). Your products or solutions are what they need to achieve their desired outcome and overcome the barriers that are in their way. For your customers, you are the farmer’s helper and sous chef that the little red hen needed.

If you haven’t read The Little Ren Hen, I want you to think about your favorite fable (or any children’s book for that matter). They all follow a remarkably similar structure. As adult, within the first few pages, you will likely figured out where the story is going, but you STILL get sucked into the book. When I read to my son, sometimes he will lose interest and walk away, but I still feel compelled to finish the book… even if I’ve read it a thousand times before. Children’s books create the kind of immersive experience that we want to create for our buyers.

So let’s talk about how to accomplish that same immersive experience using Fabl.
 

Creating an Immersive Experience

A quick internet search lead me to a MasterClass article titled “How to Write a Fable in 5 Steps”. If you aren’t familiar with MasterClass their tagline is ‘learn from the best’ and their writing courses are taught by big names like James Patterson, Shonda Rhimes, and Judy Blume. #InstantCredibility

Here are their five steps and my application to the B2B buyers’ journey:

1. Determine the Moral of the Story
What is the key question your Fabl Story will answer? Or what core message is it designed to convey? To hold the reader’s attention, the purpose needs to be clear and appeal to the audience. Much like the moral in a children’s fable, the message needs to be clear and targeted, but not too narrow.

2. Pick Your Characters
Who is your target audience for this story? How do we bring the characters in your brand story to life within the story? Some examples include choosing to identify the target audience by classification (e.g., CMOs or IT Professionals), using images of and quotes from current customers, or varying layouts that will appeal to the target audience.

3. Pick Your Characters Traits
Character traits refer to the needs or challenges of your audience. What keeps them up at night? What helps them be more effective in their job? And how do they define success? These are all ways to think more deeply about how to convey your message in a compelling way.

4. Shape the Conflict
The conflict in your marketing content is the need or challenge that your target audience is facing. How you effectively shape the problem, why it’s important, and how you solve it in a way that resonates will help you structure your story.

5. Write
Once you’ve planned out your Fabl story, it’s time to put your plan into action. In addition to writing the content, it’s important to think through the visuals and enhancements.

 

Technical Structure

Notice I left out “design” as a part of the step five process listed above? Contrary to working with a landing page builder, we skip the traditional design phase and instead leverage the standard Fabl components. All we need to do is define the imagery for the page; but let’s first talk about the technical structure of the story.

Sections, grids, and content are the building bocks on which all Fabl stories are built. Fabl uses a nested structure, each section is synonymous with a page in your story, and within each section you can have columns and content. The page header, navigation, and footers are most often consistent across all stories and configured during implementation, so I’m going to focus on the building blocks.

  • Sections allow you to create structured layouts. Think of these as the various rows on the page and each represents a page within the story. Using sections, you can arrange different types of content elements and structural components into different vertical and horizontal layouts.
  • Grids are used to create defined columns within a section. They are fluid and will automatically flow in size to take the maximum available width. By adding a grid, you will automatically create your first column.
  • Content Elements are the visual elements that appear in the story. This includes text, images, quotes, videos, buttons, custom code, and other advance components.


Within each of these elements, you can define background images, videos, or colors as well as other charts, graphs, and images to bring the story to life. In addition, Fabl has animated enhancements that can be used to give your story a bit of movement and pizzazz.

And that’s it! It’s really quite simple and that is by design. In this article, I focused on the planning and development of a single Fabl story. If you haven’t already read our other Fabl content, take a moment to read “5 Steps to Create Amazing Fabl Experiences” (clearly Tegritans like the number 5) that focuses on the overall approach to becoming an amazing Fabl story creator.

For help determining if Fabl is right for you or managing your Fabl instance, we’d love to chat. We offer technical consulting, template building, training, custom code, and strategy consulting. Let us help you get started on your story!

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