The Business of Story Podcast with Host Park Howell

How to craft and tell compelling stories that sell in your story marketing

The Business of Story, hosted by Park Howell,  is one of the top brand storytelling podcasts for story marketers with downloads topping 220,000 on iTunes alone, and tens of thousands more on Stitcher

Each episode brings you the brightest content creators, advertising creatives, authors, screenwriters, makers, marketers, and brand raconteurs that show you how to make your story marketing standout. 

Guests include: Robert McKeeDon YaegerJohn Yorke, Jen Grisanti, Pat Solomon, Jay Baer, Nancy Duarte & Patti SanchezMichael MargolisMichael HyattMargaret Hartnell, Michael Hauge, Dick OrkinBrian PalermoDr. Randy OlsonMichael PortBryan Kramer and more.

From the 70+ 5-star reviews from our fans on

  • “Captivating and informative.”  
  • “Outstanding show. A must listen.”
  • “I’m in love!”
  • “Wonderful storytelling resource.”
  • “An excellent resource for business communicators.”
  • “Blown away!”

Michael Gerber - Founder & Author at Michael E. Gerber Companies

How to Wake Up Your Inner Entrepreneur

How to Wake Up Your Inner Entrepreneur

Sometimes your biggest obstacle in entrepreneurship is yourself. Wanting to be practical and realistic is helpful, but is often a roadblock to incredible success. The fantastic thing is that by expanding your inner story, you have the opportunity to unlock the hidden potential in yourself and your company. Our special guest on this episode will provide some insight to help you do just that. (more…)

Business-of-story-Rewrite-Inner Story-Can-Change-the-World-Samantha-Bennett-creativity-organization

Samantha Bennett - Founder of The Organized Artist Company

How Rewriting Your Inner Story Can Change the World

How Rewriting Your Inner Story Can Change the World  

You want to be both creative and organized, and all the conventional wisdom out there says that is just not possible. But your inner story still wants to be heard and that voice inside you is right; you can be creative and get things done. By listening to your inner voice, you can cultivate the most supportive and successful story that will help you accomplish your goals and change your story to a fulfilling one for you and your brand. (more…)

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JD Dwyer - Founder of The Institute of Wow

Differentiate Your Brand Story by Cultivating Some ‘Wow’

Differentiate Your Brand Story by Cultivating A Wow Factor

Because it can be so tough to make a single brand stand out in the saturated marketing space, brands often resort to dropping their prices to compete. But over time, dropping prices will hurt returns and keep your business from growing. Learning how to create and use a wow factor for your brand will help keep margins high while also expanding and developing your brand story. (more…)


LeRoy Ashby - Professor and Author

How Popular Culture Affects the Way We Tell Stories

How Popular Culture Affects the Way We Tell Stories

Do you remember that one teacher or professor you had that made a remarkable impact on your life? Mine was LeRoy Ashby. LeRoy was my history teacher at Washington State University, and students would line up like waiting to by concert tickets to register for his class.

Now retired, LeRoy is a marvelous storyteller. That’s what made is class so popular. The thing that I remember most about his course is the power of storytelling. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he captivated us with stories about history. We didn’t learn by rote, but by lore.

amusement-for-allLeRoy is an expert on the history of pop culture. In fact, he wrote the book on it: With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture Since 1830.

We all want to hook our customers, however solidly good products or services is often not enough. But going back and drawing upon classic entertainment archetypes and popular culture can help us create more compelling brand stories. Taking the time for a history lesson in these subjects will help you craft more compelling brand stories.

What do Donald Trump and P.T. Barnum Have In Common?

The timing for this show was perfect given what we had just gone through in this election cycle with Trump, our current President-elect,. According to Ashby, he shares remarkable similarities to P.T. Barnum, the greatest showman ever.  LeRoy provides a fascinating look into the salesman, some even say charlatan, of our president elect and the sideshow antics he used to become the ring leader in the big top of American politics.

I’m going to be a student of his once again, and I’m honored to share him with all of you.

Primary Points:

  • What pop culture is and how it affects the way we tell stories
  • How politics and the news have shifted towards entertainment
  • Why P.T. Barnum and Donald Trump are remarkably similar

Key Quotes:

“Bit by bit, more and more, politics have opened up then to pop culture.” —LeRoy Ashby (click to tweet)

“Trump is first and foremost a celebrity coming into the White House.” —LeRoy Ashby (click to tweet)

“It’s the history of American entertainment, how those sideshows have gotten into the big tent.” —LeRoy Ashby (click to tweet)


Mentioned in This Episode:

Are you ready to get your brand story straight? Get your storytelling marketing started with the DIY guide to compelling brand stories that sell.



Melanie Benson - Professional Trainer and Coach at Success Connections

How to Rewire Your Mental Patterns to Rewrite a More Powerful Personal Story

How to Rewire Your Mental Patterns to Rewrite a More Powerful Personal Story

We all want abundant lives and to create successful businesses. Even with these positive intentions, it’s easy to get stuck in our own limited thinking and bad habits. Therefore it’s necessary to rewire our mindset and allow for a more positive and expansive story to live into.

If you are a long-time listener, you’ve probably heard me share this line several times: the most potent story you’ll ever tell is the story you tell yourself, so make it a good one.

I also like to back that up with: no one’s going to buy your story until you own it first. And today’s guest is living proof of what it means to bring these two thoughts together!

ipad_lft_r4wMelanie Benson left a very well paying job and the safety net of a Fortune 500 company to strike out on her own as a business lifestyle expert. At first, she failed. But after rewiring her own patterns and gaining the motivation to make her business work, she succeeded with flying colors.

How? She realized she was living into a story that didn’t work for her. Once she changed her story, her whole world opened up. Since then, Melanie has gone on to coach many companies, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs to great success by helping them understand how to rewire their patterns and change their stories.

Primary Points:

  • How the story you tell yourself directly affects the story you can tell for your brand
  • How to rewire your mindset to impact your habits and create optimal success
  • Why it’s imperative to avoid the most common success barriers and to delegate daily tasks to free you for higher-level thinking

Key Quotes:

It’s amazing how many people get in their own way, —@melcoach (click to tweet)

“One of my all-time favorite go-to strategies is delegation.” —@melcoach (click to tweet)

“I had to go through a process of learning how to be confident.” —@melcoach (click to tweet)

“We have to be science fiction writers for our own lives. ” —@ParkHowell (click to tweet)


Mentioned in This Episode:

Are you ready to get your brand story straight? Get your storytelling marketing started with the DIY guide to compelling brand stories that sell.


Brian Palermo - Actor & Author

Unleash Your Story Creativity With the Power of Improv

Unleash Your Story Creativity With the Power of Improv

In the business world, we are always striving to connect with our audience. Sometimes we over plan, and our thinking actually gets in the way. But using certain practices of improv performers can help us loosen up and get those creative juices flowing. So, engaging in collaborative games and adopting a ‘yes, and’ attitude can help you create a more compelling brand story.    

book-connectionWe have some improv on our show today, and gosh knows we could use it in our lives right about now. The day after the election, I got a chance to interview Randy Olson, who is the inventor of the “And, But, and Therefore” method. In this episode, we’ll be hearing from actor Brian Palermo, who is Randy’s friend and co-author of, Connection: Hollywood Storytelling Meets Critical Thinking. You’ve seen Brian in a lot of TV shows and movies. He’s a very funny and likable guy—the kind of actor that has this way of connecting with you.

In addition to what Brian is doing on TV and in the movies, he’s a phenomenal improv standup actor featured every Wednesday in the Groundlings troop in Hollywood.

Brian also works with executives, business leaders, and communicators. He teaches them the art of improv to help them connect with their audiences and tell funny, powerful, and emotional stories.

Primary Points:

  • Why improv and collaborative games can help you relax into your creativity
  • How to listen to and deeply connect with your audience for greater success
  • Why it’s so important to use emotion and practice your storytelling skills

Key Quotes:

Improv is just training. It’s keeping your brain in shape. —@brianpalermo (click to tweet)

“It’s all about giving yourself permission to try.” —@brianpalermo (click to tweet)

“You want to connect to the audience in front of you.” —@brianpalermo (click to tweet)

Mentioned in This Episode:

Are you ready to get your brand story straight? Get your storytelling marketing started with the DIY guide to compelling brand stories that sell.


John Jantsch - Founder & President at Duct Tape Marketing

3 Big Things You Can Do Right Now to Jumpstart Your Business

3 Big Things You Can Do Right Now to Jumpstart Your Business

We all have important brand stories to tell, and we use innumerable social media channels to be heard. But it’s nearly impossible to standout in today’s Attention Economy without the proper search engine optimization (SEO) strategy for your brand storytelling. Therefore, today’s guest will cover the three big things you need to know to help your business stories rise above the noise and be heard.  

seoWe have a guest that’s going to help us define our strategy for getting our stories heard. John Jantsch has been in the advertising marketing world for more than three decades. He is the founder of Duct Tape Marketing, and he’s written five terrific books in the advertising and marketing world, where he specializes in helping small businesses get their act together by using a very dedicated marketing system that they can implement right away.

When it comes to story, John focuses on emphasizing the uniqueness and remarkability of your brand offering. Sometimes we’re all so close to our businesses that we don’t even know what we do best. It takes folks like John and myself to show up and help you understand what that is. There is also another group close to you that you probably didn’t even realize is just waiting to be your ally.

Key Quotes:

“The magic isn’t what we do, it’s what happens to people when we do it.” —@ducttape (click to tweet)

“The channels cho0se themselves based on your strategy.”  —@ducttape (click to tweet)

“We often we are trying to get our clients to do less.” —@ducttape (click to tweet)

Mentioned in This Episode:

Are you ready to get your brand story straight? Get your storytelling marketing started with the DIY guide to compelling brand stories that sell.


Stu Heinecke - President and Founder at Cartoon Link, Inc.

How to Use Audacious Storytelling for Full Contact Marketing

How to Use Audacious Storytelling for Full Contact Marketing

Look, we have a second or two to get someone’s attention in today’s Attention Economy.

So why not take a storytelling tip or two from a guy who tells stories in one frame for the Wall Street Journal?6a0147e05adc32970b01b8d19cf98f970c

Stu Heinecke has harnessed his skills as a cartoonist to reach out to new business clients in audacious ways. In this episode, Stu will share what he’s learned about storytelling one frame at a time, and how he has transferred that knowledge to what he calls “contact marketing,” a skill he says anyone can learn. In fact, he’s just written a book called How to Get a Meeting with Anyone: The Untapped Selling Power of Contact Marketing. 

bContact marketing is something that we can all do, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. It’s about creating a story around your audience—that one particular person you’re going after—and then reaching out to them in the most novel of ways. 

For example, Heinecke uses his skills to create custom cartoons for people he wants to meet. He blows them up so that they’re suitable for framing and then sends them to his prospect’s office.

Can you imagine the impact that would have on you?

I know what you’re thinking: “Great, but I’m no cartoonist.” I thought the same thing, too. So I dug deeper with Stu, and he shares other ways to be equally creative – “The goal is to be audacious,” he says – to get your foot in the door. That’s what his book is all about. As he calls it, “Contact Marketing.”


Primary Points:

  • Why simple images and humor are so effective in getting people to respond
  • How to craft personal messages to your targeted audience to get meetings
  • Why it’s often more far more powerful to be brief and focused in your messaging

Key Quotes:

“Conflict is an absolutely essential component of story, and it’s always in humor as well.” —@bystuheinecke (click to tweet)

We’re using micro-focused campaigns. I mean, this could go out to just one person.” —@bystuheinecke (click to tweet)

“The audacity is the brevity. —@bystuheinecke (click to tweet)

“Find the hurt, amplify the pain, heal the wound.” —@ParkHowell (click to tweet)


Mentioned in This Episode:

Are you ready to get your brand story straight? Get your storytelling marketing started with the DIY guide to compelling brand stories that sell.


Randy Olson - Author & Filmmaker

Brander in Chief: Dr. Randy Olson Explains the Power of Trump’s Narrative Intuition

Brander in Chief: How Trump’s Narrative Intuition Beat Clinton and Put a Reality TV Actor in the White House

How could this country elect a reality TV show host as its President?

Trump had a story. Hillary had none.

“America was once great. America is no longer great. I will make America great again,” he proclaimed ad nauseam. Then he propped up his position with “Crooked Hillary.” “Build the wall.” “Drain the swamp.”

Nothing more than elementary, inflammatory catchphrases. And Americans bought it.

Trump demonstrated no depth. Shared no policy points. And seemingly went out of his way to offend people like no other candidate ever has.

And yet he won. But how?

Donald Trump is an example of a leader with deep narrative intuition, according to Dr. Randy Olson. 

houston-we-have-a-narrativeOlson helps scientists and academics learn to simplify their messages to help them connect with their audiences. He used his “And, But and Therefore” methodology to track the two campaign narratives. By comparing what he calls their “Narrative Index,” the ratio of “buts” to “ands” in their speeches (the more buts the better), he found that President-elect Trump far surpassed Clinton’s narrative power.

Olson even reached out to James Carville and had conversations with the Clinton team to warn them that if Hillary didn’t create a clear story guided by the narrative index, she would lose the race.

Why is this important to business leaders and communicators? Well, any marketer or marketing campaign can benefit from taking these lessons from this most arduous election to heart. Narrowing your brand story into one singular narrative and using the ABT template will help you and your brand be heard and influence your audience.

Primary Points:

  • Why Trump’s Campaign was successful due to his deep narrative intuition
  • How to understand, practice, and utilize the core principles of narrative
  • Why it’s so important for any marketing campaign to have a singular story narrative

Key Quotes:

“Everywhere you find a great communicator you will find deep narrative intuition.” —@ABTagenda (click to tweet)

“Narrative is leadership.” —@ABTagenda (click to tweet)

“Be the master of your own narrative.” —@ABTagenda (click to tweet)

“We buy with our hearts and justify our purchases with our heads.” —@ParkHowell (click to tweet)

Mentioned in This Episode:

NOTE:  Randy Olson was exhausted doing this podcast the morning after a late night watching the election results AND we really thank him for doing it, BUT he made one minor glitch in saying the South Park guys went to University of Chicago when he knows full well they went to University of Colorado. THEREFORE, if you caught it, please correct it in your mind.

Are you ready to get your brand story straight? Get your storytelling marketing started with the DIY guide to compelling brand stories that sell.


Buddy Scalera - Senior Director Content Strategy at The Medicines Company

Why Conflict Resolution is at the Center of Compelling Brand Storytelling

Why Conflict Resolution is at the Center of Compelling Brand Storytelling

You can use business storytelling to give people a reason to make a behavior change and to do that, you’ve just got to give customers an emotional reason to do something. But it can be difficult for us, as marketers, to get out of our business minds and into our emotional brain. Therefore, we can apply some of the best storytelling ideals from the comic book industry to humanize and have more fun with our marketing content and nudge the world in any direction we choose.


As a veteran comic-book-writer-turned-content-marketing-expert, today’s guest may be more appropriate than any other to talk about the superpower of story. Buddy Scalera has written in the “Deadpool” franchise series. He has an incredible amount of books under his belt, but more recently he’s moved on to the pharmaceutical marketing industry. Buddy just spoke at Content Marketing World, and he is one of the most entertaining and informative guests we’ve had on the podcast.

Buddy talks about how to use business storytelling to give people a reason to do something, to act, to make a behavior change. He shows us how to create more cliffhangers in our marketing so that we can enthrall our audiences. And finally, he’s going to share with us the three things he learned from the process of writing for “Deadpool” that he uses in marketing every day. So, I invite you to jump right into the wacky comic book and pharma-marketing world of Buddy Scalera.

Key Quotes:

“I think what you have to do is put yourself in the shoes of that user and what they’re going through.” —@BuddyScalera (click to tweet)

People are the heroes of their own story.” —@BuddyScalera (click to tweet)

“Storytelling is about a hero and a conflict. Sometimes a brand is a solution to that conflict.” —@BuddyScalera (click to tweet)

“Without tension, you have no story.”—@ParkHowell (click to tweet)


Mentioned in This Episode:

Are you ready to get your brand story straight? Get your storytelling marketing started with the DIY guide to compelling brand stories that sell.

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