John Yorke, Nick PArker, Story for Business, narrative in business, content marketing online course, Into the Woods, John Yorke Story


The shape of stories is hardwired into our brains. This course explains why, and shows how to harness this power to transform your business and marketing communications.

Over seven weeks you’ll discover why in a world saturated with a million messages, stories always cut through. And how to draw on elements of story to make everything you do in business better, from presentations, speeches and case studies to the way you use Twitter. You’ll see why some stories inspire and engage audiences – and why some don’t, and how to fix them. You’ll experiment with different story-structure techniques and develop a new vocabulary of story essentials.

There’s a balance of theory – the narrative structure ideas set out in John Yorke’s bestselling book, Into The Woods – with highly practical exercises based on films and TV everyone knows, from Star Wars to The Apprentice. Find out what business can learn from the movies. Finally, you’ll apply what you’ve learned by writing your own business stories.

John and your tutor are on-hand throughout to answer questions, feedback on your assignments, and critique your business stories at the end of the course.

Developed by John Yorke in collaboration with brand and business writer Nick Parker.

Course Director John Yorke

Course Leader Nick Parker

Course Tutor Richard Benson

Course Moderator Katherine Press

Many businesses think they’re telling stories when they’re not. It’s important to understand what the elements of story are and use them properly. Otherwise it’s like forgetting to put a call to action in a marketing campaign.

Nick Parker

Brand and business writer

We all use story all the time. The more you identify with the protagonist, and the more you loathe the baddie, the more powerful your story is going to be. You see that everywhere from a business memo to an advert.

John Yorke

Course Director


Start date: 11 June 2018
Duration: 7 weeks
Skill level: Intermediate
Session length: Weekly
Sessions: 6
Price: £1,500 (inc. VAT)



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This course has been made possible by the support of Creative Skillset, and has been approved as part of an informal or formal continuing professional development (CPD) programme.

We’ve developed Story for Business for individuals and organisations looking to develop a practical understanding of the mechanics of effective storytelling, and how to use it in business.

It’s for anyone who needs to communicate as part of their job. From brand and marketing communicators, internal and external communications teams, HR teams, and anyone who needs to write briefs and case studies. You don’t need any previous experience and you can take the course for personal or formal professional development.

We teach this course in groups of up to 15 people. You can book as an individual or you can block-book a dedicated class exclusively for your team.

The course is suitable if you:

  • Are a novice storyteller and want to learn how stories work and how to plan and structure narratives
  • Are a seasoned professional and want to refresh your skills, learn new ones and improve your knowledge of how stories work, and how to apply this to your work
  • Are developing online content for businesses, charities and other organisations and want to understand how to use stories
  • Want to learn how to select, develop and realise your ideas
  • Are keen to master story structure
  • Would like to see the underlying framework behind all stories everywhere
  • Need to discover why your business stories aren’t working — and how to fix them
  • Want to gain the confidence to create your own brand or business stories
  • Are looking for a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners
  • Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course


Over seven weeks, you’ll learn the building blocks you need to create a compelling narrative for business and brands, and all the essentials you need to fix broken stories and create original material.

We’ll look in detail at the act structure of stories, protagonists and antagonists, inciting incidents, climaxes and resolutions. We’ll also look at the big things they can teach us to apply to business communication. You’ll work within a supportive community keen to share their experiences with you.

Session 1: The shape of all stories
Session 2: Finding your heroes and villains
Session 3: Getting the best out of conflict
Session 4: Keeping your audience on the edge of their seats
Session 5: How to avoid telling bad stories
Session 6: Putting it into action

We teach this course in our online classroom, which is open 24/7 so you can fit learning around your work, family and friends. You’ll work in a small group of learners so you can discuss ideas, ask questions and share your writing as you progress through the weekly sessions.

You’ll learn from:

  • Short podcasts from John Yorke and Nick Parker
  • Short videos from John Yorke and/or other industry experts
  • Written guidance notes and carefully selected reading and viewing lists devised by John Yorke and Nick Parker
  • Practical exercises and prompts, devised by John and Nick to help you experiment and practise your skills
  • Guest lectures from industry experts
  • Guided discussions with your group
  • Live chatroom sessions with your group and tutor to give you the opportunity to ask questions
  • The opportunity to share your work and give and receive feedback from fellow writers
  • Tutor feedback on your two business stories at the end of the course

You’ll need:

  • 5-7 hours per week to work through the course
  • A notebook and pen or pencil, if you like to make notes by hand
  • Access to the following films on DVD or via streaming sites:
    • Jaws, Cars, Inside Out and Steve Jobs
  • A laptop or computer* with:
    • A reliable broadband internet connection
    • Speakers or headphones
    • The latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Safari
    • Microsoft Word. If you don’t have this you can download Open Office free
    • Adobe Reader, latest version. Download free
    • QuickTime Player, latest version. Download free
    • Adobe Flash Player 10 or higher

*You can access the course from a tablet or smartphone, but we recommend using a laptop or computer, as this makes it easier to share your work files with your writing group.

Join our alumni

After your course, you can join our online alumni where you’ll meet our growing network of past students. The alumni is a friendly group of writers who support each other as they continue to explore and develop their writing.

Within our online alumni area you can:

  • Rejoin your classmates on a private forum, together with access to an archived version of your course materials and forum posts
  • Meet alumni from other courses and groups and share your writing for feedback
  • Join discussions about reading, writing and ideas
  • Retain access to our online resources area, which we constantly update with interesting and informative links
  • Chat with other people in our online alumni chatroom. We also host live chats with guest tutors here

Mentoring and one-to-one feedback

The John Yorke Story tutor team offer mentoring, script reads and reports. We are happy to quote by job or script, or to arrange a longer mentoring scheme as you work on a specific story idea. We’ll create a package to suit you, so for more information please email

Taking things further

If you would like to continue on to another Professional Writing Academy, or John Yorke Story course, you’ll receive a 15% discount.

Watch John Yorke and Nick Parker discuss why businesses need stories and how they should use them

Price: £1,500 (inc. VAT)

Price: £50

Ask Us Anything


While it’s simple enough to recognise a successful business story, I’ve realised it’s another thing entirely to pinpoint the reasons for its success and understand how to recreate that in your work.


So many business briefs can be unambitious, and would benefit from being challenged. This course gives a good framework for making those challenges. The course also made me aware that there’s now a whole thing called brand storytelling that often isn’t storytelling at all.


I had never thought about my pitches in terms of story elements, story structure – I’ve always just done them on instinct and judged them on whether they read well. So I’m finding this course hugely illuminating and it’s already causing me to think differently.


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