So how do you deliver a story from start to finish to an audience ?

The interesting part is that stories fundamentally have had these three steps as part of their process since the beginning of the printing press or even before.

The first step is to create the story itself

Back in the renaissance period in Milan, Italy - commerce and art were flourishing. One of the first example of mass media in these times were gossip writers. Sort of an early gawker.com.

They'd go around to find the latest gossip, which they'd then try to distribute via newsletters to connect to an audience.

But they soon realised that if you wrote about the powerful you'd literally get your head chopped off.

So they optimized the process by putting their names on the newsletter and started posting them in public places.

So basically create the story, connect with the audience and optimize (both the story itself and how you connect)

Fast forward 200 years to the newspaper wars of 1800's. There was sort of a cambrian explosion of newspapers, it became hard to stand out because a lot of people with resources started their own newspaper companies.

You'd distribute these via newspaper boys who'd scream headlines. If someone found it attractive, they'd purchase the newspaper.

But standing out from the crowd became harder.

So what did people do ?

Publishers optimized this and started differentiating themselves by the type of stories, and the depth of these stories.

Fast forward another 200 years to the advent of the internet. One of the fastest growing content companies used similar principles.

Upworthy's whole business was building an audience as fast as possible

How did they do this ?

They'd release stories and constantly AB test different elements and look at the data to see which worked better. They did this more often than anyone in the past could do, which helped them accelerate growth exponentially.

Stand up comedians and story telling