A Story Teller's Mindset:
Key to Great Content Marketing
hardest thing about writing good content for marketing is coming up
with stories to tell. There's no lack of knowledge, or research, or
interesting concepts to blog about, or to write white papers about.
read one or two books a week, full of interesting information I can
share with you here. But it's dry without telling you a story of how
that information comes to life in the real world.
is a story-teller's mindset. I'm working on that, but it's not
something that comes naturally to me. I'm observing people who have
Like Eric, Tall Eric, down at the tennis courts.
If I mention coffee, he's got a story. Okay, so that can be a bit
annoying if you're in a hurry, but he's usually got my attention for a
couple of minutes. There may be a point to his story…or not.
My point is, no matter what your point, you need to deliver it inside a story. My previous post, Confirmation Biases: More Brain-Based Content Marketing,
explains why. Since most of our "thinking" goes on via our emotional
centers, you're not going to get any connection to your audience by
delivering factual information.
Oh dear, that worn-out cliche comes to mind: "Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care…"
it's true. The neuro-scientists are now proving how communication
happens in our brains. We're hard wired to pay attention to stories.
Our brains respond when we hear what happened to you or to somebody else.
So the trick is to see the "story" in even the
seemingly mundane events in your life. Most of what we do in our daily
lives isn't all that unusual or interesting, so how do you make it so?
it really needs to be relevant to your topic or product or services.
The obvious stories are easy. Somebody asks you a question about how to
do "xyz", and you explain how easy it is when they use your product.
friend Jill, with whom I often play ladies doubles, has a photo tour
business. She takes tourists for photo shoots around Lake Chapala, here
in Mexico. When she asks me "What's Twitter, and should I be using it?" I've got a great story to blog about (tomorrow).
challenge is in seeing the minute details of everyday life and turning
them into a story for content marketing. Dog and cat lovers do this.
Parents do this. You should be doing this, I should be doing this more.
still working on this. But the more I think about it, the more I
observe people like Tall Eric reminisce and tell stories, the more I'm
convinced it's a mindset that can be acquired and practiced.
If you're interested in learning more about the importance of stories, I recommend reading "The Secret Language of Leadership"
by Stephen Denning (Jossey-Bass, 2007). Not only does Denning
eloquently explain why stories are so important for getting people to
take action, it is well-illustrated with good stories that make his
He uses the example of Al Gore: how the Al Gore of the
2004 political campaign was so different from the Al Gore of the Global
Warming film, An Inconvenient Truth, in 2006. It's a good read, and a great example of how to use stories to make your point.
What do you do to hone your story-teller's mind?