Written by Pinaki Kathiari, originally published on Local Wisdom’s blog, June 6, 2016.
If you are a marketer and creating content is not a part of your tool belt, you might be behind the eight ball. Content creation while telling the real story behind your brand should become an integral part of your strategic marketing initiatives.
With all the buzz around content in 2015, it seems that 2016 is the year of content development and execution. There’s one significant theme that has consistently emerged for us. Content Marketing Director, Amanda Todorovich said it best in a interview with the Content Marketing Institute:
“The focus will be shifting from just creating ‘more’ content to serving the ‘right’ content; especially personalized content.” – Amanda Todorovich, content marketing director, Cleveland Clinic
I took the time to speak with Tara Sollman of Tara Sollman, Design + Storytelling. Tara has spent the last five years focused on helping companies, and speakers across the globe tell their stories. She takes complicated, often hard to understand information and relays it in ways that are entertaining, meaningful, and most importantly, memorable. At Local Wisdom, we look to Tara when we speak or have elaborate presentations.
The audience really does want to hear about you
Storytelling isn’t something new. When PowerPoint came out, we all lost our collective minds, and it became about this dog and pony show. PowerPoint made it easy to breakup your content into slides and point-by-point, slide-by-slide, deliver information. Stories were viewed as a waste of time or a distraction from what “people want actually to hear”. We disagree with this approach. In fact, Tara spends most of her time convincing people that the audience wants to hear about you and that they care about the person you are. Talking about yourself is okay – you have our permission.
The answer to “why?” should be part of your story
Curiosity should be a part of the content creation process. Being insanely curious about how humans tell stories to each other will help you in your creative process. Tara’s best advice for someone new to storytelling is to watch the the Simon Sinek TED talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. Simon talks about the fact if people don’t know why you do what you do, then they don’t care. After knowing why you do what you do; the trick is to figure out how to tell a story that incorporates your “why,.” Most people will stand on stage and say “this is why I do, this what I do,” and people listen to what’s being said, but without having much care about you or the why.
Information overload is a bad idea
The business culture is at a turning point. Stories are undervalued, and there is still a feeling that one needs a huge PowerPoint deck and tons of slides, and we need to overwhelm the audience with information. Tara notes, we live in this world where we have access to so much information. If someone watched a movie trailer, chances are they’ll be curious to see the movie. But if you force them to watch the entire movie, they may not be interested. The key is helping people understand that if you have a good story, your presentation could only be a few slides and the individuals in the room will walk away with a wealth of knowledge.
Everyone should have a process when creating content
Gaining a clear understanding of the content and audience is crucial. The presenter has the responsibility to identify the best way to reach out to the audience and try to garner information relevant to their role. The best way to understand the audience, one must collect content, which can be the most time-consuming part and often the most frustrating part of the creation process. This time is used to get everything out on the table and identifying the best content. Your process can teach someone how to talk about what they do in a much different way.
Garner your inspiration from outside sources
Listening to podcasts such as Fresh Air and watching shows and movies that are interesting from a storytelling perspective are a way to gather outside inspiration. Instead of pointing yourself to things you think you should read, try focusing on where your attention draws you. When RJay Haluko was interviewing at Local Wisdom many years ago, he was asked “Where do you get your design inspiration?” It was actually a trick question and RJay answered best by telling us that he doesn’t go to the Internet, he goes outside and draws inspiration from the real world.
Content marketing is an essential part of one’s toolkit, but telling a good story is even more important.