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I just read some of the most popular blog posts on content marketing.

It seems that we all agree that good content should be Findable, Readable, Understandable, Actionable and Shareable.

So that’s it? Well, not in the least.

And by now you’re thinking “Okay Raf, get to the point!”

My point? Many companies have no clue what the difference is between good content and boring content. I would go even further. Many organizations are not even aware that their message has lost all connection with their audience.

At least that is my experience after four years of accompanying organizations, brands and their leaders in their communication efforts. Many seem to excel at finding ways to render their content marketing completely pointless. You can follow as many checklists and steps as you want, but without engaging content that makes your audience stick like superglue, your content marketing is doomed.

The strange thing with all this is that the solution is so obvious: stories and storytelling.

Stories are how we convey our deepest emotions and talk about the things we value the most. Everyone has a story to tell. I believe stories are the most effective vehicle to drive the heart of a message to the heart of an audience. And exploring these stories should be at the core of every organizations’ content marketing strategy.

In my book ‘No Story, No Fans’, Mitch Joel (President of Twist Image and Author of Six Pixels of Separation) puts it like this: “Stories captivate people’s attention. It happens when it comes to The Bible and it happens when it comes to Star Wars.” So true.

Now let me ask you this: Do you think that you or your business is in touch with its own stories?

Do you need to reinvent your story to connect it with a hyper-connected world? Do you need to put the story back in your storytelling? I believe you do if you have trouble answering any of the following questions:

• What is the story that really defines you?

• In which way is your story emotionally engaging to your audience?

• How does your story connect with the existing culture of your organization?

• Can your audiences retell your story?

• In what ways do they trust your story and act upon it?

In my next blog post I’ll try to bring some of my trials and errors -and my own storytelling experiences- together in one simple storytelling principle. Following this principle will lead you from deadly boring content that nobody is interested in to highly engaging stories that connect with your audience.

Believe me, I know how challenging it can be to produce smart, highly targeted and truly innovative stories. But I also believe companies today would be able to connect better with their audiences if they would start using stories as little gifts to the community. If they would start to use these gifts as a means to reconnect with their audiences and regain trust. Making your content little gifts is (or has to become) the new “business as usual”. I like to call it “the New Trade”.

And this brings me to my key storytelling principle for you:

Only use content that can be regarded as a little gift to your community.

Here is a company that has been following my 1 simple story principle and succeeds big time in connecting with their audience on an emotional level. For Patagonia (an outdoor clothing company) environmental documentarian Bridget Besaw travels to Chile to this beautiful story of the rugged people living in an area that would be changed forever by five proposed dams on the Baker and Pascua Rivers.

(In my next blog post I will explain the concept of “gift” a little more. And show you how your organization can use this principle in catching, creating and connecting your story.)


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