Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

BOOK REVIEW: “Adversaries into Allies” A Good Read for Storytellers, Content Marketers

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Bob Burg’s Adversaries into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion is an insightful read that I would suggest to storytellers, content marketers and others who interact with people in situations that can potentially be less than positive.

Mr. Burg does a masterful job explaining how all of us live our lives and see things around us based on our personal beliefs. Most of us don’t know we are doing this. With that in mind, storytellers – journalists, brand journalists, anyone who interviews people to produce something to be published – can learn in “Adversaries into Allies” how our own belief systems can impact how we see things. Understanding our and other people’s beliefs systems can help us gather and tell better stories. Our audiences and the people we interview will appreciate it.

Mr. Burg discusses how belief systems clash, and how we often don’t even know they are clashing. We just feel the stress of conflict. He gives simple examples to bring this point home:

Two people discussed whether or not a house was near the ocean. The home, seven miles from the ocean, was near the ocean by the Midwesterner’s definition. But that didn’t hold up to the definition of near the ocean of the person who lived two blocks from the ocean.

The key to clashing belief systems – and this is important to people gathering content through interviews of others – is to spot potential discrepancies and ask follow-up questions. “What do you mean by ‘near the ocean’?”

Mr. Burg also talks about setting the frame for situations. For example, the two-year-old who falls, but is OK, looks at his parents to see if this is a bad or OK situation. If they laugh, he laughs. If they are panicked, he’ll probably cry. It’s about setting the frame for the situation, Mr. Burg says.

This also applies to all of us interviewers and how we frame interviews.

“You don’t want to be interviewed for this story that we will publish on 18 channels, including in the newspaper, on TV and 8 websites. Right?”

Their answer is probably no.

Perhaps this is a better way to frame it:

“Thank you for agreeing to participate in this important interview. We have found that our readers react very positively to real-people stories. Thank you so much.” Then explain the process.

People are more likely to see the importance of their story and will participate.

Mr. Burg’s book isn’t necessarily written for only storytellers and content marketers, but most parts of it apply to these groups and I would recommend it.

Click here to get your copy on Amazon now.


Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph ctrappe@christophtrappe.com 319-389-9853

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