Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Vault Startup School: Living Authentically and Publicly

I was invited to talk about digital branding and authentic storytelling at the weekly startup school luncheon in Iowa’s Creative Corridor. You can find the overview notes and my slides below. Overview from Have lunch with Christoph Trappe at Vault on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, to hear his latest insights from his new digital branding projectfocused on […]

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Questions for story development: Specificity helps identify stories

Asking yourself – or somebody else – a specific question can help you come up with a story idea. Stories help us tell organizations’ and brands’ stories. Stories, in turn, help us connect with people who care about what we do and can increase customer bases. Why do I need a story in the first […]

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Blogging Topics: Selfie YouTube Videos Share Knowledge


March 5, 2014


Dave Langston started posting short selfie YouTube videos when he started working on home improvement projects. The short videos show him talking to his phone while he shares something he has learned and thinks is worth sharing with a wider audience. Question: What prompted you to start the selfie videos? Dave: Well you know what they say, […]

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Timing of messages important

The timing of the Cedar Rapids Curling Club’s billboard was excellent in February 2014. The organization ran this billboard in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as the Winter Olympics were happening in Sochi, Russia. U.S. television viewers were shown many hours of live coverage of curling competitions. I know I was aware of them going on. Sometimes […]

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We want structure, but creativity and stories sometimes happen in an unstructured manner


February 17, 2014

Creativity, Strategies

Some of you want structure. Structure for everything. To create something new, we need to have a process. Step 1 at this time. Then Step 2. Step 3. This meeting only has a minute left. You know what I mean, right? There’s a reason for structure. Use it! But not everything happens in a structured […]

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What’s the ROI of all this content?

We’ve heard the question, right? What’s the ROI (the return on investment) for creating all of this content? Content marketing should be measurable, right? Every story out the door should bring in $253 per reader. Things on the web are easy to measure. So, what’s the ROI? Some people have Tweeted, blogged and Facebooked responses like […]

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Blogging Topics: Finding your blogging passion – align it with audience interest

Everyone can start a blog. Go to, sign up, start writing. Ta-da, you are now a blogger. But what are you going to write about that others actually want to read? What’s your blogging passion and does it align with something others are actually interested in reading about? Of course, every site starts with […]

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Blogging: Where to write that first draft … and then what to do with it

The programs where we could write our first draft of that new blog post are endless – from the programs on your Windows or Mac or the various options available for mobile devices and tablets. It’s easy to write it off as a force of habit to write in whatever program we have used for […]

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Five ways to help your organization share its stories


January 23, 2014


Many organizations are talking about sharing their stories to connect with customers, donors or potential connections. Why? Authentic stories are memorable and can build connections. (Tweet this.) Stories that are new, engaging and interesting activate different parts in our brain than mountains of facts do. We can visualize and feel the stories. We typically don’t […]

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Putting taglines or scripts in your own words helps authenticity

Using our own words in our own voice helps authenticity. Here’s an example: I called customer support to get help with a product I was using (and still use) inside my home. The customer service rep who answered had a sense of humor and definitely did not stick with the company script. Now, that can […]

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Scheduling content on blogs, social media and other channels without driving yourself crazy

Audiences on social media networks, your blogs and other channels all appreciate meaningful, timely and relevant content. Some communication strategists have said that all channels should get unique content, but with the number of channels, we’ve found that this isn’t the most effective strategy. For smaller organizations it would be nearly impossible. We are advocates […]

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Blogging Topics: Gardening, local food and the environment

Finding the best fitting blogging topics for yourself, your organization or business is one of the first step in building your audience and sharing relevant content on a continuous basis. From time to time we would like to share stories of those who have picked their blogging topic end Heber started sharing content and stories. […]

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WORDS MATTER: Words to avoid online and how to share an authentic story

As storytelling and authenticity in public communications becomes more and more important for companies I keep stumbling across words that just don’t seem to work anymore – if they ever did. There are definitely words to avoid online. At least when blogging or writing on behalf of a brand. Let’s start with some items that […]

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