Don’t let too much process kill the storytelling

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processesPeople have asked me for processes on how to share authentic stories, how to “allow” people to share stories and how to blog.

And certainly I can share processes. Sometimes they help and are sustainable – as long as somebody manages them usually.

Sometimes processes can be overthought and are a holdover from the Industrial Age. The process to share authentic stories is actually quite simple:

  • Spot story
  • Document story
  • Get feedback from stakeholders
  • Publish
  • Promote

The getting feedback part can be the bottleneck. People sometimes  want to approve a message instead of fact-checking an authentic story.

“This is not our marketing message.”

That’s because it’s not a traditional marketing message.

Process can be helpful – especially in projects that repeat the exact same tasks over and over and over. Some of that works in authentic storytelling and content marketing, too.

  • Posting to social media is a process once updates have been crafted. Once the process has been taught the mechanics are quite simple.
  • Posting to the website, too.
  • Who needs to review it before it’s allowed to publish.

Really, though, even the best process doesn’t assure that people actually spot the stories that are worth sharing. It takes conscious effort and deliberate attention to spot stories. Having a step in a process won’t necessarily get that done. 

A process can be helpful but it can also hinder and slow down true authentic storytelling.  And authentic stories don’t really need to get approved. They are or they aren’t. When they aren’t in line with organizational beliefs it’s not the story’s fault. 

When leaders empower, enable and lead the way, people connected to the brand will want to share stories publicly. Most of them are usually positive. And since we aren’t perfect, perhaps it’s OK, to have some less than positive stories out there from time to time. It will appeal to our core communities (aka target audiences.)