Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Marketing and communications: Why sharing your strategy is not a weakness 

A visit to a childrens’ place reminded me that it’s quite OK to share our strategies with others. Just because others know our strategies doesn’t mean that they can actually implement them or even want to.

But yet I often still see the attitude and mindset by marketers and communicators that their strategy needs to be highly confidential. It needs to be so because if I let others know what it is they might do it themselves, they think. Might! 

Of course, there is some competitive advantage if our competitors don’t know what our strategy is exactly. But given that marketing and communications is so public to begin with, you don’t need a rocket scientist to figure out other people’s strategies. Just look at what and how they publicly communicate. It’s really easy enough to figure out.

On the children’s place visit they had a station where children could leave family strategies for others. In fact they were encouraged to leave a strategy that their family does and take somebody else’s to implement later on.

 And just because one family uses another family’s strategies does not take away from that first family and their successes, or depending on the strategy, their  unsuccessful implementation.

If somebody else implements our strategy better that’s something we can learn from too.

The key to remember is that just because one family shares a strategy with another family, doesn’t mean that that other family can actually implement that strategy. Maybe it’s not the right strategy for them. Though some strategies are pretty much universally usable, maybe we should even call them common sense and best practices.

For example, that child’s note up top that they use the words in their family is really a best practice or should be a best practice for all families.  

It’s the same in marketing and communications. I continuously tell people that they need to share more unique stories and content to set themselves apart. I even often share how to do it. But that doesn’t mean that everybody can implement it just by knowing the basics. It even took me a few years to learn. Some say I went to college for it – studying journalism at the University of Iowa. 

And for some industries the rules are slightly different. They need to use slightly adapted strategies and and cannot do exactly what another industry does. For example, when I work with highly regulated industries. They have to do different documenting of communication strategies and implementations then industries that are not as highly regulated.

But they’re always tips and tricks (dare I call it growth hacking?) to improve implementations. And why not share those little tips and tricks with each other? And then in today’s world where many people are blogging about all kinds of topics, which is especially pronounced in marketing and communications, chances are somebody will likely already have blogged about the topic anyways. And that establishes people as the experts. And experts get hired. It could be you. 

So hiding things is  really not a true differentiator. Share them, build on them and implement better.

And some shared strategies are really just reminders or motivators. Reading that note from an nine-year-old might remind people to be nicer to each other and work through problems civilly.

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Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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