Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

TV commercials might just get me to stop watching

I remember years ago – before iPhones and DVRs, which seems so long ago – when we watched a TV show. The plot was thickening. We were invested in the characters and the storyline. We were watching intently. There was no second screen. Just a first one. And then the commercial break came on as the […]

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We have to know (and remember) our values to live them

Christoph

June 1, 2015

Stories

A few years ago I made the comment to an executive mentor that it’s hard for a certain group of employees to live all of the organization’s values. Before she could chime in, I listed a dozen or so excuses that I’ve heard from this specific group why this is the case. Perhaps some of […]

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The Top 1 Way to Get Started Sharing Authentic Stories

This is a short list. I know. 🙂 I could probably come up with a few more things that people could do to share their authentic stories: Make up their minds to do so. Document them. Share the stories quickly. Come up with a realistic workflow. Come up with a distribution plan. “Content might be king, but […]

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My best Retweets this week came from all of you!

Christoph

May 27, 2015

Social media

You may have seen those Tweets announcing that a number of accounts sent the best Retweets this week… “My best RTs this week came from…” I like interacting, connecting and sharing experiences with people on Twitter. I probably spend more time than I should having conversations on there even. But those “my best RTs” Tweets […]

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Sharing your story from anywhere

Technology is nice because you can basically share your stories from anywhere. I’m thinking about my 10-month-old daughter for example. She can go on Skype and has a video chat with her grandmother who lives in Germany and they share their stories. Granted the 10-month-old is not old enough to actually speak but she is still […]

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Why I (may) Retweet competitors from time to time…

Christoph

May 22, 2015

Social media

This is a controversial topic so I hope many of you clicked on the link. 🙂 Why would I ever acknowledge competitors and – even worse – why would I retweet and share their message for them? Why would I even consider doing this? There are some people and organizations that I would never retweet. […]

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People repeating what you said can be telling – Better listen

Christoph

May 21, 2015

Stories

It may have happened to you: You said something. And then the person you said it to or a person near you repeats what you just said … in a totally different voice and tone. And their voice and tone didn’t sound nearly as pleasant as your own voice sounded in your head. In fact, […]

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Sometimes it’s better to ask clarification before blogging an uniformed opinion

Christoph

May 20, 2015

Stories

I was going to blog about seeing the number of traffic fatalities on those interstate signs in several states across the United States. I’ve seen them in Colorado, Iowa, Texas and maybe others. The signs typically say something along these lines: 89 traffic deaths this year in the state And I was wondering: What does […]

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Why are his emails always written in such a nasty tone?

You’ve probably been there. One person or another’s emails are always written in a snarky, negative or maybe even “I know better than you” kind of tone. Always.  Why can’t that person stop it and start writing in a nicer tone? And then when you ask the writer of those allegedly nasty tone emails, he […]

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I saw a plastic surgeon after losing 100-plus pounds

After losing 100-some pounds, I was convinced that I need to have my stomach stapled or tucked. Looking down at my stomach, I saw skin flapping around – at least from my perspective that’s how it appeared. I wondered what I could do about that and started researching plastic surgeons in Eastern Iowa. Based on […]

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Running without GPS apps is also enjoyable

Even though I love lifting weights much better than cardio, I still head out on runs – especially on the weekend. I’m just a bit competitive so I used to like running with GPS. The app tells me how fast I’m going, how far I’ve gone and other potentially relevant information. I also track my […]

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We can’t copy our authentic stories from others

Christoph

May 14, 2015

Strategies

The decision to share our authentic stories is also a decision to be unique and original. We can’t copy our authentic stories from others. You know how sometimes it can be easy to (over)analyze what our competitors are doing? They are on the latest shiny social media network. So we join – even though we […]

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Producing great content is not the finish line – it’s the starting line

I recently finished Mark Schaefer’s book “The Content Code” and have to say it was a fantastic reminder of the importance of content distribution. Mark reminds us that creating great content is not the finish line but the starting line. If you can’t ignite your content’s distribution, it won’t make any difference how great it is. He […]

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Using big words prompts one question…

What does that mean? True experts will likely not skip a beat and simple explain the word. Sometimes the explanation is still filled with industry jargon, prompting more “What does that mean?” questions. Other people throw around big words that they kind of know the meaning of, but can’t necessarily explain. But the words sound smart. Or […]

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Being transparent holds me accountable

Christoph

May 11, 2015

Strategies

I tweet a lot. Anywhere from 200-400 times per week. Most of my Tweets have something to do with authentic storytelling, content marketing and the process of getting a storytelling strategy going. A sampling from a recent week: There are roles for all. #Peopleskills Channels don’t define our bigger purpose. They help us share it. […]

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A champion leaving can stop a content marketing strategy in its tracks

Content marketing and authentic storytelling strategies are new enough to many organizations that momentum can be lost quickly. Just one person leaving can cause these projects to stop immediately. Organizations sometimes hire or bring people to help with new strategies. These people – let’s call them change agents come in and help organizations tie business goals […]

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Maybe it’s time to retire the phrase “target audience”

Christoph

May 5, 2015

Strategies

As we are targeting audiences, defining target customers and using similar kinds of terms, I wonder if those phrases will withstand the test of time. Targeting somebody brings to mind an image of somebody with a target on their back. We are after you! Now, don’t get me wrong here. A part of authentic storytelling […]

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Healthy Vision Month – My own story

Christoph

May 4, 2015

Stories

May is Healthy Vision Month and I certainly have my own story to share when it comes to bad vision and bad decisions when it comes to eye health. Today, as a 36-year-old, my vision is OK, but not as perfect as it could be had I made some better decisions as a child. When […]

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PODCAST: Human interest stories are great, but only when they are relevant

This brief podcast discusses how easy it is for brands to slip too far into human interest storytelling and forget about sharing the content their audiences are actually looking for.

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Vagueness is never good in storytelling

Christoph

April 30, 2015

Strategies

Technically, I said the right thing. I just didn’t include all the details. And – as I have said before – we don’t have to give all the details, all the time. They slow stories down even. But being vague is hardly ever a good thing. “Being vague is hardly ever a good thing.” – […]

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What the eight-second attention span means to content marketers

Christoph

April 29, 2015

Strategies

People’s attention span is around eight seconds. Eight seconds. It probably took me longer than that to come up with the headline for this article – probably because the task lost my attention. What does that time span mean to content marketers and authentic storytellers? Does it mean content should be short? Consumable in eight […]

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Silence does not mean agreement

Silence does not mean agreement. Only stated agreement means agreement. Why do you think flight attendants make you say “yes” out loud to agree to help when sitting in an exit row? This is important to remember as you kick off your content marketing and authentic storytelling strategy – especially in more traditional organizations. Sharing […]

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Why I turned comments on my blog off!

I used to have comments turned on and every once in a while somebody would leave a comment. People might say that they agreed or liked a post. Yes, some of those were spam, too. Some disagreed. Very little real discussion happened in the comments section – even for the articles that had them. My […]

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Being mobile: What if instant access isn’t about instant response?

Christoph

April 24, 2015

Stories

Some days my phone is lighting up every few minutes – announcing the arrival of a new email. Let’s see who it’s from. Swipe right to read it in its entirety and respond immediately is often my reaction. It’s a habit. Maybe even an excuse to divert attention from whatever else is going on right that second. […]

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Auto direct messages on Twitter are not always bad

Many people complain about auto direct messages on Twitter and they can be annoying, but when done well they can be very helpful. Here's how.

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PODCAST: The future of journalism and journalist is context and amplification

Christoph

April 20, 2015

Strategies

I spoke to journalism students at the University of Iowa about storytelling and we also discussed the future of journalism – a topic discussed in this podcast. Listen to the podcast below: Audio not playing? Try the transcript below: 

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How will you make your impact?

Christoph

April 17, 2015

Stories, Strategies

Somebody asked me last year: “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” I answered: “However I can make the biggest impact on the most people sharing their authentic stories.” A couple of years ago, I did that at a United Way and helped other nonprofits share their authentic stories. Currently, I do that with hospitals […]

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