Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

VIDEO: How helpful marketing teams can find ways to publish stakeholder content

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Most things can be shared in the way of a story that our target audiences care about. When we publish stories that our stakeholders bring to us, that can really help our relationship with them. Oh marketing/communications/whatever department is so helpful. They take pride in us sharing our stories.

And that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have rules of what we’ll publish and what won’t get published on an organization’s behalf. Those rules are helpful, but there are also ways to look for a story that our audience’s will care about. Sometimes, our stakeholders, usually because they aren’t trained storytellers like us, just didn’t frame it in the most audience-centric way. They framed it about themselves:

Come cover my speech.

Hey, I’m speaking.

This day is important to me. Let’s do a blog post on the day.

It happens. Even us marketers do it. All humans do it. Especially when we aren’t actively thinking about not doing it.

When I was a police reporter some 15 years ago, I was told by veteran journalists: “Do some positive stories first. Stories the cops want you to do and that’ll make things a lot easier when you have to write something more negative.”

Of course, as a serious journalist, I couldn’t just write fluff, but there were (and still are) tons of positive stories on the police beat – involving the police – that are worth sharing. We just have to set our mind to it and maybe dig a little deeper. Or maybe find a better channel for distribution.

This video below from my Content Marketing World talk in 2016 discusses the topic a bit more:

In case you can’t view the video, here’s a transcript:

Being helpful is a differentiator. Helping people figure out a way to share whatever their stories are is a differentiator because a lot of people say: “No. I can’t do it. I’ll put you in the queue.”

The trick is that you want to redirect the focus (into something customer centric). I’ll give you a couple of examples:

A machine. You can write about machines but you can’t just say here’s the machine and it does this. Who cares? People actually only care if they actually need that machine. Then you push back. Well, not even push back, but you’ll say: “that’s a great idea. I’ll be happy to help. What is the thing that consumers will care about the most. What will make it the most interesting?” Come up with that. Maybe come up with a trend. If you are literally the first hospital in the United States to use it that’s probably worth writing about. That’s a little self-centered but that’s a trend. if you are getting a machine because you’ve seen more cases in that disease or service line that’s trend. Write about that!

Trends work. Things go up and down. Write about that. Have you seen the newspapers? That’s what they do. Homicides are up. Homicides are down. Here’s why. No matter which way it goes, it’s a story because it’s a trend.

New technology stories are better with people in them

World Voice Day is another example. One client was doing an article on how common it is for people to lose their voices. Speakers, teachers, pastors. It’s actually a real problem. You can lose your voice and you may end up having to get surgery. Some wrote about this day, which really nobody (outside of those healthcare professionals) cares about. But they found a way to make it very consumer focused.

Mariah Obiedzinski: They even invited us back to do a Twitter chat and we got some good engagement from the Twitterverse.

Sometimes it’s also about finding the right channel. Who has been asked to cover presentations for a physician? What is it about? And they want to show you their PowerPoint. They are hardly every worth covering. Hardly ever, but you know what’s easy to do: Slideshare. We don’t have the staff to cover it, but we could put you PowerPoint on Slideshare.

A World Voice Day Twitter chat summary

What’s Slideshare?


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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