When I attended a roofing conference …

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As part of my current job at Stamats Business Media I attended a roofing conference-an international one even-in New Orleans in 2018 to help the buildings.com team with some of their initiatives.

You might wonder what I know about roofing. And the answer is: not much but I know a lot more now. ??

But I do know a fair amount about storytelling, content gathering and digital audience tactics.

So the conference of course had a ton of stories that were just waiting to be told. Interestingly, the same kind of journalistic techniques journalists around the world have used for many years are being used here.

  • What’s a story worth telling?
  • Why does the audience care?
  • What’s new?
  • What problem does this solve?

As usual I caught myself asking many, many questions-including ones to get further clarification from sources.

Sometimes, of course, people (not at the conference but in general) would claim that asking simple questions shows that the storyteller is not the subject matter expert. But in reality the storytelling expert shouldn’t be the expert at every topic that they tell stories about. They should at least be an expert at the storytelling, gathering and distribution. Of course, being an expert in a field is great too, but experts working with storytelling experts can be a powerful combination.

To use a cliché: I’m a big believer in that there are no dumb questions. The alleged dumb questions actually help us simplify the story for the audience.

For example, one story filed was about cold weather roofing. I immediately asked what problem this solves – aka why anyone would want to roof when it’s cold?

The answer of course is productivity and revenue. When it was cold before some work just couldn’t get done.

Another story was about a new way to use Velcro. That certainly wasn’t something I’ve ever thought about before, but it was certainly interesting to hear about new things – to the market and me.

That’s one thing that’s exciting about journalism and brand journalism actually.

  • You get to learn new things
  • You have to judge their newsworthiness based on the information available to you
  • You get to share this with a larger audiences

Of course, the judging newsworthiness thing can be turned into bias. Why are you covering one thing over another? Some of it should depend on:

  • If it’s something new
  • The relevance to the audience
  • There’s only so much time

These apply in journalism and brand journalism. The additional thing brand journalists (and content marketers) need to remember is what story is most important to their business. Will this story or that one drive more business results? Sometimes that can be a gamble.

Great sources also don’t mind “dumb” or challenging questions. Many sources in conference settings want to get their stories shared as wide and far so they don’t mind questions at all if they bring better stories.

Journalism matters and when done well can be highly educational.

On a not very newsworthy side of things, there’s always time for a selfie ⬇️⬇️ ??