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Storytelling Story-Selling Super Sources

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By Steve Kayser

Storytelling story-selling content is the new advertising, marketing & PR.

It’s a harsh new reality all businesses and employees have to face. You can still shell out tons of dough for advertising, marketing and PR campaigns and get retro-returns on your dollar, or you can do what people resonate with – story-selling by storytelling.


Have you ever heard this?

“We have great products with amazing features – but no story.

We rock. We smoke. We’re the greatest. Features, functions, speeds and feeds. That’s us. Rock on Dude and Dudettes!

But no story.


You got no story. You got no game. You got no game – you got no business. (One of the best things about publishing your own stuff is you can riff horridly constructed anti-prose with non-grammatical grammar and get away with it.)


Whatever business you’re in you have a story. If it’s a good story it informs, educates, entertains and helps people down a path to find a solution to the problem they have.

The trip down the path is your story.

Your story is littered with adversity, obstacles, problems, helpy-helpers, wise sages, pitfalls and pratfalls (always emphasize your own pratfalls; it’s an endearing quality – exposing yourself to ridicule and humiliation. Makes you human. Authentic. If you don’t win the business you still might make some new friends.) and eventually, when you get to the end of the path, you will successfully solve their problem and deliver a solution. That solution is their payoff, and your profit.


Well, not so much print – but create. Print is so Gutenberg. The truth is that your business success, whatever business you’re in, hinges on your ability to create remarkable content. Remarkable problem-solving stories. But no matter how great or remarkable your story may be, it still has to be discovered or found first.


I’m throwing out another formula here.

1-10-1 (soon to, in a parallel universe, be inversely parallel to E=Mc2 famous-osity)

What the “H” does that mean? Pretty simple actually. No matter how great your story, your product, your Grandma’s peanut-butter jalapeno sardine & anchovy cupcakes are, people have to discover it before it receives rightful recognition. To do that you have to EARN the readers attention. And that’s hard now. There are over 1.5 trillion URLS being searched every day by Google and over one million new blog posts published every day. Content speeds by at supraluminal (yes, it’s a real word) speed. So, an Einsteinian luminosity of equational (probably not a real word) simplicity is called for. A new light-bending equation of content creation …


1 Second:

Your title or subject line must capture the reader’s attention in one second to EARN the right to …

10 Seconds 

… more of their time. In that 10 seconds, you have to intrigue, pique or totally discombobulate the reader into believing you are trying to share helpful, unique, specific information. If you do that you EARN the right to …

1 Minute

… of their precious mind-time. In that minute you have to share ideas, information, insights and information that might make a real difference in their life of business or business of life. If you do that you’re on the right path … the  P4 path. (that alliteration isn’t  path-etic is it?)

Think chunks of content. Easy-to-read,  easy-to-digest chunks of content … like Grandma’s peanut-butter jalapeno sardine & anchovy cupcakes. One second chunks. Ten second chunks. One minute chunks. Now, for more good stuff ahead.


Now, here’s the part where I try to share information that will make a difference for you – no matter what business you’re in. When you start creating your own currency of content it can, inadvertently lead to a …


If your company doesn’t have the ability to create and publish helpful, unique content, it won’t survive long. It’s a punishing reality. Losers get the death penalty. People are searching for answers to their problems, which your company may have the answer for, and people are willing to pay for won’t find you. The only way to fight that is to kill all…


Corporate gobbledygook. Using “words drained of all meaning,” ( I heard Steve Wynn use that in a speech once – I cribbed it from him). Absolutus vomitus eruptus words … like seamlessly integrated, world’s leading provider, etc. For an in-depth list of torridly horrid, fatuously flatulent, superbly superfluous corporate gobbledygook check out my Bio.  I think I used all of them.


The kind of communications (written or spoken) that you’d rather be boiled in oil or burned alive before having to read, listen to or try to comprehend. Wherever possible, weed out as much dreck and anesthetic corporate gobbledygook as you can. Some will always slip by, like an invisible virus to infect your site. But do your best to fight the good fight.


It takes discipline, rigorous creativity (yes I said rigorous creativity) and is a demanding job to consistently create, write and publish quality content. I don’t care who you are. Write and re-write. Cut, destroy, destruct, boil in oil. I’m not particularly good at it. But I’ve written with, interviewed and know many that are.


The list below is where I’d start if I were new, struggling, a grizzled veteran or had recently arrived from another planet and was trying to create my own storytelling story-selling currency. They’re the …


1. War of Art – by Steven Pressfield – (@spressfield on Twitter)

Read the book. Absorb it. Do it. Keep it by your side. Travel with it. It’s the Bible of attitude, style and grace – in writing and life. A true classic. Like the man himself. And check out“The Power of Resistance: Lessons Learned from Bestselling Author Pressfield,” to get a snapshot of what I’m talking about. Steven’s definition of “Resistance” with an “R” plays a big and attributed role in my next pick which is …..

2. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? – by Seth Godin (@thisissethsblog on Twitter)

Seth’s a bestselling author for a reason. Simplicity and clarity are hallmarks of his writing style. Great thinking is his art. I’ve read all his books. I’ve been waiting for him to write the “Purple Donkey” book, but I guess he hasn’t got around to it yet. When he does it’ll be his “Tour de Force.” Anyway, his book “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable,” is the new employment reality. If you’re not a Linchpin person with a Linchpin mindset – you’re either unemployed or about to be. The “report to work and just be present to watch the clock” mentality is no longer the world we live in. You have to be remarkable. In any job you do.

3. The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, – by  David Meerman Scott  (@dmscott on Twitter)

Steven Pressfield & Seth Godin pave the path of attitude, gratitude, and force of spirit. David Meerman Scott walks down that path paving it with real-world case studies and examples of how to turn content into cash. This book is in its second edition and was a BusinessWeek bestseller for six months. I pull it out regularly, just to see where I screwed up.

4.  STORYby Robert McKee

Why this book? Why Robert McKee? Well, he wrote the book on STORY … didn’t he? But it’s a book about screenwriting Steve? No, it’s about STORY. The eloquence, elegance and love of STORY. It’s timely – always. And timeless. For a quick-look read check outA Simple Timeless Tale: Lessons Learned from Legendary Hollywood Guru Robert McKee.”

5. The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells – by Bob Bly

Sure Bob has a great testimonial from David Ogilvy,

“I don’t know a single writer whose work would not be improved by reading this book – including me,”

…but that’s not why this book is a must-have. Bob nails the formulas that help stretch and refresh your mind. He gets it. Writes simple. Sells big. And it’s all about work and process with him. I particularly like his 4 “U’s” for titles. All titles should be Useful, Unique, Urgent, and Ultra-specific. And his “38 Great Ideas for Your Next Headline,” is something you can pull out anytime your having a mental block. But let me share one really intriguing little-known fact about Bob. He has a flair for eclectic, high-value, high-fashion hat wear.

6. Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki

The back cover of this book should be required reading for authors, writers, marketers, PR professionals and anyone that wants to understand how to draw people into your story with well–written, eloquent simplicity. Pick up the book and read the interview “A REAL Business REALITY CHECK with Bestselling Author Guy Kawasaki.”

Now  … fight the good fight. Explore the path.

Write.  Do it right.

Or try best you can.

There …  I’m done.


“Joy” image courtesy of H.Kopp Delaney from Germany. He’s awesome.


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8 Responses to "Storytelling Story-Selling Super Sources"
  1. Fehret says:

    Good stuff again, Steve!

  2. Dear Steve – Thank you for a very inspiring article. I have to give credit to the social media forces out there like yourself and the folks you have quoted. I am beginning to see how this new gospel for content creation is showing up with big companies (i.e. tonight on the radio I heard a commercial from a local bank. They had a Dr. talking about retirement research and giving tips for retirement in a 3 minute commercial with links back to a webinar blog series and just one sentence at the end offering support for planning your retirement! A BANK!!!!). It kept my interest through the whole thing!

    Your post provides reinforcement that everyone has content that deserves to be delivered and in doing so … you create ‘real estate online’ (I heard that somewhere but can’t remember where). Content attracts people to the neighborhood of their interest. And like David Meerman Scott say… ‘everyday millions of people are going online to find exactly what you are offering’.
    We won’t be found if we have not created a pathway of content.

    So buyer personas, think like a publisher, and get out there and write, write write – these are new things on the self employed ‘to do’ list. Your .. new light-bending equation of content creation …” 1-10-1 rule is awesome. That is a great way to focus effort and I am pasting it on an index card!

    Thanks so much.


    • Steve Kayser says:

      Dear Carolyn – Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment. “I am beginning to see how this new gospel for content creation is showing up with big companies (i.e. tonight on the radio I heard a commercial from a local bank.”

      It does give the small-to-medium size businesses the opportunity to play on the same field and the big public companies. Ideas, Information, Insights, Inspiration is the coin of the realm. Probably always has been but now it’s much easier to create-connect-communicate and publish.

      Once again, Thanks


  3. Yes for story selling. And it’s the combination of pictures and words that brings it all together. I think you’ll enjoy for a fresh way to tell powerful stories. Just launched new video storytelling that weaves words, pictures, story and action.

  4. J.D. Meier says:

    Finally — permission to openly discombobulate people (that word has been stuck in my head forever — I think Bugs Bunny or Pop-Eye stuck it there.)

    I like the 1-10-1 punch, your irrational math, and the Davinci Code (what other secrets have you smuggled in this post, beyond the free prize and secret codes?)

    I’ve got story, I’ve got game, and I’ve got prose that can pack a punch … unfortunately, it doesn’t usually make it to my writing, at least not all at the same time 😉 … it shows up more in email and coffee talk.

    > The trip down the path is your story
    Them’s wise words … and sticky too.

  5. Abby Gilmore says:

    I’m all for story telling content. As we all know content is king, but the nature of the content that people want is changing. I’m seeing much more content that tells a story by use of photos, videos and infographics.

    Also, I believe every person and company has a story thats worthy of sharing! We can all learn from each other.

  6. Steve Kayser says:

    Thanks for the comment Abby. I agree with everything you said. But you just happened to see one of the few stories I’ve ever done without images and videos. Vert measures specializes in content creation?

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