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.
SERIOUSLY … NO STORY?
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.
NO STORY – NO GAME
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.
PRINT & DISTRIBUTE YOUR OWN CURRENCY … LEGALLY
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.
CHUNKS AND CHUNKS OF CONTENT CHUNKS
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 …
Your title or subject line must capture the reader’s attention in one second to EARN the right to …
… 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 …
… 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.
DEATH, DESTRUCTION & A GOOD BOILING IN OIL
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.
DESTRUCT AND DESTROY!
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.
HELP ME OUT?
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.
FROM ANOTHER PLANET?
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 …
BEST OF THE BEST STORYTELLING STORY-SELLING SOURCES
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 …..
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.
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.
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 out “A Simple Timeless Tale: Lessons Learned from Legendary Hollywood Guru Robert McKee.”
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.
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.