How to Find the Competitive Edge Your Content Marketing Program Needs

How to Find the Competitive Edge Your Content Marketing Program Needs

“This is the future of music,” one of her signs read. Every project must have a video in which the creators explain what they’re doing and why they need help. Businesses Need to Tell Good Stories According to Yahoo Advertising Research, 78 percent of chief marketing officers at big companies think that content—which is to say information, entertainment, and education, that in an ideal world comes in the form of or is a piece of a story—is the future of their job. It’s now commonplace to find “brand content” in our Facebook streams next to pictures of our loved ones and stories from the New York Times. And personal brands are built on the stories we tell and the stories that are told about us. Business’s Storytelling Problem A lot of content marketers talk about the 80/20 rule—that 80 percent of the results you get come from the top 20 percent of content you put out. And how can a business actually get better at it? We told them to build relationships and make people care. We believe those lessons are both fundamental to who we are as people and to the future of business. This is an excerpt from Contently’s new book, The Storytelling Edge: How to Transform Your Business, Stop Screaming Into the Void, and Make People Love You.

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A few years ago, a pale woman with crazy eyebrows and a keytar strapped to her back shot a home video.

Standing on a street corner in Melbourne, Australia, at dusk, she wore a kimono and held up Sharpied signs. One by one, the signs flipped. They explained that the woman had spent the past four years writing songs.

She was a musician. She had parted ways with her record label, which wanted to charge an outrageous amount to produce her next album. She and her bandmates were happy to no longer be with the label, and they had worked hard to create some great new music and art. But they couldn’t finish producing the record on their own. If their new business—independent music—was going to get off the ground, they needed people’s help.

“This is the future of music,” one of her signs read. Another: “I love you.”

Then she posted the video on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.

In 30 days, the video raised $1.2 million—more than 10 times her goal. Nearly 25,000 people preordered the album, bought artwork, or simply donated money. The album and tour became a huge success, and the artist turned her music into a profitable business.

The woman in the kimono was named Amanda Palmer. She changed the game for independent musicians with that campaign. And she didn’t do it by asking for money. She did it by telling her story.

Storytelling Is More Than a Buzzword

Every few minutes, a new buzzword rips through the business world, gets a bunch of blog posts written about it, and ends up in a pile of tired terms next to “synergy.” Today, one of the biggest corporate buzzwords is “storytelling.”

Funny thing is, “storytelling” has been the buzzword off and on since the advent of advertising. It keeps rising to the top of the pile because it’s timeless. Stories have driven human behavior throughout history—for good and for ill.

And in the digital age, businesses, workers, and leaders have more opportunities than ever to stand out, spread their message, and spark change through stories.

Stories are the reason thousands of creators like Amanda Palmer have rallied the support of millions on Kickstarter, and Kickstarter knows this. It doesn’t just allow creators to tell their story; it requires it. Every project must have a video in which the creators explain what they’re doing and why they need help.

As Internet, mobile messaging, and sharing tools transform our lives, storytelling is becoming an essential skill in any job. As we spend more and more time consuming information by the streamful, storytelling is a core skill that every business—and individual—will need to master.

Unfortunately, in the era of PowerPoints and status updates, many of us have forgotten how to tell a good story.

Businesses Need to Tell Good Stories

According to Yahoo Advertising Research, 78 percent of chief marketing officers at big companies…

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