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Storytelling in 2015

The Monday after the weekend of the week we had a few days off, which was after the weekend of the week we had a few days off. Is anyone else feeling slightly jetlagged? And also, Happy New Year! I feel like I had just gotten comfortable with 2014, how the four looked at the end of the date on documents and paperwork.  And now it's gone, leaving us all feeling slightly left behind for the first few weeks of this new year. 

But isn't that always the case? Life is moving quickly, and it's easy to feel as though we're always in a constant state of catch-up. In marketing, the desire is to create something meaningful and lasting, one that not only moves our audience to a new way of feeling but also reaches the masses, becomes word of mouth, goes viral. And yet we're in this mindset of 'more more more' when it comes to content, trying to stay consistent and relevant. It's that old rock and the hard place, pitting our good intentions against meaningful, memorable storytelling.

The past few years, last year in particular, there was a shift in marketing to the idea of storytelling. Major brands led the charge, producing such memorable tales as the 'sullen kid is sentimental family member' in Apple's holiday commercial ('Misunderstood'). And if you missed this touching spot for Extra gum, you'll wonder how you could have ever thought of their product as anything other than the bond between a daddy and a daughter. And there isn't one person online who hasn't seen (and wept over) this spot from Budweiser's Super Bowl campaign. Hello more than 54 million views. (By the way, that song is by Passenger, in case you were still calling it the 'Budweiser puppy song' like I have been.)

It's no longer about the product - it's about how the product can play a part in the story of our lives. Since the first campfire, there has been a fascination with a good story. Of who could spin the biggest tale, or bring uneasiness with a scary plot, or move an audience to tears of recognition by relating something so completely, well, relatable.  We want to live these kinds of stories in our own lives - this is what makes storytelling so enticing. We want to be a part of the best stories. And this is where storyteller marketing finds its home.

For 2015, in addition to whatever regular resolutions you annually attempt (you don't really want to give up coffee, do you?), make these resolutions for your business marketing.

·         Be present. If you've set your social media management on auto-shuffle, it's time to rethink what your real intentions are. Sure, you want to stay in the newsfeed, but make your place in line worthy by doing your research, putting in some good planning time, and following through. Put some of your budget toward bigger content pieces that have a higher chance of virility than several smaller pieces combined, i.e. a video campaign or a downloadable guide for your site. Stay aware of what's working, and fix (or nix) the pieces that aren't.

·          Be honest. Your average everyday customer is just that: average. Don't try to portray yourself or your business as a superhero, but as someone that the average customer can find a connection. Everyone has great moments, and these are part of your story too.  But people appreciate the 'hometown' or the humble start-up roots of the big company. Humanizing your story will make it all the more appreciated. 

·         Be original. There can only be so many top ten articles, only so many ways to skin a Grumpy Cat. What's the new way to tell the story? What's the way that no one is telling it yet? The creative medium may reach a limit, but the perspective doesn't have to. Creativity will always win.

“The best time to start content marketing was 5 years ago, the second best time is today.” - Arnie Kuenn

·         Be ahead.  If you're serious about telling the best stories online, you have to accept that this industry is constantly changing and evolving. The online space is still the wild west in some ways, where different groups have different rules (and algorithms), and those that survive do so because of informed intuition. Just think if you'd known ten years ago what you do now. Content marketing great Arnie Kuenn says it best: "The best time to start content marketing was 5 years ago, the second best time is today."  And don't limp in or wait to see what your competitors do. Go all in.

Final resolution? Let 2015 be your year. In your work and at home, in business success, in time with friends and family, or spent on hobbies and the pursuit of your passions.  Make it so that when next year rolls around, you have an incredible story  to tell.


Laura Holloway is the owner and Chief Storyteller of The Storyteller Agency. She lives in Blue Mountain Beach with her husband, James, and their four (yes, four!) dogs - Dexter, Barney, Curdog and Tate. She enjoys driving her Vespa along the Emerald Coast on Highway 30-A, playing music, stand up comedy and improv theatre, yoga, old-fashioned correspondence, travels with friends, classic rock music, trying new recipes using whatever happens to be growing in the garden, and laughing as much as possible everyday. And she loves a good story.

Connect with Laura:  LinkedIn    Twitter   Google+   Facebook

 

 

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What's the Big Idea - Tyler Anderson

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What's the Big Idea - Tyler Anderson

Tyler Anderson is a social media marketing entrepreneur, speaker, and host of the Social Media Social Hour Podcast. Tyler is the founder and CEO of Casual Friday and the creator of Scoreboard Social, a social media reporting and competitive analytics tool for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tyler also is the host/organizer of Social Media Day San Diego.

What's the big idea "and why is it important for companies to have one in order to effectively reach their audience?

The Big Idea is making a commitment to solve the problems of your target audience. With all content marketing efforts, this should really be your focus. What content are you creating that is answering customer questions, helping your customers, or educating your customers? It’s so critical to nail this because if you don’t, you’re just creating noise and distracting from providing solutions to your target audience. When you solve your customers' problems, it’s a win-win. A win for your customer, and a win for your business.  

When you solve your customers’ problems, it’s a win-win. A win for your customer, and a win for your business.
— Tyler Anderson

What, to you, is social media success?

Social media success can obviously vary from business to business. It all comes down to starting out by identifying your goals. From there you can then set a social media strategy that aligns with your overall business goals and objectives. That said, success in social media for a business is a combination between social care and sales. Yes, we want to leverage social media to drive sales, but we also have to remember a lot of our customers are using social media to talk about our products and services already. We also need to be there and respond to them in a timely manner. 

What's the secret formula for making a social post go viral?

There is no secret formula for making a post go viral. Predicting a viral post or video is virtually impossible. That said, if you create content that is entertaining, educational, helpful and solves peoples problems, you’re off to a good start.

Who are your biggest Social Media influencers?

Tough question, there are so many.  I would have to say it all started with Chris Brogan. I first started reading his blog back in 2008 and he is who I really looked to back in the early days of when I started Casual Fridays. Others that have become good friends of mine and that I really respect in the industry would be Mari Smith, Michael Stelzner, Jon Loomer, Mike Gingerich, Ian Cleary, Sue Zimmerman, and Jason Keath. 

In five words or less, what is social media?

People powered content and conversations


Tyler Anderson is a social media marketing entrepreneur, speaker, and host of the Social Media Social Hour Podcast. Tyler is the founder and CEO of Casual Fridays, a social media marketing agencyheadquartered in San Diego, California, with offices in Atlanta, Georgia and New Orleans, Lousiana. Casual Fridays is also the creators of Scoreboard Social, a social media reporting and competitive analytics tool for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tyler also is the host/organizer of Social Media Day San Diego, which was an officially proclaimed day by the city of San Diego in 2012.

Connect with Tyler:@tylerjanderson  

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What's the Big Idea? - Andrew Davis

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What's the Big Idea? - Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis is a best-selling author and busy marketing speaker, and "The Agency Edge," his workshop at CMWorld this year, was nothing short of dynamic, educational and inspirational. 

What's "the big idea "and why is it important for companies to have one in order to effectively reach their audience?
The Big Idea is making a commitment to owning an audience instead of creating campaigns with short lives and rented audiences. When you (and your company) make a commitment to enhancing the lives of a specific audience you serve you end up increasing demand for the products and services you sell.

For example: If I wanted to sell more potatoes and Zucchinis, I'd actually focus on getting more people committed to making vegetables fun. And I'd help sell, promote, and create content about this thing: the Spiralizer... Make sense?

 Andrew Davis was a keynote speaker and workshop leader at this year's Content Marketing World.

Andrew Davis was a keynote speaker and workshop leader at this year's Content Marketing World.

How can companies produce good content without contributing to the content overload that's currently happening online?
The key here is to focus on building relationships with a valuable audience. You want to create content that fits into the information your audience WANTS to consume on a regular basis. You need to create valuable content. Content so good they would pay for it (but don't have to). That means you need to do three things: 

1) You need to treat your content like a product. Brand it. Promote it. Make it unique.

You need to create valuable content. Content so good they would pay for it (but don’t have to).
— Andrew Davis

2) You need to set an expectation with your audience and then deliver on it. How often will you distribute the content? What medium will you use to distribute that content? What time of the day will they consume the content.

And 3) You need to invite them to subscribe. You want to build an ever-growing audience with a low opt-out rate. 

If you do these three things you'll build trust with your audience. Trust builds relationships and relationships drive revenue. 

What does 'brand' mean to you, and why is it important for even small businesses to think of themselves as brands?
To me, a brand is an indelible mark in my mind when I think of a specific need. I think in today's content-saturated world it's more important than ever to think of yourself as owning a piece of your consumer's mind for three reasons: 

 http://www.brandscapingbook.com/

http://www.brandscapingbook.com/

1) As soon as a need is triggered in the mind of the consumer, you want your brand to be the answer. That means you need to have a relationship with your audience BEFORE they need you, or even SO they need you.

2) In today's online universe your brand is the sum of the employees, partners, vendors, clients, and customers your serve - because everyone has an audience. Which means, the more consistent you are in communicating how you add value to their lives the more business you'll win.

And 3) Creating content brands (or treating your content like a product) enables you to turn your marketing expenses into assets. They open up new business opportunities and partnerships never-before-possible.  What indelible imprint are you making on the minds of the customers you serve? 

Who are your biggest Content Marketing influencers?
Whoa... I'd say Jay Baer, Robert Rose, Joe Pulizzi, Ann Handley and Julie Fleischer (Kraft). 

In five words or less, what is Content Marketing?
Leveraging stories that inspire action.

Andrew Davis is a marketing speaker and the best-selling author of Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships. A co-founder of Tippingpoint Labs (a digital marketing and advertising agency), he also acted as Chief Strategy Office for 10 years before selling the company and forging ahead as a full-time author and speaker. His marketing work has been tapped by Fortune 500 brands for its creative and innovative style.

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