Simple because our answers are almost always right in front of us. More complex because our answers are almost always right in front of us. Working on Curation Revolution this morning I stumbled on a great Inc. article.
Your Story Is Your Marketing Strategy
Companies are always trying to create the perfect marketing tools--tools that will make brand history, generate buzz for products, and earn those products an unshakable spot in customer's lives. Large companies have the luxury of throwing thousands of advertising dollars into marketing budgets, but small companies rarely can. I have found that the most powerful marketing device a small company can develop is its story.I've worked for big companies and small. They share, to more or less degrees, a common human tendency to believe in things "out there" while walking by meaning and value "in here". Attending Content Marketing World last year I heard a common refrain. "No one cares about HVAC," one frustrated attendee shared, "it's boring."
Hemingway famously bet a drink on his ability to spontaneously tell a story in six words. His fellow writers built a pot of money sure they finally had Papa. Surely he was too drunk and too arrogant to actually win the bet. Here is the story Hemingway wrote on a soiled napkin,
Baby Shoes, Hardly Used, For SaleIf Hemingway can create a universe in six words, there is a story in HVAC. There is a story in plumbing. There is a story in any and every thing. Here are Martin's Story Creation Tips to find those "in here" moments to define and distinguish your business:
- Ask Your Customers Their Story About You
Bet someone without HVAC in North Carolina in August doesn't think of it as boring or nonessential (lol). When in doubt get your customers to share that and their stories. Customers may have a passion for your business you don't know about, a passion that can help you see the magic in something you do each day.
- Write Something Daily
Writers know writing is like riding a bicycle. You always will know how to do it, but the more you write the easier it is. Internet marketing is also about more and more, faster and faster, better and better. The amount of content you create determines the size of the net you cast and so the number of fish you catch. I write something every single day. Is everything I write GREAT or life altering? Not be a long shot, but I come from the "great" as a function of hard work school. Perspiration is often the best form of inspiration.
- Get Over The Who Am I Factor
I had a coworker say to me once, "Who am I to comment, who am I to say?" I understand this lack of confidence on one level. We all doubt ourselves most and always. As much as I was shocked and amazed at such a statement I had to remember something. I practice, practice and practice some more so my confidence comes from sweat equity. If you don't ride a bicycle everyday you can be intimidated by the idea of getting back in traffic. Don't be intimidated since the only sin in Internet marketing is to do nothing. Doing nothing is the only time things can only get worse since Internet marketing has a natural decay (much like life LOL). Engagement and practice, practice and more practice is what keeps Internet marketing alive, what keeps your story flowing downstream to your customers' friends and friends of friends.
- Ask Employees To Share Their Stories
Always amazes me how companies overlook the people in their house. When I worked at M&M/Mars we would bring in very expensive consultants to do one thing - tell employee stories to management. Goofystupid, expensive and hopefully not still happening. Instead of paying anyone from outside your company's house challenge your employees to tell their stories. No matter what you get from this exercise it will be more authentic, more real and honest than anything "out there". BTW, we live in a time of open honesty, in a time of stories. Challenge your employees to share theirs and you will be astonished at the depth, focus, talent and art sitting next to you every single day.
- Create a Contest or a Game and use Gamification
If you missed my White Paper on Gamification you can trade me a tweet for it:
Martin's Gamification White Paper on Atlantic BT
Gamification cover the mechanics of keeping people engaged and excited, but you can create a contest without a leader board or constant feedback loops. Some might be afraid to create a story contest thinking bad things may come up. This logic always makes me laugh. I'm an Internet marketer who used to manage and market big brands. Brands and perception isn't yours. Brands and perceptions are theirs, the mob, the crowd the living organism that is the web. Your job is to understand, summarize and quote back as much of what is "out there" as you can push, stuff and capture "in here". The more aligned your company is to the stories your customers tell, good and bad, the more chances you have to survive and thrive. We live in a time of stories, good and bad, and, as an Internet marketer, I always want any story about me on properties I own (or those I rent such as Facebook). Yes you should have a strategy about what kind of story and interaction you want where, but you want it all. You want the good, bad and ugly of your brand, company and products. REWARD and don't disparage those who bring any story to you at any time since they are part of the magic 1:10:89 rule.
Tell To Win by Guber (great book from the Hollywood producer with tips up front and great stories throughout.
Story by McKee - read this book and you never watch a movie again the same and you understand the structure of great stories.
Hero With Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell - heroes, myths and villains are key to great stories and Campbell knows them all personally and throughout time.
Made To Stick by Heath Brothers - online stories are different, they must crate "memes" and move around. This is the best book to read to understand how to make an idea become a story that moves around, that gets Tweeted, LIKED and shared.
Martin's SEO Writing Tips - don't know what a "stop" word is? Read my tips to convert great offline stories to winning Internet copy.
**** Don't forget to share your great story creating tips and I will ad them in. Also, if you have great books, blogs or resources share those always (lol).