Social Media: If Content Is King, Then Storytelling Is Queen. 18 Checkpoints To Consider.

In my previous post, I touched on content marketing and I  emphasized throughout the post the importance of quality content. But what does that mean? If content is king, surely storytelling must be queen! What do I mean by this? I think storytelling is an important part of blogging. I have read many blogs, articles and as I step back to reflect on those that I would consider to be the cream of the crop, I can identify three components to online storytelling. Furthermore, each component has 6 key checkpoints. The three components are:

  • The Story  - the actual content and substance of the blog;
  • The Goals – as it relates to the post and  what you are trying to achieve with the audience; and
  • The Delivery- how the  content is conveyed.
Now lets look at the six checkpoints of each component.

The Story

  1. The Audience. Know your audience. As always, storytelling starts with your audience and knowing how  to relate to them and how to get their interest.
  2. The Message. Have a clear and focused message. For each post, be very clear on the purpose and/or  the questions you will be answering. The audience needs to understand the point you are trying to make.
  3. Relevant Information. Have relevant and interesting information. Today our attention span is  so short and shorter still on-line. Consequently your content must be relevant, interesting and of value. You must have a hook or you will quickly loose your audience.
  4. Research. Do your homework and research your topic. I think this goes without saying. It does not have to be a lengthy ordeal  however you do need to know what is out there to ensure that you are current and have the ability to bridge your thinking. Your storytelling is truly a balance between the art and science of blogging.
  5. Personal Experience. Whenever and wherever possible, draw from your personal experience and make it personal for your audience. It is your blog; your story to tell, put your stamp on it.
  6. The Journey. With every post you are taking your audience on a journey with your story. Think through that journey. The journey should have a natural flow and rhythm with continuous bait as you weave your message throughout the journey, enticing your audience to follow you to the end of your post.

The Goals

There may be a number of goals that you are trying to achieve with your post. Keeping those goals in mind will help with structuring your message and consequently  your delivery. The goals are usually all, or some, of the following:

  1. Connect. It is definitely important to connect with the audience; your story needs to be compelling to ensure that they stay with you.
  2. Educate. Education is often a key goal, providing valuable knowledge for  your audience
  3. Resonate. The message of your post needs to “speak” to your audience in such a way that they can internalize it. This is a key goal for many bloggers.
  4. Inspire. I think we all hope we will engage our audience that will move them to act, and ultimately to inspire them. With inspiration comes support and endorsement.
  5. Trust. The next two checkpoints are on-going goals of building trust and respect.
  6. Respect.

The Delivery

The delivery is just as important as the story itself.

You may have a great story, however a lousy delivery will not bring your story or points to life. So after writing your post, consider the following checkpoints or questions:

  1. Is it Natural? Remember you are taking your audience on a journey and the way you lead them must feel so natural that they follow along with ease. Do not over complicate your message. Find your voice. Keep it simple. Speak with the individual. It is a conversation.
  2. Is it Authentic?  This is a build on being natural. Here, you are  building credibility. This is probably one of the most important checkpoints of storytelling. Authenticity is critical for success.
  3. Is it Confident? Does your post read with confidence? No one follows a leader who is not confident.The same is true for storytelling. 
  4. Is it Passionate? There is nothing more infectious than the energy that is extruded when a person speaks or writes with passion. Find your passion and write about it. It will steer you in the right direction.
  5. Is it Engaging? Does your post stimulate the senses? Do you have a mixture of formats? It is important  to capture the variety of preferred styles in your audience. Mix it up! Pictures, text, videos.
  6. Is it Entertaining? Lastly, is there an opportunity to include a little humor? Make sure you have a pulse on your audience, and choose your humor wisely. Humor can go a long way.
Now it is your turn! What challenges have you experienced with storytelling?
Complete the poll below and add your comments.
If you liked this post, I would appreciate your endorsement by a “like” or +1 and of course sharing it with your network.
Cheers!
Shirley

Cartoon used with the permission of the Cartoonist.

34 Responses to “Social Media: If Content Is King, Then Storytelling Is Queen. 18 Checkpoints To Consider.”

  1. Shirley

    Thanks so much for your interesting post here. I just wonder how I can keep all these important points in mind when writing a blog post or the story as you say.

    Ultimately, we all have to find our own voice that will attract certain people to read our stories. Hence, we cannot satisfy all people but hopefully those we want to reach out to.

    Karen Dietz blogged about the challenges we face regarding how we define the term story and how we do this for the term quality:

    ==> http://commetrics.com/articles/otherwise-perpetual-re-invention-would-be-the-result-for-social-media-analytics/#comments

    For instance, for me the challenge is to resonate with the audience.
    Accordingly, when I put in a poll like you did above, my challenge is to get people to reply. I have had less than 10 do so within 24 hours even though more than 1200 read the story.
    Did I wonder, yes I surely did. As we all know, trying to do well is one thing – succeeding is a different story.

    What you think?

    • Urs,

      First of all, thank you for visiting and sharing this wonderful perspective which in essence continues this story. I love it when that happens!

      I see 4 points in your response- so I will touch on them accordingly:

      1.How do you remember all the points? First step is to remember the three components namely the content (What), the goals (Why) and the delivery (How). At a minimum if we could do the checkpoints on this high level – I think it is progress in the right direction. If we could then pick our top three for each component…. then I am confident it would yield results. So you have a formula 3×3.
      2. Definitions: Good point! My career started in the sciences- there is a natural progression to the order of things- research data, plan the project, do the experiment, conclude, define (this may occur several times) then implement to the masses. In social media we appear to be doing many of these steps at the same time and not necessarily in a logical order. Seeking a common language is key! I totally agree with this point. However, we are also in a time when instant gratification is not only becoming an expectation but a norm. I think we will get there but it needs to be simple, nimble and agile (transferable)… and we are all trying to get there! :)
      3. Polls: Although I have had many views, I cannot say with any degree of certainty that this equates to the post being read in its entirety to that same level of views. I use the poll to get an insight from my readers/audience and also to provide another means of engagement for those “on the run”.
      4. Succeeding: I think succeeding is a journey whereby ‘doing well” is a necessary step. However many steps are required with an investment of time and determination

      Thanks again!

  2. Superb post!

  3. Very nice Shirley! Great points.

    • Thank you Andrea! Thanks for the visit and taking the time to provide feedback :) It is good to know that you found a few social pearls.

  4. I would like to share Ed Lallo’s Response to this blogpost. Ed is part of my Linkedin Network where I shared this post. With his permission, I have cut and paste here. I thought he shared some valuable insight. Thanks Ed!

    “All communications is storytelling. Shirley you are correct that a company or organization’s needs a platform for their story to be told from their unique perspective – and the new tool for this is the dynamic online newsroom (www.NewsroomInk.com).

    From our earliest memories, “Once Upon a Time” triggers but one neurological response; a story, be it good or be it bad, is about to be told. People have been telling each other stories for centuries. It is the original way to communicate and learn.

    Late in the last century storytelling entered the corporate workplace as a measurable communications tool. It became a way of uniting people behind a company’s strategy and vision; empowering employees to take ownership of change in a way that would generate greater level of commitment and performance.

    Storytelling became “the hot” communication tool to tell the journey of a brand’s change, vision and value. Every business is on a journey, guided by the strategic objectives of the CEO. A creatively crafted story is a powerful tool that connects and aligns stakeholders to that journey. The result is the formation of a powerful and lasting connection.

    With the onset of economic turmoil and downsizing; companies turned to social media such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as their primary communications tools. Storytelling was relegated to a place on a cold back burner.

    The dynamic online newsroom has reignited the storytelling fire. Companies and organizations alike have found a new platform to tell their story the way it should be told. In addition to the traditional written story, the online newsroom allows stories to be told with eye-catching photos, and high definition videos; all instantly deliverable to desktops, laptops, notebooks and smart phones.

    Simplicity is the key to spinning a successful corporate story. Keeping the company story aligned to where the business is headed is requires a well thought out “roadmap.”

    An online newsroom becomes the place customers regularly find the latest stories and information about a company and it’s brand; employees receive a source of information they might not already experience; business partners have an opportunity to learn a company’s story from a new prospective; shareholders receive an information tool on their investment; industry experts have a platform to voice their visions and company executives have a tool to voice their thought leadership. The result is a powerful force for change at every level, closely connecting a company and its leadership with a wide variety of audiences.”

  5. I agree with you, I am new to Twitter and am trying to get my brain around it. Is the aim to get your name on Twitter 250 times in a day? There is no content in 90 % of posts. What happens to the previous day’s posts.

    M. Sc. Pharm. D

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