Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The power of storytelling: Kate Smith tells a tale...

Kate Smith: we grow up with stories
We learn about stories from a very early age. We have learnt that they are fun and engaging and they can teach us about the world. They are a fundamental part of our life.  Stories are now the lifeblood of how we relate and connect as human beings. The best stories are consistent, we can relate to them.

In 1895 John Deere produced The Furrow magazine for farmers in the US. Designed as an educational resource to enable farmers to be better. It was engaging, it resonated with the audience. The content wasn't about their products. It was about great content that was useful and relevant. They are still going today, but probably more in digital formats now!

Stories need to evolve, unfold, iterate to take us from A to B. It is harder for people to make decisions as we are bombarded by media. Creating content should help as it makes making those decisions easier through that process.

Prostate Cancer UK developed a content marketing strategy to engage with their target audience of men, who are notoriously hard to get to acknowledge the illness. They worked with footballers and pundits to reach fans. They made the campaign personal to help people engage with it.

American Express set up a small business forum that provides advice and support for small businesses. 99% of content has nothing to do with that content. They employ experts in the areas they are writing in. they have found that applications through that medium are the same as any other advertising campaign. It works and maintains their credibility.

Successful stories are credible, engage, meaningful, personal. No one says it better than Andrew Stanton (creator of Toy Story) when he spoke about storytelling in this TED talk.

Kate Smith is Associate Marketing Director at Wiley. She spoke at the ALPSP seminar Content Marketing - using your publishing assets?

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