Storytelling and Content Marketing: 3 Benefits of Turning Your Content Marketing into Stories

storytelling - once upon a timeOnce upon a time, an entrepreneur faced 3 challenges. …

February 26 was “Tell a Fairy Tale Day” so I wanted to share some ideas about how – and WHY – to turn your content marketing into fairy tales or other classic stories.

We are all familiar with “Once upon a time.”  Those words immediately let us know that a story is about to begin.

That’s a very positive feeling, associated with all those times that our parents, grandparents, older siblings, babysitters, and teachers read stories to us.

Even as adults, when a story begins, we relax and prepare to be entertained.

Our brains love to feel familiar with whatever information we encounter! 

Whenever we’re learning new concepts, complex or abstract ideas, or information that is challenging or threatening to us in some way, it is especially important to create a feeling of familiarity, safety, and comfort.

content marketing storytellingThis is one good reason to use a classic story structure in your content to help your audience be more receptive to your message by framing it as a story.

If the information you’re offering your audience implies any kind of change they need to make in order to solve their problem, then they will likely have some resistance to your message.

Stories help to reduce resistance.

We stop worrying about whether the speaker or presenter is going to try and sell us something and instead we just allow ourselves to get absorbed in listening to, watching, or reading the story.

As audience members, when we enter a kind of “story listening trance” where we also become less critical of the speaker, presenter or author. We are less quick to disagree with something they tell us and more willing to consider that there might be some validity to the new ideas they are sharing with us.

Think about the experience of watching a movie in a theater or on television.  If you really get wrapped up in the story, aren’t you more likely to overlook any discrepancies in the plot or in the setting, scenery, or costumes?  We sometimes refer to this as “suspension of disbelief” and it happens because of the story listening trance.

Stories are also the best way to learn almost anything. 

storytelling increases learningThis should be no surprise since, for thousands of years, oral storytelling was the main method of passing information from one generation to the next.  Stories help our brains to process information and to retain it – much more than factual information!

Scientists speculate that this storytelling advantage may be part of the reason that human beings were able to survive and thrive.  We are the only animals capable of telling stories, which helps us to learn important lessons from others without needing to experience that learning for ourselves.

Think about the huge benefits in learning from someone else’s story — without needing to experience first hand the dangers they encountered or the difficult challenges they faced.

Fairy Tales for Content Marketing

While we sometimes think of fairy tales as being children’s stories, many fairy tales were originally dark and even violent stories told around the hearth or in taverns — before Disney sanitized them for PG viewers.

Because of that dark under-current (which we’re all aware of, even if it’s only at a subconscious level), fairy tales can provide a useful structure for content marketing stories that address a major problem your clients and prospects want to solve.

Some of the common script or content formulas call for agitating that problem first – helping your audience really get in touch with the pain or fear or other dark emotions associated with that problem – before beginning to talk about the solution you have to offer.

The quest or challenge is a common element in so many fairy tales.  This can also be used in content marketing stories, either to acknowledge the struggle your prospects have already been facing or to help them see the challenges they may have ahead of them as they implement your solution to their problem.

fairy tales process dark emotions

Next Steps

Story content can be much more engaging and attractive to your clients and prospects.  This can help your content to stand out in the flood of free but boring, dry, factual content on the internet.

So how can you actually turn your informative blog post, article, or e-book into a story?  I’ll be sharing more ideas about this over the next several weeks – here on my blog, as well as in video, slideshow, infographics, and social media posts.

Plus I will introduce one approach in my training hangout on Creative Marketing TV on March 5th when I kick-off my celebration of “March Multipurposing Madness.” Learn more on the Google+ Event page.

To learn more about turning your content marketing into stories, click here to sign up for my free email course.  Each lesson of this course, “Taming the Content Marketing Dragon,” will teach you a concept (written in the email and sometimes including a link to a video or other content).  There will also be an exercise or assignment for you to complete.  You’ll receive 3 emails per week for 4 weeks that will guide you, step by step, toward creating your own storytelling for your content marketing.

Visual Content Creation: Quote Graphics Challenge

logo-imageMy new Facebook group — “Visual Content Galleria” — is just beginning to grow, but look out!  We’re expecting visitors and new members for our upcoming 5-Day Quote Graphics Challenge.

Quote Graphics are one of the easiest ways to create your own visual content.  There are lots of easy and free tools and I’ll introduce you to some of them next week during the challenge.

Of course, you can still continue to share other people’s quote graphics.  But there are some definite reasons to create your own:

  1. You can select the best quotes that relate to important topics or messages in your niche or specifically in your business.
  2. You can brand your Quote Graphics with your brand colors and put your name or your business name in small type on the bottom or side.
  3. You can even create an overlay that includes colored lines or filters over the image, in addition to your name, for a very stylish branded look.
  4. And with your own designs, you can repurpose the Quote Graphics in a variety of ways.

I’ll be talking about and demonstrating how to repurpose your visual content creations in my monthly training hangout on March 5th on Creative Marketing TV.  You’ll see how I start with quote graphics or tip graphics that I’ve created in PowerPoint or Canva.  Then I turn a series of them into a slideshow or a video series.  I’ll even show you how to turn them into a visual e-book right in PowerPoint or in Canva.

If you complete the quote graphics challenge, you’ll have some custom quote graphics all ready to use in those repurposing projects!

To register for the 5-Day Quote Graphics Challenge, just go to my Facebook page — PowerPoint Queen Rules — and click on the Event post pinned to the top of the page.  You’ll find the registration link there.  I hope to see you in the group!




Easy Visual Content – 3 New Ways to Make a Video

Easy Ways to Make a VideoMaybe you made a commitment or wrote down a goal to create some new visual content to promote your business or professional practice in 2016.  How’s that going for you?

I’d like to tell you about several new methods I’ve been using to create visual content — and they’re so easy that anybody can do them!

Even if you don’t have an artistic bone in your body … Even though you’re not good at the tech side of marketing … Even if you’re concerned about your marketing being too sleazy or sales-y

I think you’ll still find one of these ideas that you like.  You might even want to implement all 3 ideas!

1.  Use “other people’s videos” in an unexpected way:

You don’t have to create all the video yourself and you don’t have to upload it all to YouTube or Facebook!  One important way that many online marketers (including me) are now using video is for the background of squeeze pages or opt-in pages.  Click here for an example of one of mine.

These 2-step optin pages or squeeze pages have been tested and found to convert at a much higher rate than traditional optin forms or even optin pages.   There are a number of reasons for that higher conversion.  One of those reasons is that people love the subtle but eye-catching movement in the background.

2.  Add a 7-Second Looping Video to your Facebook Profile:

Facebook began rolling out this new feature in the fall and I don’t know whether everyone has access yet.  (You can log into the Facebook app on your mobile device to find out if you have this.)

You can now upload a 7-second video in place of your static profile picture.  Just think about how that will catch people’s eyes!  Once you set this up, you’ll need to start thinking up reasons to get your Facebook friends to go to your personal profile page to see your video!

sample from Legend app

One Way to Use the Legend app

3.  Create and share animated text videos:

These are another super-short video format created with mobile apps.  And there are a bunch of apps available to create these!

My favorite (at least for now) is Legend.  It’s great for typing in a short quote, choosing a built-in animation and a color background, then sending your finished project via email, saving as a GIF, or posting to Facebook, among other options.

Research shows that Facebook’s autoplay feature for videos uploaded directly to the news feed creates much higher engagement that static posts.  How can you use autoplay videos to stop news feed scrolling and get more engagement?

Which of these 3 easy video methods are you ready to try?  Would you like to learn more about these and other easy video tips?

I’m presenting a 1-hour free webinar on February 6th as part of my Creative Marketing TV series.  See more details and sign up here.  I’ll send you a free PDF resource sheet for this topic the week of the webinar!

Will 2016 Be Different? Marketing Goals & Resolutions to Yourself!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably made New Year’s resolutions in the past on January 1st or 2nd, only to find yourself giving up on those resolutions before the end of the 1st month.  Obviously, you can’t grow a business based on that type of resolutions!

But setting goals, whether for business growth or personal growth, is something different.  First of all, hopefully you have already started (or even finished) writing out your goals for the new year.  And hopefully you’ve considered those goals carefully, not just deciding in a moment of enthusiasm that you want to stop a bad habit or accomplish some challenge.

Secondly, it always helps to break down large goals into smaller chunks, with a series of action steps laid out.  That way it is easy to actually get started on the implementation of a goal by taking the first action step.  Even if that first step is something simple, actually taking action helps you to solidify your commitment to that goal and to taking ongoing action to achieve it.

There are also some “mindset” techniques I’ve learned over the years that can help to keep me on track with working toward a goal.  Often a mindset problem is preventing me from already achieving that goal, so working on my mindset — in addition to scheduling and tracking action steps — can be a powerful combination.

Some of these ideas come from the accelerated learning movement, while others are based in NLP or neuro linguistic programming.  Here are some ideas to help you activate a more energized mindset around the goals you have set for yourself for 2016new_year_goals

  • Remind yourself frequently of the goals you set.
  • Speak your goals out loud — or, better yet, sing them out loud.
  • Music, rhyming, and rhythm can all help to get your subconscious brain involved.
  • Physical movement can help too, like dancing or some other movements while speaking/singing your goals.
  • Visual images can also connect more deeply with your subconscious brain than words alone.

After an energizing session of speaking, singing, dancing, and other sensory play with your goals, try wrapping up with a few minutes of silent meditation or visualization, giving your brain time to process and store the ideas you have just reinforced.

One of the ways I like to tie all this together is by creating a personal slideshow video with my goals (or with affirmations).  Below is a sample of a video made from a looping slideshow.

Free Training Offer

You can access a free recording which I created 3 years ago to promote a virtual workshop on creating your own personal slideshow to enhance your goals.  The recording covers all the basic steps of the process.  Written instructions are provided as well.  Grab that free offer here.

I’m also in the process of updating that training to reflect changes in the newer versions of PowerPoint and to turn it into a series of pre-recorded, self-study videos.

If you would like to purchase those new training videos now, you can get them for 60% off the future price.  You’ll find more details on the page with the free video.  Grab that access at the link above.