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06/06/2011 A Good Story

It was great to see and hear C.C. Chapman and Ann Handley talk about their book “Content Rules” at our #BTVSMB lunch last Thursday. I love how they blend in interesting stories and anecdotes to make their main points come to life. They clearly modeled what they want people to do, rather than just telling them what to do.

One of the most interesting examples happened in the Q+A. One of the attendees was asking advice about something that happened at his company. His boss had rewarded the employees by treating everyone to a Kentucky Fried Chicken lunch at the office. One of the employees asked if they could take pictures or videotape the lunch and use the content online. The boss said no, that it would only be interesting if they had a bunch of models eating KFC for lunch. 

Both C.C. and Ann responded that the boss was wrong, that they should have used it. But the person asking the question proved himself why it was wrong.

When he told the story, he included some details that got everyone in the room thinking. As soon as he mentioned KFC, we all had pictures in our heads of what was happening at that lunch. When he mentioned his boss’ response about models eating KFC, those pictures in our heads went into overdrive.

A good story, or good social content, includes pieces that allow each reader or viewer to make strong, individual connections to it. The book “Brain Rules” makes the point that in order for us to remember stories like this, it’s critical to include items in the story that we already have relationships with.

The story from that business IS interesting because it not only gives us an insider’s view (which we all want) but it connects to things on the outside that we already know and have relationships with. More importantly, it’s an interesting story because it humanizes the business. And that’s one of the main advantages social marketing has over other channels.

I guess another lesson is: Don’t censor too much. Put your stories out there and let your audience help you determine what works and what doesn’t.



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