Estimated read time: 40 minutes

The video from this talk is here.

Christoph: As you can see, I brought emojis. Why? So I can argue with my daughter for 30 minutes why they’re not for her and they were for me. But seriously here’s why I brought them – because we want to talk about storytelling. We’re not going to talk about why it’s important or how your brain does different things. If you tell a good story or how you should do it to affect change, blah, blah, blah. You already know all that stuff, but there’s basically six types of content, also known as stories. You know, we use content for everything. This is not a presentation. This is the verbal piece of content. Get it? I mean, it’s like, really? Okay. So there’s six types of content that you can tell. Number one, anybody, any guesses what this one is?

Christoph: What is it? So this is. I’m using this one for informational educational content. Got it. Who wants informational educational content? Who? Anybody who raised your hand, you got it. You can keep it. It was only like ninety-nine cents at Amazon, 10-packs. So. But here’s what information educational content is important. If you’re not telling your audience something that’s actually helpful to them, why are you even bothering? What’s the point of sharing? And I’ll give you an example. So I flew over from Iowa, a little bitty airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I fly American Airlines. Holger already heard this story like 18 times, and so there’s two flights that go to Chicago, which then I can take a flight to London. Then I take a flight, took a flight to here and I was really tight in Chicago and guess what? It was delayed in Cedar Rapids and then there was a flight leaving from the gate like the next gate on a different airline.

Christoph: Are you with me? Different airlines, right? I’m like, can you switch me over there because I have a chance to still get my flight and because they’re nice and helpful. They did, right. And guess what happened? That plane actually left on time and I was on it and then I get to Chicago. You know what happens at airports when you fly different airlines, you’re in like totally different terminals, right? So, you’re like as far away as you can be. So I literally had to run from the one flight to the other flight to catch my flight. They actually opened the door for me. They let me on. So I blogged about it. But here’s the real informational reason why I blogged about it, not just to show everybody how good of a runner I am. I’m not. The long legs do not help or run faster or further or anything like that.

Christoph: So. But the reason it’s informational educational is because here’s the tip. Do not ever switch airlines on a trip, ever. It sounded so good. No, it doesn’t work. Well, I mean you got me there, but then I had to run. I had to pay for it. Okay. The next piece of content. Who knows this emoji? We’ll go with that. Marvelous. You’re laughing at it. It makes you feel something. Who wants that kind of content? Yay. There you go. Those are key chains by the way. I think usually kids use them, but if you’d like to use it as a key chain, be my guest. So fun content. There is a place for something that makes you laugh that that’s interesting. That just makes me feel something and we’ll get to that in a minute. Again, who is in a business that can tell fun stories?

Christoph: Anybody? Has to be one person. You can raise your hand if you respond to me. You can say it in German, too, if you don’t want to try English. What’s your business with? What is it? Insurance. There’s fun stuff in insurance? Thank you for playing along, though. There is fun stuff everywhere. So sometimes I’m speaking to groups, and you know what they say? They go, I am in a boring business. I’m like, that sounds boring already. There’s always something fun, but you’ve got to make up your mind to actually tell those stories. Right? So we’ll get to that. How to do that. Then, what’s this one? Anybody know? Should’ve paid attention at home when your kids were running through emojis. This is like, the kind of, like, silly. Sometimes you’re silly. Who wants silly content? Yay. You were lucky. I looked right at you as you were raising your hand, so everybody can sometimes be silly.

Christoph: Now, this is a little harder for some businesses, right? Because if you’re selling something – like funerals, you know, like, I mean, it really doesn’t work very well to be silly, but try to at least think about it. This is the first step in storytelling. You have to think about it to even be open to it. The company I work at in the U.S. will, what we will do is every week we publish a blog post and when we first started the chief strategy came over, officer came over and said, ‘I want to be involved.’ And I said, ‘You may be involved, happy to have you, but every Monday at 10:00 Central time, I was very specific Central time, not Eastern time, not Pacific time. That’s two hours later. Not like Australia time, which is actually ahead I think, but at that time we publish.’ So, you have to start thinking about that.

Christoph: You have to start making those rules. Um, okay, well what is this, this content view? Love, right? Like who, who, if you read something you love? I haven’t even asked the question and the hands go up. Everybody wants it. Right? If you love it, you can’t put down that book. I mean, how many times, who does trifold brochure still? Anybody, you know, like brochures, print brochures, anybody still do them? You can admit it. When did anybody ever pick one up and say, ‘Oh my God, I cannot put down this trifold brochure. These stock art, fake people look so happy. I cannot not look at it for like eight more hours.’? Sorry. So we all want to create that and then I don’t know what this one was. But um, so that won’t be a quiz. Cool. Right. Cool. Who wants cool content? Ooh, look how far you can throw them. Now who, who? So everybody raised their hand. What are you going do with those emoji’s?

Christoph: You don’t have to answer that I guess. Okay. But there’s one more piece of content. Wha is it. So this is crap content and some people argue with me and they say, that is not poop. That is a, a swirly ice cream chocolate. Oh my. It is not. I actually, you know, TSA, the security people at the airport, they actually searched my bag and I, it wasn’t this, but I’m like, it would have been funny. So who wants it?  Why do you want it? So I, I was planning for this. People told me this would happen. Why do you want poop?

Audience Member: To remind me always, to remind me, that always some content not so popular.  And so not.  Yeah, always keep in the mind.

Christoph: To not do it or do it?

Audience Member: To not do it.

Christoph: Right answer. Who else raised your hand? Did you raise your hand? No. Somebody over there.  In that, over there. Why?

Audience Member: Pretty simple, because you can turn it into something silly.

Christoph: So what is so great about that comment? Because, to do storytelling. I know you’ll get it first, but I still want to pick on some other people. Um, that is an important statement because step one to storytelling is you actually have to want to do it and then you actually have to always find a way to telSo for example, I will not set out and say, ‘I am creating poop today.’ I’m mad, like, who sits in a meeting, who sits in an editorial meeting and says, ‘Let’s create some crap today.’ And you know what crap stands for? Content Really Annoying to People. So it’s not good to create. But if you already have started, what does that mean? We’re done? Out of time? No, that was a mistake. Okay, out of time already. What time zone are we in?

Christoph: Okay. Um, what, what good storytellers do is they always find a way to publish. And here’s how you do that. First of all, you want to figure out what it is that you actually stand for. What are you going to share stories about? What’s your business? Who are you trying to reach? I know you’ve heard this already like 18,000 times just today, right? To do those things, but then you always find a way to publish. So for example, my blog when I started, it gets like 70,000 visitors a month. Now every other client I’ve ever worked with, we set a goal. Every Monday you publish, and you know what they would say to me? They would say, ‘Oh, is that because of Google? Like when you publish at that time, my Google ranking will be higher?’ I’m like, ‘Yes. When you publish exactly a 10:00 AM, Google gives you, you know, it’s better than 10:01.’

Christoph: They totally, they totally do that. And, but you know, the real reason why you want what you need to do that, because we’re creatures of habit. So if the goal is we publish at 10:00 every Monday or Tuesday, pick a day. If you have a lot of holidays on Monday, right? In Germany more than the U. S even don’t pick Monday, pick a Tuesday. And if you don’t publish on a Monday because you celebrating what was the Montauk souk or something by the way. Good. This has to be edited out of the video, but good impressions of the American political landscape. Anybody see that? Did you see it? Yeah. Okay. We won’t talk about that any further, but anyway, good storytelling. So. But the key is to always find a way to publish. So the way to do that is you keep looking for why do people care? Why do people care about that story? So do me a quick favor for like two minutes. Talk to your neighbor and tell them this is important. A personal story that hopefully is somewhat related to why you’re here and what you do here, right? What you’re doing at your day job, and share that story with them. And then they take a 30 second break. Thirty seconds. One person, 30 seconds, the other person. And do that for just one minute. Ready to go? Yeah. Okay. Ready? Set. Go.

Audience: [Audience Chatter for 45s]

Christoph: All right. Did everybody share their story? Sounds like we’re talking, switch, we haven’t switched?  Switch.

Audience: [Audience Chatter for 30s]

Christoph: Alright, who has a good story to tell, anybody?

Christoph: Hello? Hello? Did you guys know I flew in just for this conference? Can you hear me? Hey guys, back there. Are you still? Are you still with me? Hello? Hello? Hello? These guys are still talking. So why was it so hard? You don’t have to apologize. Did you apologize? You didn’t have to. Okay, good. See exactly. Why was it so hard for people to come back? I got up. I, you know, I’m dressed up in a suit, tie everything. I’m supposed to talk to you. Why is it so hard to come back? No kidding. Right? You’re like, ‘Shut up dude up there. I don’t want to listen to you. I still have a story to finish.’ Right? This is the thing that happens anywhere I do it. People don’t even want to come back. Do you know what I mean? Like, they’re so engrossed in their stories.

Christoph: This is the reason why you have to tell stories.  Now, same exercise. I’m not going to say switch when you’re done. Just switch. Okay? We’ll have to have instructions for everything here. So, but now take a story. If you can use the same one, you used the same one and share it again with your neighbor, but put on your company head, get it put in your company’s. Is my company head smiley face content? Put on your company head, and who knows what that means? So think about it, like, don’t think of it like you’re talking to a journalist, but think of it that you have to be close to your company’s messaging. Are you with me? So if you said this, like, if your story was, ‘I’ve been going to conference all day and the current presenter really blows.’ I know that was nobody’s story, but if it was, like, you would never say that, right? If you’re speaking on behalf of a company. So take a story if you can use, the same one, and share it on behalf of your company. You are the official spokesperson. Sound hard? Okay, let’s do it. Thirty seconds each. Ready? Set. Go.

Audience: [Audience Chatter for 60s]

Christoph: All right. Good work, team, good work. Hello? Could you ring that bell again? So was that harder?

Christoph: Easier, the same? I mean you guys were pretty, I mean, you guys were really having a good conversation, which is actually not that usual for this part of the training. So. So was that easier or harder? Who was it? Was it who was, uh, was it harder? Easier? Why was it easier? Sure. Less fun? Go ahead. So why was it easier though? Oh my God. You mean you use the buzzwords? That was not the assignment! Here you go.

Christoph: We’re giving out awards. He doesn’t want it? Good choice. Okay. Wow. Yes. The buzzwords. I actually, when I was a VP of marketing, do you know what we would do? We need to, like, put all these buzzwords into every sentence. And you know what people do when they read the buzzwords? They tune you out because they’ve heard them 100 times. If you know the best. We’re the best. We’re the top of the line. State-of-the-art. I don’t know if they use that in Germany, but they use it in the U.S for everything. We are multidisciplinary. You know what that means in healthcare. That means we have multiple different specialties in a hospital. No kidding. Like they have nurses and different doctors. I mean, really, who would have imagined, right? So you have to get away from those things. So that’s interesting.

Christoph: Usually what people say is it was a lot harder because I try to hit those same buzzwords. Right? And really what you need to start doing is if you’re not doing already figured out what the stories are and then figure out a way to show and not tell. So let me give you an example. I know everybody, I don’t even know if there were evaluations or not, but let’s assume there are. I assume everybody’s going to give me five stars or whatever many stars they are, but you only can see if, if I know what I’m talking about, if I show you, right? If I’m standing up here and I say I’ve been to every presentation today and they were all that and somewhere that. And some were like this but, mine is this right? Like the best. Like who even believes me? Anybody? Nobody.

Christoph: Right? So what you need to do is make up your mind that you want to share the stories, and then you have to involve the people who actually have the stories in your company. So when I was flying to the US, I had to run at the airport, right? That’s my story. I can share that. But how often have imagined this is the marketing VP at the company, and this is the assistant, still smiling, rolling his or her eyes. See, that’s what that is. The rolling eyes emoji and they’re talking about, ‘We should do a story. Oh, you should do this kind of campaign or this,’ or, you know, ‘This is the new thing, and here’s what it’s going to do.’ And you know what the problem is with that setup? They have no clue most of the time because look, see, I prepared in this room.

Christoph: See up there? Those are the frontline people, and they’re sitting over here in some office and they have to hang out on top of this. Dirty. Right? Can you think of the English word now? Speaker. Loud speaker, and they’re not talking to each other and it’s becoming more and more difficult for companies to make this system work where you have marketing communications. If you’re in PR, I don’t really care what it is, the communication side of the business. If you’re on that side of the business and you’re over here never ever talking to those guys, you do not have the stories, period, so you have to talk to them because you know the stories who shared personal stories earlier. I won’t pick on you. You can also raise your hand. Is that all the hands? What did the other people share? Now I’m picking on you who shared nonpersonal stories. I mean really did somebody share stories that did not involve you on at one level? One person, two people. Why did you guys share? If you don’t mind sharing. If you don’t want to share, that’s fine. I promise I won’t pick. Okay. Something about the company and it didn’t involve you at all.

Christoph: Okay. Anybody else? So, but the majority of the room, 98 percent of the room shared stories about yourself. And here’s why that is, because you’re all selfish. I’m kidding. I’m, I’m half kidding. But we’re all are kind of about ourselves, right? Because we live our own stories. So we are sharing our own stories. So for marketing communications, that group of people, to make it work, they have to get those people involved. How do you get your frontline team involved? Who has an idea? It’s like really warm in here. It was that just me walking up and down. Up.

Audience Member: [Audience Member Question]

Christoph: Throw emojis at them. Exactly. No, there’s really two ways you got to do it. You have to make it fun, right? So who wants to go to meetings? That really blows anybody. Like how many people do, how many people? What? Where’s the, where’s the crying emoji? Um, so, but you have to make it fun. Here’s, here’s the thing, when people do they actually remember how it makes them feel. So for example, today, right? How many of you remember when we talked about the different types of content, right? You remember that it’s like 10 seconds ago and how many. I will not quiz you promise. How many can kind of remember the point of that exercise? Even if you don’t remember every little piece of content, but do you kinda remember the point of what we’re doing? Right? You can remember it because you can see those dumb emojis as you can see me throwing a poop at my audience and they didn’t even throw tomatoes back, but you can remember it right and now.

Christoph: You can see the frontline staff up here. You can see the VP of marketing standing over here. Then just to let you know, putting a pretty hat on top of poop still does not make a good content. Right? So something to think about so you have to move it forward. But the way you get them involved is to make it fun and you figure out their pain points. What are they upset about? So does that make sense? So if I’m working with a physician, for example, I was working with a physician in Chicago who does a really, really unique procedure. I can’t even explain it to you, like, there’s like 10 physicians to do that around the world, something like that. And he said, I don’t even rank high for this procedure in Chicago, and there’s only 10 people who do it and like two or three or something like that are, are in that area.

Christoph: So what he, we figured out that was his pain point. Are you with me? That he was like, ‘I need to actually show up in search.’ And then we did some stories around him, and we shared them and people started noticing, I don’t know if he ranks number one now or not, but, but very, very happy about it. So his pain point started going away and then guess what happened next? Patients were coming in and he would say, how’d you hear about me? And they would say, I saw your video on the website, like the video we just produced about him. So basically we took his pain point away. How hard do you think it is in a case like that to continuously tell stories with that person? It’s like he, it’s like giving candy to a baby or whatever. Right? I mean it’s, like, so easy because you’re helping them work on their pain point. For example, let’s say you were not to be all healthcare here, but let’s say there’s a problem. You don’t have enough staffing or something. If you get those people’s involvement to actually share those stories, even if you don’t publish them, you can actually fix problems. That’s the beauty of storytelling. Yes.

Audience Member: You’ve done it with the researcher to just invent smart contract is a kind of image in the scientific world. I mean, coming up with videos, entertaining videos probably wouldn’t be a scientific audience. Not safe. Well, that’s the guy who’s doing videos all the time. It’s not serious in this business.

Christoph: Yep. So that’s a great question. So you do have to kind of balance how you do those videos. Right? So the video was really more about here’s a patient he helped. Here’s how they helped it. Was it like a patient story? So it was still fairly, um, it wasn’t silly, it wasn’t really fun honestly, but it was very heart warming and it was very touching and they showed off, you know, what he actually does, so, so you do have to balance that, right? So you can just be, um, you can be silly if that’s not your brand, but you might think about it. So that’s where the point I’m trying to make, not all kinds of content or for everybody.  Great question. So I’ve in my career as a story, so I went from journalism to nonprofit work to now mostly in healthcare and I’ve never had any problems finding people who would want to tell their stories.

Christoph: So patients were really, I mean, were very willing to do it. Usually you just have to ask them, and people really want to tell their story. The biggest hurdle I’ve run into is timing. You know? So, for example, let’s say I just went through alcohol rehab, I didn’t, right? But let’s say I did, if I’m just done with it, I might not be ready for you to put my story in the newspaper, for example, do you know, but three years down the road when, you know, I might be willing to do it, for example. So sometimes you have to think about the timing, but, so in all industries I work with, everybody needs to sign something to give permission. Um, so technically they have already signed that away. But um, and this has really never happened.

Christoph: Actually there’s one case that’s kind of like it, I’ll tell, I’ll talk about that in a second, but I’ve never had a case where somebody comes back and says, ‘I don’t want to be in the video anymore.’ Um, and I would recommend to a client if even if they signed it and they come in and they said, ‘I don’t want you to use it anymore,’ I would really recommend to just pull it and not get into a big fight over it. The closest I had to that actually though is when I was working with nonprofit, what they did is they had a story about this, a person who was getting help, and they ran it everywhere. They put her on billboards and she gave permission to do that and they ran on TV and everywhere. Well, you know, it started happening. People were like, she was looking for a new job and people were searching for her and they found those videos and she overcame the hurdle she had in her life.

Christoph: But some employers, you know, they were still kind of looking at that and they just pulled it once that came out and about. But, and that’s kind of different because when I was in the news business, you know, you put in the newspaper and once the newspaper publishes, that’s it right now, once it publishes, it’s out there forever and ever. And it never, nothing ever goes away. So. Great questions. Any other questions? Um, so we were talking about. So you have to get those guys. See this is why I put the emoji’s all over the place. So this is, so you have to get them involved, you have to figure out what their problems are and then you actually have to share their story. And here’s what I mean by that. How many times, and you’re in a company, you can be honest. I’ve been in plenty of companies where this happens.

Christoph: You have the shiny object syndrome. Do you know? I’m talking about. It’s like, what’s the latest tool we should use? Like Christoph is here. Let’s use Christoph. Hey look, everybody now uses emojis for their presentations. This is like the shiny object. Do you know why you’re paying attention to the emojis? Because nobody else is doing it. Do you know what I mean? Like nobody else is doing it. You don’t say, ‘Oh look, awesome PowerPoint, that’s really innovative.’ PowerPoints work for some things. But, but something to think about, because it’s new, right? So figure out what the new thing is, and then either use it or don’t use it, but you have to move forward and actually publish their stories. So what I’ve seen happen a lot of times is let’s say you’re, I’m telling your story right on behalf of the company and I’m coming to you, I’m interviewing you, I get your story on video or whatever it might be, and then guess what happens to the story.

Christoph: It goes through like 15 layers of approval and, by the way, is anybody familiar with that? We have a term for that. Any guesses? Approval hell. And it doesn’t do anything to ad value. I mean seriously. So here’s, here’s a scenario that once happened. I wrote a story and the editor edited it, right? It took like three days to do a really deep edit. It was really worth the time. And then they send it to another editor, and you know what that editor did? This is not made up. I would never make this up. They changed it back to exactly what I wrote over here. What a waste of time and money, right? I mean they were paying these people. So think about that, getting out of approval hell and actually publishing things. If you don’t publish things, you know what the frontline staff will do. What happens now if you go to your boss and you say, ‘I’ve got a good idea,’ and your boss never ever does anything with the idea, you will never ever bring an idea ever again. Right? Same is true with storytelling. Once you get going, you have to actually share their stories. You have to write them up, and they can’t be watered down. How do you get out of approval hell?

Christoph: I don’t know if that saying works in German, but in English, we say if you’re in hell, like, keep going. Doesn’t work in approval hell, you just have to get out of it and the way you get out of it, you figure out who are the barriers, who are the people that actually need to be involved and who are the people we actually can help us and who are the people who are just want to put their thumb on everything and the, the more you can cut that down, the better two to three people is by far more than enough. I mean if you think about like when, when people blog on their own, they have, like, it’s just them, right? I mean, you’re not going to get to that level in any organization, but two to three layers is by far recommended. Even if you just have one person approving it, I do understand. You have to have somebody write it. So then the next thing is, um, earlier they were talking about, oh, you know, it’s not about posting, it’s not about posting, just posting, but it is a little bit about posting. So then what do you do once you have a story? Anybody know what? This is an owl.

Christoph: Do you know what that is? So this, so this is, I’m only mentioning who tweeted, this is not endorsed or anything, but I mentioned them because they sent me this, and it’s really similar to these guys. So Hootsuite right? It’s a distribution channel, a distribution tool. And the reason I bring that up is because, once you have this content, you have to figure out how to get it in front of people, right? So if you’re just publishing stories and don’t share them with people or put them in places where people don’t actually go, right, it will not work. So where do people go? They go on social media. People still search on the web. Have you heard that before? Like search engine marketing? Like don’t waste your time, don’t waste your time, just do Facebook ads. Has anybody heard that? It’s like the craziest thing I ever heard.

Christoph: Search engine marketing is, like, not bad at all. Where do people go? Like, you know, I mean, where do you go when you look for something? You don’t go on Facebook, right? You go on Google or Bing maybe. Is there any other ones that you use? Bing, let’s go to Bing to Google something. Um, so, but, but keep that in mind. You have to distribute the content wherever people are. Now I’m a digital guy, but that could mean print. So one time I was working with a big industrial company and they said, well 80 percent of our employees don’t even have email. And I’m like, you know, because they were working, they were working like, like a, like a belt kind of area or something like that. So guess how you reach them, any ideas?

Christoph: If you have something to share, you print it out and you go take it to them or put it in their locker. I don’t really care where you give it to them, but the point is, whatever the channel, is to reach them. That’s how you, that’s how you need to reach them. So it’s really, really important to think about how you get stuff in front of people. And then it’s also important to think about the frequency. So for example, when you send too much stuff, guess what happens?

Christoph: People tune you out, right? If you get an email from me every day and it says, Hey, here’s my 50 and tips to tell better stories, what will you do at day number 10? I don’t even have that many stories. Yeah, you will mark me as spam, right? And so, so you have to think about how often do you send things to people and how relevant is it, right? But you do need to get in front of people on all these different channels. So distribution is important. Then, after that, you want to think about looking at what actually works. How do you know what’s going to work? How do you know the effectiveness of the story? This is probably one of the biggest content marketing debates out there, right? The storytelling. How do you measure the success?  Any idea? What?

Christoph: You can ask people and interactions. Yeah. Did people do something with it? So really here was, here’s what it comes down to. It comes down to your goals, right? What are you trying to accomplish? And this is really interesting. I, in my opinion, so you have communications on one side sometimes. Do you know what the communications get measured on? Are there any communications people in here? No? A couple. Um, so communications people a lot of times are measured on. Yeah, thank you, on. How are people? Are people actually paying attention to us? Right? So if you end up on TV, all of a sudden, that’s success for marketing people. You need to have some kind of a return on investment. So think about the top of the marketing funnel. Storytelling is top of the marketing funnel activity. So the more people you can listen to you that are relevant, keep track of that, the more people are talking to you, keep track of that, the more people are reacting to your content, keep track of that.

Christoph: So for example, I of course sent my little airplane disaster to everybody here, right at the, the conference. And you know what they all did? I mean, I had like six people come up to me, and you shared a few yesterday. I had six people come up to me and they were like, ‘Oh, I read about that, and here’s my own story.’ See how we just connected? I’m not going to make any business on that story, obviously, because I’m not really in the airline business if you haven’t been able to tell that. But bottom line is I still establish myself as a storyteller because it is actually an interesting story. Um, you know, that happened to me. So those are those things to keep in mind. How will you create good content? Number one, you have to make up your mind.

Christoph: If you don’t actually do that, it won’t work. And then make a plan. How long does a plan need to be? We’re almost out of time, aren’t we? A couple of minutes. Well, there won’t be any questions. No, you go ahead. Did you have a question? No, just stretching. And then you have to make a plan and actually write that down. This is probably one of the hardest things that people don’t do, and I don’t know why they do it. Have you ever been through strategic planning for like months at a time and you come up with this big plan, like this thick? Anybody? And then how well did that plan go? The other day I was presenting a new plan to an executive and he’s like, ‘Oh yup, Yup. Good, good, good, good, good, good, good, good, good.’ And like any feedback, suggestions, anything?

Christoph: He goes, ‘No, not at all. It’ll come down to execution.’ I’m like, no kidding. Of course. Right? Every plan comes down to execution so. But you want to write it down, but if you have a big plan like this, chances are you won’t execute it because hardly anybody can remember what’s actually in the plan. And then if I ask you, what is your storytelling mission, your storytelling plan, you actually need to be able to say it to me in two sentences. So anybody ever start their own business? An entrepreneur? Nope. But so a lot of times entrepreneurs, you talked with them. When I work with them, you know what they say to me, I said, explain to me what you do and you know what they say. They go, ‘Okay, it is really hard to explain.’ And I’m like, ‘Whoa. Way to set me up to listen.’ You know, doesn’t work.

Christoph: Just explain it to me. You’d be surprised like, seriously, nine out of 10 people say that when you bring that up. And then you say, ‘What makes you different?’ You know, when people say, ‘I’m better than they are.’ Being better is totally not a differentiator at all anymore. In fact, I’ve tweeted about this before, I blogged about it before. So, I can say to you guys, I’m a content guy, but I’ve made a living producing average content. Kinda hurts to actually admit that. Not with clients. I have a great team who helps them rock it out, but if you read my book, it will not win a literary prize, ever, no matter what, though. I don’t care what the language is. It will not win what I’m talking about, it won’t win a best writing prize, but it certainly is winning a prize for most unique storytelling book.

Christoph: Do you know what I mean? Because it’s actually a new concept. That’s what I’m talking about. So think about what makes you unique. Yes. You want to go for as close to perfect as you can, but perfect doesn’t … It doesn’t work. It’s hard. You can’t do it anyways, but as close to perfect as you can be, but what I’m saying is the more unique your differentiator is you can actually make up execution. I’ll give you another example. I was working. There was a client who was working with one company and they were doing, like, recordings for them, right? They will do a multimedia content really well produced, and they said, ‘Can you actually do it?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, we can do it,’ but it actually sounded really good, but what they were looking for is, if you haven’t been able to tell, I really, I, I just talk right now.

Christoph: I’m just, let’s have a conversation about it. But they were looking for somebody to have a conversation with the other person, right? So they weren’t looking for higher quality, but they’re still looking for a good quality, but they’re, they’re looking for somebody who can actually have a conversation with people. So that’s the differentiator. So think about those things and then how do you share? Think about what you can share that is actually helpful. You know, when you go to websites today and it says here’s one out of eight tips on how to do it, and then the other seven you have to call me and make an appointment. That’s not content marketing. It’s not even good advertising. Seriously, give them the tips and the people who do them themselves, they won’t need you anyways. They’ll just go find them somewhere else. Right? But the people who need help will actually contact you.

Christoph: There’s different kinds of people. So for example, I had a new deck put in at home, right in the backyard to grow new steps out of my back door, and all my in-laws, they’re do-it-yourselfers, right? They do everything themselves and guess what they said? They were like, ‘Why would you hire somebody to do that? I know I can show you how to do it.’ I’m like, ‘I can Google how to do it, but I’m not gonna do it because you know, I don’t do that kind of thing.’ So that’s how you have to think about it. Just because you give information away, just because you share your stories will not actually minimize their impact. It actually will help you stand out as an expert and then continuously distribute. The one thing, I’ve heard this a couple times today at the conference, I think less content, you know, is more … that doesn’t … that’s not even accurate.

Christoph: Just saying that, right. Less is never more. It doesn’t work that way. What that actually means is yes, you don’t have to produce as much content or stories as we think we do, but you still have to produce a lot of content, and as long as it’s relevant, it’ll work. And the other thing is sometimes you don’t know what people will actually care about before you publish it. So don’t, don’t buy it that it should be like once a year. Didn’t work with the brochures. Um, so those are the steps. Any questions before we are on time? Are we on time?

[Question in German]

Christoph: So what I mean is that. Yes. You always want to push to have the best content that you can produce. But my point is that if you have a really well written article that’s like, I mean like it’s like poetry, right, on the web, like, it’s really well written, but there’s nothing unique in it. It will not help you stand out. So don’t stop pushing for being a really good writer or, or a video person or whatever it might be. Don’t stop doing it, but what I’m saying is that if you can create this piece and have it be highly unique, you can actually, you, you will actually win in the game of content marketing, but if you only create a highly produced piece of content and it’s not unique, you will not win. People will not go, ‘Oh my God, this totally useless information is really well written.’ It does not happen. So my point, are we good? Are we good? Now again, are you guys five stars again? Now? Hopefully, but what I meant for me, like, I’m not really, like, a writer, quite honestly. I’m like, I’m a storyteller, so if you look at my writing, my personal writing, it’s like, it’s average. The writing, like, I will not win a writing prize. But what’s truly unique about it is I tell truly unique stories. In fact, I don’t tell stories if I know somebody has already written about them. Make sense? They’re smiling again.

Audience Member: Yes, there is conflict. That conflict.

Christoph: Yep. So, but what actually works the best is conflict that’s overcome. Right? So that’s why patient stories in healthcare work because usually they have overcome something, whatever that might be. So that’s usually the best. Um, and you just kind of have to walk through it. It’s interesting. I’ve seen clients, what they do is they figure that out, and they, when they do it, you know, they see it’s working and they say, ‘Oh my God, now we have to do more of those.’ But it’s really kind of like getting on the edges of our comfort zone. But then they also see that it’s actually working. Right. So you, you, you don’t do it every time. But uh, but counseling does sell for sure. And it certainly brings people in.

Audience Member: As far as my experience is this is, for me, this is a big problem, to get marketing managers to accept that there has to be some sort of conflict, some sort of problem that has to be overcome.

Christoph: Absolutely, you just kind of have to walk them through it, get buy-in from the top. That’s usually what I’ve done. Yes.

Audience Member: [Audience Question]

Christoph: There’s two ways to make this work. Number one is the way you can get fired for pretty easily. It’s like you go behind the scenes and you just go do this, this way to do it. Actually, there’s actually a way when you can make it work. So CMOs, chief marketing officers, stay in jobs now for like 18 months. Have you noticed that there’s like people in jobs in marketing, 18 months and then like 30 years and there’s like a big gap in between. Have you seen that? Is that true here? No, in the US at least. So what happens is you start a project, right, under that old CMO, the CMO gets fired, and the team just kind of implements, and nobody’s paying attention, and then they show some success. And then the new person comes in, they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, look, it’s working.’ That’s like the only way you can do it behind the scenes usually without getting in trouble, but really what you need to do is you need to get buy-in from your executives before you start.

Christoph: And the way you do that is you make a plan and you involve them, right? And you say, ‘What are you worried about?’ So one time I had a client, big organization, and the president, this is like 12,000 employees, the president wanted to read everything that was coming out of there. That’s not, that doesn’t work, right? So we figured out what the actual problem was, and we set up a board of who would approve it. So what we did is we picked people like three people on the editorial board who this president really respected, right? And they agreed to take all responsibility for everything that was coming out of it, and then they approved things, right? Really, really quickly. So you have to get them involved early on, and that’s usually the only way around it unless you do it behind the scenes. But it could, could cost you your job depending on what the company is. [Audience Question] What’s good content? That’s a great question. [Audience Question]

Christoph: Yep. So the way you have to think about is, what is your unique experience? What can you bring to the table that’s unique about you? And then does your audience actually care about that? Right. Those, if you can hit those two pieces and then the distribution, the owl or whatever tool you might use, then you can make it work. So, um, I don’t know if you heard, I don’t remember who it was, the telecom, I think he was talking about how um, no, no, it was the person right after he said something about how you, whether it’s about distribution or good content, but it’s about a mix, right? But the more you, the more unique, the more helpful for your target audience your content is, that’s good content. And here’s the problem when you think about that, because do you know when I send you something, like, let’s say you’re my boss and I’m sending it to you to approve, how do you know that applies?

Christoph: You don’t, right? Because what you’ll do is you will actually look at that content and you will read it through your own lens, right? And you say, ‘This is not good content.’ Like, well, I don’t like it. Right? So you got those two things happening at the same time. That’s why you got to get people involved early on. But if you hit the uniqueness angle and why does the audience care and is there actually a decent story, that usually can help you produce good content because you’re totally right. That’s a very, very vague term, and we probably just helped somebody win the content marketing buzzword Bingo.

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