Sold on Storytelling: 3 Takeaways From My Favorite WordCamp Session

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Partner & Chief Creative Officer
Mar 25, 2015

I'm a big fan of authentic storytelling in content strategy. Honest storytelling can take your content to new levels of awesome, from social media to advertising.

And it's good to know I'm not the only fan of it.

My favorite session by far at this year's WordCamp was titled "Reimagining Blogging As Authentic Storytelling." The presenter, digital branding strategist Christoph Trappe, runs The Authentic Storytelling Project. He advises people and brands on how to create content consumers will notice, even in a world where it seems no one has the time.

Trappe made several excellent points during his presentation, but here are three of my favorite takeaways:

1. Focus first on story and quality content development, not cash creation. Eventually you will make money.

Yes, revenue is important. An unprofitable business won't last long. But a content strategy that's only focused on making a sale may very well do the opposite. Consumers nowadays know when they're being sold to and will go somewhere else. Be genuine, not sales-y.

"If everybody shared their stories, we'd be a better community, not just selling to each other all the time," Trappe said at the session. Truer words, as they say ...

2. Being vulnerable in a strategic way is very meaningful.

It's hard to step out of your comfort zone and publicly share unpleasant stories. But doing so authentically can really resonate with and grow your audience.

Trappe used the example of writing about his own son's death. It took him several years to publish anything about it, but when he did, Trappe said the story became the most-read post on his site and generated a ton of positive feedback. The key is to find stories your audience can relate to and consequently share with others.

3. Search algorithms and social media change, but valuable content continues to be valuable.

Every business wants to own the top spot on Google for their target keywords or have a million likes on Facebook, and there are plenty of tactical methods out there that can help do both. But even the best tricks in the book are meaningless if the content you offer your audience isn't helpful, entertaining, relatable or otherwise valuable. And valuable content is what ultimately leads a reader to becoming a customer and sharing their experience with others.

Consumers ultimately decide what is valuable, and their "need for compelling, educational and informational content" will persist even as Google changes how it ranks sites and social media fads come and go.

Trappe's full presentation is available on his site.


Christoph Trappe’s WordCamp St. Louis slides

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