The story is the results (so don’t try to tell it yourself!)

This past weekend I was honored and privileged to co-lead (with Joe Vella) a discussion about Storytelling in the podcasting world at Podcamp Boston 4.  What I learned during the course of the discussion, and what I tried to put out there in some of the other panels I sat in on, was this:

When you tell your own story, its hype.  Other people telling your story is better.

In the 300 episodes of content that I helped to create while at Sony Music, very few of them (with the exception of Yo-Yo Ma) were focused on the artist talking about themselves.  This was by design, because stories told by people’s stories  to the music and the affect it had by coming into their lives definitively resonates more.

The danger with talking from the position of the creator (or your company, or your product) is twofold:

1) It’s increasingly difficult for your audience to believe you can be objective.

2) We all tend to severely over-edit or severely under-edit.

A question came up in another panel (run by @cc_chapman) about what non-profits could be doing better in the SocMed space, and I suggested that what may be lacking is an effort to truly document the stories of those that are affected by contributors donations.  If you have a charity that delivers shoes to poor kids in Africa, you’d better believe you’ll get more donations if you shoot a FlipCam video of the kids unwrapping and trying on shoes for the first time than if you point that same camera at the founder of the organization and let them talk about how much they need money to get those shoes over to Africa.

The Tom’s Shoes AT&T commercial is a perfect example of results-based storytelling, and finding that rare balance of focus.

Enabling the broadcast of passion and stories of people who are affected by what you do, or the product you put out, or the service you provide, whether it be  through podcasting or even just a comment section on your websites pages is the most powerful and effective way to show potential buyers/donors/fans/friends the value of what you bring to the table.

So my advice, when working on that new product strategy, that Social Media tone assessment, that podcast, your resume:

The story is the results, the results are the story.

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Daria Steigman

You are so true. It’s amazing how many organizations with great stories to share end up talking at their audience instead.

I love the Tom’s Shoes commercial precisely because it’s a story about shoes but not selling. And I remember it — and that’s the kind of brand awareness you want.
.-= Daria Steigman´s last blog ..New Survey Highlights What Customers Want =-.

Suzanne

Just popping in to say I really enjoy your blogs. As a young entrepreneur this post was particularly helpful. Looking forward to reading more.

See you on Twitter!

[…] for pcb4 Henri Codolfing – Battledecks and Pecha Kucha at Podcamp Jeremy Meyers – The story is the results so don’t try to tell it yourself & Don’t be sexy, be good. Good is sexy. Len Edgerly – Odds and ends from PCB4 & […]

Jeremy

I think (and hope) that there are resources to look at where stories exist within your organization, but I think a great place to start would be to ask yourself "when i describe what i do to people who have no idea, what examples do i give" and "what work am i particularly proud of that exemplifies what the organization is about"

It's a good point though, that marketing folks may have difficulty picking stories. I guess my advice to them would be to ask their employees. When I was at Sony, I worked on a project called 60 Second Soundtracks which attempted to address the 'what story to tell' issue.

My sister is a writer. A real one: screenwriter, playwriter, game designer. She creates stories. She can see possibilities in daily life that I can’t. And she writes (and tells) damn good stories.

I think a lot of us, whether in nonprofits or not, think that you have to be like my sister to be a good storyteller. It can be overwhelming to look out at all your company or organization does and try to figure out which of those makes a “good” story.

I see (and agree) that if organizations took a more documentarian approach to their activities they’d at least have all the raw material to choose from, but what are your thoughts on how to identify the stories that will resonate?
.-= Tamsen (@tamadear @Sametz)´s last blog ..Sametz Blackstone Associates launches a new blog! =-.

Jeremy

I think (and hope) that there are resources to look at where stories exist within your organization, but I think a great place to start would be to ask yourself “when i describe what i do to people who have no idea, what examples do i give” and “what work am i particularly proud of that exemplifies what the organization is about”

It’s a good point though, that marketing folks may have difficulty picking stories. I guess my advice to them would be to ask their employees. When I was at Sony, I worked on a project called 60 Second Soundtracks which attempted to address the ‘what story to tell’ issue.

Daria Steigman

You are so true. It’s amazing how many organizations with great stories to share end up talking at their audience instead.

I love the Tom’s Shoes commercial precisely because it’s a story about shoes but not selling. And I remember it — and that’s the kind of brand awareness you want.
.-= Daria Steigman´s last blog ..New Survey Highlights What Customers Want =-.

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