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.