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Who killed the Storyteller in Marketing

I have just a little over three hours left to live. That’s the half-life of content these days, I am told.

A few hours ago, I was another small idea, floating in your head. Then you checked Buzzsumo to find what is the trending content of the hour. What will go with today’s coffee.

Voila, you had it. The themes and news that will drive traffic, maybe even stop traffic, for a few hours!

You started working. A few quick keyboard strokes later, you posted me, on all the social channels at your disposal, all ten of them. But you were not done with me yet.

Of course, you have a documented content strategy now. And like almost every other B2B marketer, you are increasing your content marketing budget for the year. And you are all set to create more content, a regular Tsunami of content. Content sells, right? That the order of the day. And of course you have tools, cartloads of them. Like a regular Ninja, you now have a basket of tools to measure the holy grail, content marketing ROI.

Tools to create buyer persona, tools to drive automated emails to segmented audience, tools to track page views, referrals, visitor flow, likes, comments, shares, downloads, leads. So yes, long after my death, you’ll continue to nurture me and post me in the hope of breaking the content ennui.

But you see, I know the last thought that rushed through your head before you clicked Submit and Share and started my countdown to death.

-Will I go viral?

-Will I cross the dangerous and unknown road from likes to leads?

-Will I help you break the content molehill?

-Will I escape the horrible fate, an unliked death?

And none of your new fancy tools can answer that question for you. Can they? Which brings me to my question.

I maybe just an almost-dying piece of content. But tell me, shouldn’t I really start with the story you absolutely want to tell? The story that encourages, influences, educates, inspires, makes someone smile during a long day? The story you really believe in?

With all your dynamic armour of tools and techniques, are you forgetting how it all started, with a simple and powerful story? You are still a storyteller, aren’t you? They do say “Great stories happen to ones who can tell them.” See returnofthestoryteller.pptx.

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Tags: datascience, in, marketing, storytelling


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Comment by Vincent Granville on February 11, 2015 at 9:08am

The half-life of content these days can be many years, it does not have to be 3 hours. Click here for an illustration, where various growth hacking techniques are used to keep selected content very alive (and active!) for years. The first rule being to write time-insensitive content.

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