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How to Use Storytelling to Save the Day - 3 Secrets to Content Marketing Success

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of Flickr

Do you wish there was a way to build credibility and differentiate your company’s product or service from the competition? Would you be interested in a proven method that allows you to share what makes your company Special, as well as  what unique attributes your product or service provides clients? If you’ve been struggling to come up with an easy and cost-effective way to get your message across, then this is the tale for you. Storytelling has been around for hundreds of thousands of years, but it wasn't until recently that technology made it possible for the average person to tell their company’s story in a way that is both professional and compelling. 

This article will cover the many new and innovative ways any business can tell its story. I’ll provide easy-to-use tools and techniques to help you generate ideas, layout your stories, produce them, and most importantly get your message out. Ready take your storytelling message to the next level? Then read on and gleam this week's Working the Web to Win’s blog, where you’ll learn innovative and proven ways of "Storytelling to Save the Day.”

Why Use Stories?
Available on
Stories carry and convey emotion, clarity and focus. A good story of how you solved a customer’s problem can easily be understood, but more importantly, it raises emotions from the subconscious to the conscious level. Emotions trump logic or other decision-making processes, motivating people to take action. A good story portrays you as the white knight that solved the customer's problem. This is especially true when you  use emotional words to express their problem, and then presented your solution using motivational words that provided the benefits they needed. (My book, “60 Seconds to Success,” has several sections devoted to this subject.) Your rescue becomes a tale worth telling. Stories allow you to choose words that probe for pain and elicit an immediate response. On top of that, good stories have long shelf lives (so-called “evergreen attributes”). That’s why great sales presentations ― ones that often include compelling stories ― often lead to referrals and sales long after the event has ended.

Secret #1: It Can Work Forever!

Here’s how content marketing with stories can help you leverage your efforts. Create
Courtesy of Flickr
evergreen messages based on principles that don't go out of style. I like to crea
te articles that I’ll then turnaround and use in my presentations. If you create a great story and present it at a meeting, it may help you that day. However, by recording your story as a podcast or video, it can be used over and over again to motivate much larger numbers of prospects. In essence, it becomes a reusable marketing tool. Unlike, conventional advertising (including newspaper, radio, TV or coupons), which are a pay-per-play ways of delivering a message. These evergreen marketing messages, if designed right, can work for you over and over again.  You pay just once for their creation and they keep working nearly forever!

Where can they be used?  
Your stories can be used in blogs, videos, podcasts, social posts, on your websites, and posted to countless locations on the Internet. By taking the time to create a well-prepared story (“edutainment,” soft sell sales pitch), you can leverage your time to produce quality content pieces that can be used over and over again. For example, your research notes or screenplay for a video can be repurposed and used to create a blog or in-depth article. If you videotape your presentation, the video and audio portions can be used to make a YouTube video plus an audio podcast. If you created a PowerPoint presentation, it can be used as a slide share as well.

Secret #2: BOGTF - Buy One, Get Two Free

Courtesy of
When you create your first content piece for your presentation, you have created the foundation for the other two. A great example of how well this works is the success of our BlogTalkRadio show, “Working the Web to Win.” Each week we research a subject, create an article (blog post), which we then use as notes for our on-air presentation (i.e., real-time radio show). Simultaneously, we also often create a Google Hangout (which creates a video automatically). The show becomes an audio podcast, the Google Hangout becomes a YouTube Video. The end result is we produced three top quality content pieces ― a blog, a video and a podcast ― ready to post to our various Internet properties. We then actively push these content pieces out to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and several other social networks. Do this enough times and you’ll have enough material to create an eBook. Keep this up for a year and you’ll have sufficient amount of content for a 120-page paperback book!

Secret #3: Capture Stories Ideas as They Happen 

I’ve already taught you two of our secrets to leveraging your efforts. Now let's look at ways to capture your story ideas as they happen in real time. Throughout the day, you’ll encounter problems, important issues, complaints or even funny events. These are story lines waiting to be recorded.

How do you record these ideas and events?
note pad
note pad (Photo credit: Leo Reynolds)
Easy – keep a notepad in your pocket at all times and jot down a few notes as to what the issue was and how it was resolved. You now have a great starting point to build your next blog, YouTube video or podcast. I know what you’re thinking: these note s do not an article (or video/podcast) make! And you're right, they don’t, but they do provide you with a solution to the hardest part, which is getting started with a useful story line. It's been my experience that getting started is the hardest part. This solves that issue.

Don’t like low tech solutions?
Well, then, just whip out your smartphone and verbally record your thoughts. Snap a few pictures or shoot a quick video of the issue or idea and ― voila! ― you’re well on your way to the first piece of emotional content. Now just add your solution and flesh out your story.

Other tips worth noting
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I like to outline my ideas. I’ll take my story line that I created with any of the above methods and then brainstorm an outline. I write my free flow of ideas by breaking the subject down into three parts: the introduction, the body and the summary. I then further break down these three main sections into three sub-parts, or as many sub-parts as I need. Again, like magic, I have moved my story line to the next level. Once my outline is fleshed out, I immediately move to writing my rough draft. I don’t worry about grammar or spelling at this stage, I just want to get my preliminary thoughts down. Once I have my first draft, I set the article down for a couple of hours before having at it again. The second go round is where I clean up my rough draft's grammar and spelling. I also try to clarify my ideas so they make more sense.

Two more useful tips
Ginger grammar software.
First, use the best grammar/spelling checker you can afford, and second, get a writing buddy.  What comes in MS Word isn’t sufficient, in my opinion. That’s why I use a program called Ginger. It’s the best that I’ve found to date. It finds wrong word usage and many other mistakes that Word often misses. It will even read the content back to you, which I find extremely valuable. Now, as good as Ginger is, there is nothing like having a blog buddy to really make a difference. Carl, my co-host and business partner, is my blog buddy. Working as a team makes the job so much easier.

Final Thoughts
Once you have your story fleshed out, your next step is to duplicate your story in a different medium. I like videos because people prefer to watch videos verses reading or just listing to a story. Videos are relatively easy to make today because laptops, tablets and smartphones often come with everything you need to turn your outline into a video. It's not a huge task to create a PowerPoint presentation from your story. PowerPoint presentations can be recorded via Hangout or WebEx, which, in turn, creates a video. You can then upload that video to YouTube. The audio portion of your video can be separated to create an MP3, WAV or WMF file. This can also be uploaded as your podcast. I use Corel Video Studios and Audacity for my video and audio work. There are many useful software products you can use to create these mini-productions.
If you want to create animation videos, there’s an easy solution for you to use called PowToons. This is an Internet software service that allows you to create very sophisticated animated presentations without any prior knowledge of video animation. Any business person can create compelling stories with this product. Once completed, uploading to YouTube is a piece of cake. Best of all, PowToons even has a free version. You can find out more about it at

In this article, I showed you how story telling can be a powerful marketing tool for any business. I provided three content creation secrets and many tips for fleshing out your ideas so that you can create a polished message. These techniques allow you to convert your original story into other mediums, thus providing you a means to not only re-purpose your content, but to also create multimedia versions that can be used as unique credibility building content in social networks and other web properties. Utilizing these techniques will save you countless hours and will produce a highly leveraged approach to content creation for your marketing efforts.
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If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family co-workers and associates. If you want to learn more about this or other Internet marketing subject, browse our other articles or type in “your subject” in the search box at the top of this blog. If you have something to add on this subject or a difference of opinion, place them in the comments section.  It has been my pleasure sharing this story with you.

That's my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.

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Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning Working the Web to Win company, based in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on Twitter,  Facebook,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and YouTube.  He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business. Additionally, Hector is a syndicated writer for EzineOnline and is an active blogger (including ghost writing). He's a published author of two books, "60 Seconds to Success"(on sale at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get for free by entering your contact information in the form above. He’s also the co-author of the new book, “Working The Web to Win,” which is now available on

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  1. "Once upon a time ... there was a very informative blog about the importance of storytelling." ;^D

  2. Good advice, as usual, Hector. Time for me to start walking around with a notepad.

  3. The secret to online selling is telling a good story about your business knowledge to a receptive audience.