By Robert Rose published January 3, 2012

Content Marketing Storytelling: Secrets from the Big Screen

This past September, I was honored to speak at Content Marketing World. My talk was called “Storytelling Secrets From Hollywood.” Since that time, I’ve had a few people ask me for the slides. Inspired by these requests, I’ve been having some fun learning about video-editing programs. So here, I thought I’d go one step further and develop a little video for CMI readers.

The video embedded below is the basis of my presentation at Content Marketing World 2011.  I’ve since added some more visual elements to the storytelling — including clips from some of the movies I reference. (Hopefully, I’ve made them a little more fun to watch). Of course, if you’re interested in viewing the on-demand version of my talk, it’s available here.

Creating Your Brand Journey

If there’s one question about content marketing that gets asked almost as much as “What’s the business case?” it is simply this: “What should we talk about?”

Chris Brogan and some others have recently written that the customer is your story, and as much as I love Chris and appreciate his work, I disagree with him here.

The Customer is Your Audience for Your Brand’s Story

The customer is not your hero. The customer is the one you want to take on the journey — the one who, at the end, identifies with, is inspired by and/ or is influenced by the hero. Should your audience be placed in the middle of your story? Well that’s for you to decide as the creator of the content marketing effort.

Your brand should always be the hero that will be transformed. Joe Pulizzi and I talk about this in Chapter 3 of our book, Managing Content Marketing. At its heart, the answer is to weave a compelling, emotionally connected story around your brand.  

In 2012 and beyond, the main reason you will be successful is because you have a specialized expertiseand because you can create a differentiated experience for your customers with that expertise. You (ideally) have a passion for the BIG idea that this expertise represents, and you’ve asked the question, “What business are we really in?”

So, in this presentation (and in the book, with much more detail), we go through the stages of what Joseph Campbell called “The Hero’s Journey,” translating it into what we call “The Brand Hero’s Journey.”

This is a construction (certainly not a template) that you can use to help brainstorm and create an emotionally engaging story for your own content marketing programs.

It’s Your Story: Make it Remarkable!

Image courtesy of Flickr/Graham Smith

Your unique brand story is one of the five core elements for running successful, scalable content marketing operations. Read our 2016 Content Marketing Framework: 5 Building Blocks for Profitable, Scalable Operations for an overview of the full strategic blueprint. 

Author: Robert Rose

Robert Rose is the founder and chief strategy officer of The Content Advisory - the consulting and education group of The Content Marketing Institute. As a strategist, Robert has worked with more than 500 companies including global brands such as Capital One, Dell, Ernst & Young, Hewlett Packard, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Robert is the author of three books. His latest, Killing Marketing, with co-author Joe Pulizzi has been said to “rewrite the rules of marketing”. His last book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, was called a “treatise, and a call to arms for marketers to lead business innovation in the 21st century.” Robert is also an early-stage investor and advisor to a number of technology startups, serving on the advisory boards for a number of companies, such as DivvyHQ and Tint. Follow him on Twitter @Robert_Rose.

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