Content fills a hole but stories are balm for the soul

when you make mistakes focus on service recoveryEverybody and their cat has been talking about content and how it’s king or queen or something in between, but I’ve noticed that these very words can send chills up a small business owner’s spine. What I hear consistently is this: “It’s too hard, too scary, too overwhelming. I can’t do that.”

There seems to be this collective lack of confidence when it comes to small business content marketing. Why is this so? Well, let’s look at how content marketing has been spun.

Why the lack of confidence in content?

As an industry we’ve been telling people that they must become self publishers and media empires in order to succeed in the online space. No wonder business owners feel overwhelmed.

If you’re running an online shop selling tea to independent stores, you don’t really picture yourself as the next Rupert Murdoch and neither do you want to. You just want to sell tea!

For marketing professionals, the content marketing revolution is exhilarating. We content creators and strategists talk about it a lot because we can see the possibilities for business growth (not to mention the growth of humanity). However, to the regular business person out there (one who is not a content nerd, who doesn’t lose sleep over blog posts and email marketing campaigns), it just sounds like extra expense and extra work.

How not to lose a small business owner in 15 seconds

content marketing or story marketingIf you’re a marketing consultant working with small business owners or you’re an in-house marketing manager for a small or medium size business, it’s important to help bridge the gap for owners and CEOs. And if you’re a business owner who is DIYing your marketing, feel free to listen in here.

Most business people have heard about content marketing but that doesn’t necessarily mean they understand it. Don’t lose people with boring jargon. Content? That could be about anything! Content just fills a hole.

On the other hand, the word “story” is like balm to the soul. People immediately get what you’re talking about. When you talk about telling someone’s story, it creates a hunger to be heard. At  the end of the day, that’s what every business wants… to stand out from the crowd, to be noticed, to be heard.

Content is merely a vehicle for sharing powerful stories, so stop focusing on the plane and start painting a picture of the destination. At the end of the day it’s not content, but the powerful stories in your content that win new customers and help establish brand loyalty.

Every business has a powerful story to share. My job as a content strategist is to help businesses share theirs in the most compelling ways.

When you frame content creation as storytelling, it’s easier for businesses to see content marketing as an investment, rather than a cost. It’s easier for them to think of creative ways to tell their stories without it being a time-burden.

I am a huge believer in the power of story as a marketing tool. Recently I attended a training day to become a Zumba Instructor (yes, can you believe it?) and what struck me most about that day was the powerful story behind the brand. No wonder Zumba has such a loyal, passionate community across the globe!

How do you feel about content marketing? Are marketers making it sound too hard? Should we really be calling it ‘story marketing’? I’d really love to know your thoughts. Share your comment below.

*Free Business Storytelling Virtual Training Event*

I’d really love to help you get started with some ideas on how to harness storytelling in your marketing, so I’m hosting a free virtual training event on business storytelling on Friday June 13 AEST (June 12th for my US friends). I’ll be interviewing award winning scriptwriter and filmmaker Katrina Graham. Katrina is an expert storyteller and she lectures in filmmaking and creative script writing at the Queensland University of Technology here in Brisbane, Australia. She is one of my favourite people and I can’t wait for you to hear her storytelling tips.

This is a CMC subscriber-only event, so to join us, simply sign up to my mailing list here:

ps: There’s no upsell at this event. We’re just going to be focused on storytelling. Can’t wait!

  • Storewars News

    read! Very informative. Something interesting: Lotte Foods, Nestle launch joint
    venture. Read it here:

  • Danielle Royall-West

    Great article Cas!

    • Cas McCullough

      Thanks Dani!

  • Anika

    I like to tell a story …. :-)