Creed: Readers Deserve First-Hand Stories From Experienced Experts
Let’s say you wanted to read the Game of Thrones books. Would you want to read the original book written by George R. R. Martin or would you rather read something that I wrote summarizing the Game of Thrones series? I think most would say that they would want to read it the way the author intended it to be read. The same thing goes with creating content for your company; First-hand experience from the person who has lived through it is the most effective way to deliver information to your audience.
The biggest mistake you can make is to create content that is fungible. A fungible product is something that could be easily swapped out, like oil and lumber. If you buy a hundred barrels of oil from someone and they run out and happen to buy it from another source, you’ll never know. It’s fungible. I’m affiliated with a place in Austin called Wizard Academy and our vice chancellor has a bar in his office called “The Toad and The Ostrich.” If you tell a story while sitting at that bar, it becomes a fungible story. That means that I can take that story and tell it in first person if I’m ever sitting at that bar! It’s a fun game to play. (Sidenote: I actually picked up a story about a guy who came across Steve Jobs and called him Michael Dell, but I won’t be retelling that one as my own. I’ll share it with you if we ever cross paths at a Worthless Bastard Gathering.)
The point I’m trying to make is that you don’t want the content you are creating to be fungible. If I’m telling first-hand stories about my company, but I’m not the person who lived those stories, it’s never going to feel as authentic. If your company has a strong story to tell, but you allow your new marketing assistant to do it, it’s never going to be as impactful as if it came out of the mouth of the person that lived it.
We’ve done podcasting and blogging for CEOs, but we’ve also done it for some of their staff. With a software company, we’ve actually created content with their programmers because they were the ones living the stories. If you have scientists who work for you and they’ve made breakthrough, it’s much more important to let the scientists tell the story, rather than the PR guy.
Our contention is that if you can’t get those people to write, can you at least get them to sit down in front of a microphone so that your customers and potential customers can hear the first-hand stories coming out of their mouths? They are the ones who have experienced growing your company, developing your products, and working with your customers. Contact me if you have questions about creating content with your first-hand experiences.
I’ve written a post about each line of the Creed. If you’d like to see them, just click on the links below:
…the best content comes from individuals rather than organizations
…your work’s meaning and your company’s purpose are best shared through a human voice of storytelling
…communication derived from story transcends communication derived from product features
…readers deserve first-hand stories from experienced experts
…stories are best shared by experts who have lived to tell the tale rather than vicariously through writers and researchers
…the strength of your company rests in the personalities of your leaders
…sharing your wisdom through story is your best legacy