In his book Epic Content Marketing, Joe Pulizzi describes storytelling as a strategy that creates content that goes far beyond solutions or products to illuminate the very nature of an organization and its reason for being.
Stories are the most powerful tool in the content marketing arsenal. As humans, we are hardwired for them. When content marketers reach beyond intent to create stories, they tap into something that brings us together as human beings. They inspire us.
At its heart, content marketing is organizational storytelling with a purpose. You may think your organization doesn’t have an inspiring story, but all organizations have a tale (or two) to tell. Here are some common organizational stories and examples that have the power to move readers.
- The Genesis Story. Stanford University classmates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded HP in 1939 in a one-car garage in Palo Alto, California. Its first product was an audio oscillator, an electronic test instrument used by sound engineers; Walt Disney Studios purchased eight units to develop a sound system for the movie Fantasia. Now HP provides solutions and services to customers in many industries, and it reported revenues of more than $120 billion in 2012.
- The Service Story. Amazon Web Services (AWS) features a complete set of infrastructure and application services that enables customers to run enterprise applications, big data projects, social games, mobile apps, and more in the cloud. The large scale of AWS means that it can offer low prices, so startups can avoid costly infrastructure spending. The company makes it simple for developers to learn to use the solution by providing built-in help documentation and code samples. AWS is now one of the industry’s largest providers of cloud infrastructures.
- The Culture Story. Google is famous for its culture of innovation and unconventional thinking. The company strives to maintain a work ethic that is often associated with startups, in which everyone contributes and shares ideas. In weekly meetings, “Googlers” can ask direct questions of the leadership. Its philosophy encompasses employee perks such as free meals, child care facilities, and even high-tech toilets that are designed to keep workers happy. Though Google values success, it seems to shrug off failure, and has been known to launch solutions on a weekly basis. Its current market capitalization is more than $295 billion.
- The Hero Story. Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, like Hewlett and Packard before him, founded Apple computer with two partners in his parents’ garage in 1976. From these humble origins, Apple grew into a multimillion-dollar company, but in 1985, Apple leadership shunned Jobs, who eventually quite the company. Jobs went on to found NeXT Computer and Pixar before returning to the helm of Apple in 1996. The story of how Jobs started two other companies and then returned to Apple as a different kind of leader is a narrative that closely follows the classic hero’s journey.
Interested in learning more about how you can incorporate the elements of storytelling in your own B2B content marketing? View the on-demand webinar, “Build a Blueprint for Content Marketing Success“