Arment Dietrich

Storytelling, Search, and Social Media

By: Arment Dietrich | March 26, 2010 | 

As Wednesday was winding down, the last session I attended was about story telling.  Although it ran an hour and 15 minutes, I found only four overarching finds from the panel.

1. According to this panel, what makes a good story is shock, humor, and emotional elements.

2. No matter how you tell your story, you MUST know your audience or your risk alienating them.

3. B2B does not have to be boring.  Have fun with it.

4. Tell your story in other places than your Web site!

To me, you don’t need to make you story emotional, funny, or shocking to create something good.  So I don’t preach what was given to us during this session. You should know where your audience is, what they are already reading, and what they care about.  I believe that if you’ve done your research and you know exactly who your audience is, than you know what to write for them.

I do love that they pointed out that your stories should be in places other than your Web site.  Blogs, tweets, networks, newsletters, do other activities to saturate the audience.

  • Sounds like an excellent workshop. Maybe I should plan one of those.

    I’ve found that having fun with a story is a sure fire way to gain a following. But, for a story to go viral, you have to present subjects with substance. I’ve had success with serious subjects, some have focused on stories most of us prefer not to think about. When done professionally, a well-written piece can enhance your reputation.

    Last year, I wrote a piece on the rising death toll in the drug war in Mexico for Impact Lab (the Davinci Institute) and it went viral. Also received email on this topic that you would think would have few detractors. But, I also promoted some solutions with the story and these suggestions prompted some responses, which is a good thing.

    No matter the style, you should use an economy of language and get straight to the point. Newspaper style is best, and keep it short.

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  • Good points and I agree. B2B really needs to incorporate more fun into social media storytelling. B2C, of course, has tons of examples. Sadly, there aren’t tons of great b2b examples that even I can think of – and I look out for these things. I also want to point out that stories need the element of the “unexpected” – the surprise. Maybe that’s what the panel calls “shock,” although I see these two elements as slightly different. Surprise is the secret sauce behind the fun. And stories can be both fun and substantive at the same time.