Guest post: Story is at the heart of content

Hearts and Minds.

Smart people keep things simple.

Managing multi-platform social media channels, keeping up-to-date with the latest tech trends and ever advancing design doesn’t sound simple – I hear you.

Strategy is important. SEO is important. But story is also important and it could be the missing connection on your communications agenda.

Story is at the heart of the matter.

Deep seated belief in the organisation – its messages, aims, the task it performs, the people it serves – is something we tend to overlook when we think about the social media arsenal, but it’s important in more ways than one.

The story of your organisation is the energy centre of your communications team. What inspires them to want to tell your story? Are they excited about what you have to offer? Do they feel engaged with their role? and the purpose of the organisation?

If they don’t know it – they can’t give it. Make sense?

Paull Young from charity:water knows the value of appealing to quick fingers, tech thumbs and fast moving feeds but he slices through it simply with a bigger picture idea, “the true aims of any organisation are the hearts and minds of its audience – those of your team as well as your external audience.”

Hearts and minds are where change is made and that is precisely where good story goes.

Robert McKee, screenwriter, maintains “storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today. Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.”

And I believe him.

Like everyone, I contend with the content monster when it comes to connecting with my audience, or I did before I began thinking more like a storyteller and less like an information generator. The concept of content just doesn’t inspire me – the essence of storytelling does.

It was the story of the founder which led me to my current role in comms. He’s not a spin doctor, he wasn’t selling anything to me. He was a man who responded to need with no ordinary measure of labour, determination and heart. When I heard the story, it struck mine and I was moved by it.

I can relay his story and the story of the children his organisation helps, because I believe it, and I believe in it. In terms of social media, stories are the value we give back to the audience we engage. Stories are what they respond to best. Beyond the race for thumbs and digits in the pursuit of hearts and minds.

Have you tried story as the way to get you there?

Jo Smith is the Communications Coordinator for Beyond the Orphanage. She began work in broadcast radio and TV journalism.  A volunteer trip to Cambodia to write a book, lead to a career in charity communications.  She’s a storyteller at heart and she passionately believes that information and education change everything. You can read more from her at the Beyond the Orphanage blog.

*Beyond the Orphanage is a client of ntegrity agency.

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