I attended the sold-out one day conference, “ Content Jam: The Secrets of Content Marketing ,” held at StoryStudio and Orbit Media’s studios in Ravenswood. Representing a cross-section of industries ranging from healthcare, technology, advertising, and the non-profit sector, everyone rolled up their sleeves, armed with a pen in one hand, and a smartphone in the other.
Here’s a recap of each of the workshops, broken down into four chapters covering ways to create, manage, promote, and measure content marketing efforts. Each section is structured to help shape the right story about your business.
Jill brought clarity and zest to her session. She presented simple writing exercises that motivated each participant to speak up and connect, helping to elucidate some key points:
It’s all in the details!
Consider basic story elements: character, setting, plot, conflict, resolution.
Details help elicit emotion, which leads to questions, tension, then opportunity. Take the opportunity to describe the details that support your story.
Your readers will emotionally connect to specific imagery, making the story come to life in their minds.
If you need to present data, convey the way statistics can parse down to the human scale. Break down generalized, global numbers to a factor that affects the individual: the reader can appreciate this by placing themselves in that role.
Who is the hero?
Happy stories are boring stories. Present instances of specific problems that your product or service helps to solve. Every story with a conflict leads to an opportunity.
Messy IS interesting.
Turn off the computer. Ideas don’t emerge from checking your email.
Get a pen and paper out and keep… on… writing. Get some momentum going; you’ll sense a rhythm that’s entirely yours. Continual writing helps to establish a base from which your ideas will spring.
Develop a method and understand what’s involved in your writing process. Accept your habits and rituals: they’re actually useful to your workflow. Go ahead and walk away from your desk. Let your other senses lead you to ideas.
If writing is part of your job description, establish a workflow that includes time and space for gathering observations; your antenna won’t pick up cues if you don’t keep yourself open to windows of opportunity.
Cultivating a writing practice at work is definitely a challenge. Like vacations and lunch hours, it’s beneficial to advocate for and institute regular timeframes into your routine. Create a calendar and plan to write. I keep a ruled pad of paper (for writing) and grid notebook (for drawing) with my favorite pen next to my keyboard. I pour a pint glass full of cold water, put my headphones on, and begin by jotting notes. Eventually, the notes become sentences, which become pages. Use pen and paper, and don’t stop. It will reward you!