Content Marketing and the Rise of the Citizen Storyteller


February 17, 2015
For companies to make the transition from telling stories to creating brand experiences, they have to focus on the power of amplifying the essence of their brand story. Confining storytelling strictly to the brand or PR teams limits the value and impact that can be had.

Creating citizen storytellers isn’t only about tapping the ranks for ideas to develop into content. That’s still very important, but back up one step further. If you want to make all of your content operations and storytelling activities more efficient, start with infusing your brand story into every aspect of how your company walks, talks, thinks and acts. Starting with the marketing ecosystem.

Citizen storytellers

Let’s back up a few decades and talk about a minute about citizen journalism. It rose from the public’s growing disdain for being at the receiving end of a one-way conversation. These people felt isolated and, as an audience, turned the tables on reporting in a way that made news more “real” and participatory through people (citizens) who cared and shared their passionate voices.

When you look at that idea in the marketing ecosystem and the ability to create valuable experiences for audiences, those outside of the core “story” team need to be more participatory in how the story is told, rather than being on the receiving end of information they’re fed.

Creating the storytelling corps

For brands to complete their transition into true media companies they need to recognize the need for citizen storytellers and nurture their ideas, creativity and ability to activate a message.

The brand story starts with the marketing or content marketing team. But this group can’t be the sole orators and the keepers of the keys. Few companies are putting the resources behind a content team to enable them to be everywhere they need to be to create personalized, consistency and continuity with the message.

Who else in your marketing ecosystem need to be storytellers? Demand gen. Field marketing. Corporate communications. PR. Social. On and on.

Telling the brand story to marketing’s audience is different from telling the story through demand gen as much as it’s different for field marketing. It’s not the same audience and content shouldn’t be treated the same.

HOWEVER, all of these stories must tie together. No one team tells the brand story across the entire journey that audiences have when they make buying decisions. That’s why every group within a company has their own special role in telling the story. They need to be able to understand the context of the bigger picture and then add their passionate voice to it in ways that matter to their unique audiences.

Building story continuity

The beauty of reading a great story is that there’s more than one character that makes the plot come alive. With every great story comes subplots and different characters. Make sure that you’re taking full advantage of the core group of the most influential storytellers and the unique ways in which your story needs to be told through each of them.

What’s your brand doing to weave a consistent brand story through your marketing organization? What are your biggest struggles? I’d love to hear what’s going on in your world.

Read part 2.

Are you interested in helping your employees better understand your brand story and then live it? Contact me and let’s talk about how we can help. Or follow me on LinkedIn, and  Twitter, and if you like what you see, Subscribe here for regular updates.

About Carla

Carla Johnson Innovation Creativity Speaker Author

Carla Johnson helps leaders who are often paralyzed by traditional thinking. They suffer from slow growth, an eroding competitive advantage, low employee engagement, and depleted investor confidence. Their teams lack purpose and progress and constantly battle a resistance to change and new ideas.

As the world’s leading innovation architect, Carla’s spent 20 years helping leaders shatter limits and discover undiscovered possibilities. Through years of research, she’s developed a simple, scalable 5-step process that teaches people how to consistently produce inspired ideas that lead to uncommon outcomes.