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 is a world-renowned storyteller, an entertaining speaker, and a prolific author. Having lived, worked, and studied on five continents, she's partnered with top brands and conferences to train thousands of people how to rethink the work that they do and the impact they can have. Her visionary expertise has inspired and equipped leaders at all levels to embrace change, welcome new ideas, and transform their business.

Her work with Fortune 500 brands served as the foundation for many of her books. Her tenth, RE:Think Innovation, is a #1 new release that busts the myth that innovation is something that requires a specific degree or special training. In fact, Carla explains why, to be a successful company in today's hyper-competitive, customer-driven world, innovation must be everyone's business. Her goal is to teach one million people how to become innovators by 2025.

Consistently named one of the top influencers in B2B, digital and content marketing, Carla regularly challenges conventional thinking. Today, she travels the world teaching anyone (and everyone) how to cultivate idea-driven teams that breed unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation.