Hamster wheel of content creation

Scaling Your Brand Storytelling to Feed the Content Beast

Your website, social media presences, and other marketing and communications channels are like teenagers – they’re always hungry.

“What’s for breakfast?”

“What’s for lunch?”

“What’s for dinner?”

“I need a snack.”

“Where’s the dessert?”

You feed them, then they burn it off and are back asking for more. They never seem to get full. Never satisfied. And you never seem to be able to keep the refrigerator and pantry full.

English: A hamster and a hamster wheel

English: A hamster and a hamster wheel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s easy to feel the same way about satiating your online and traditional outreach arenas. You can’t seem to stock up enough stories, photos, videos, podcasts, testimonials, and other storytelling items to keep the beast fed. So you spend every waking hour writing and creating so you have enough content to make it through another week – or maybe even just the day.

But if you’re spending all of your time on the hamster wheel of content creation, you are doing it wrong. If you’re constantly asking yourself “How can I create more content?” then you’re asking the wrong question.

The question you need to ask yourself is, “How can I get others to tell their stories?”

It’s a simple, but profound shift in approach. By engaging others to share their own stories from a first-person perspective, you get to spend more time curating, chunking content into digestible pieces for different arenas, distributing and shining a light on others’ content, and telling deeper, richer stories from multiple viewpoints.

The tools to scale storytelling are at your fingertips

The best websites are no longer online brochures. They are brand connection and transaction hubs. Use them to encourage visitors to share their personal accounts and experiences with your brand. Then showcase those on the website and in other channels.

Use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social channels to drive personal storytelling and to highlight and tease to the best stories.

A majority of Americans now have smartphones. A mobile website, or site that scales to mobile, is becoming essential. But do you know how powerful just a smartphone, data plan and/or WiFi, and a cloud storage account can be for your brand? Or a mobile app that facilitates brand storytelling and/or customer service?

Newer smartphones feature solid cameras – some have high-resolution front cameras for photography as well as back cameras for self-video or chatting. Many also now shoot HD video. Some come with native cloud storage apps, and those companies often offer free basic packages.

Not everything you get will be as polished or as professional as what you might produce, but I guarantee the potential is there for much more authentic, compelling, and personal content than anything you can produce. And tons and tons of it.

How can you leverage today’s technology to drive real-time, user-generated content? How would that benefit your online and social programs? How could  that support your traditional media relations efforts? How can that help you build stronger relationships with customers, clients, donors, or other key constituencies? With that much content at your disposal, would you be freed up to tell the stories that otherwise wouldn’t be told?

Now, you can either get back to creating content, or you can start building the hamster wheel that runs itself. It’s up to you.