Peaks and Valleys

(Source: The Baltimore Sun)

The storyteller makes no choice soon you will not hear his voice his job is to shed light and not to masterTerrapin Station

There are many different titles for content creators these days. Some companies stick with the tried and true, others try to impart these duties with more elaborate, hip monikers. At the end of the day, however, the goal is the same – to create content to drive business.

What makes content good? How is a brand best represented through content marketing? It helps to have a good story to tell. Strike that. You must have a compelling story to tell.

The structure of the story should be straightforward: there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. If you’ve got a story in mind it’s really not that hard to get from point A, to point B, to point C. But to make that story compelling an a whole different project.

One technique for helping to craft a story it to build in context. This is one area where someone trained as an historian can really make a difference because providing that context is a huge part of studying history.

Withing each segment of the story there should be at least one or two peaks and valleys. The valleys describe a problem, the dilemma at hand. The peak that rises up from that valley describes how the item under consideration – a business, a brand, an app, whatever it may be – aids in the resolution of the core problem.

The valleys are obviously the area in your content where you want to appeal to your target customers, to win them to your side, to help orient them to your point of view. If your marketing team has done their research who these people are should be pretty clear. (If the research hasn’t been done yet, you’re not ready to write about it!)

The peaks are your opportunities to induce that epiphany where the reader moves their cursor to take one of several actions – hopefully sharing the content and providing a conversion.

Historians spend years studying human interactions and reading and writing stories. As a result, they’re some of the most adept at crafting stories that provide the type of hook that draws customers in.

As the quote above suggests, the goal of the storyteller is not necessarily to master everything, but to point the light in the correct places to make the story come alive.


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