The Storytelling Edge: How to Transform Your Business, Stop Screaming into the Void, and Make People Love You
"A terrific and timely book that makes a compelling case for fundamentally rethinking how your business communicates. Recommended!"
—Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert and author of Hug Your Haters
"Once upon a time, storytelling was confused with talking at people. Not anymore. Shane and Joe are your narrators in a journey that will transform how you talk to other human beings to be more believable, relevant, compelling and unforgettable."
—Brian Solis, experience architect, digital anthropologist, best-selling author
"Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas spend the overwhelming majority of their time thinking, writing, and theorizing about brand storytelling - so you don't have to. They're smart and they know this topic inside out (and sideways). Read their book. While I can't guarantee you'll rise to Shane and Joe's ridiculously obsessive level, you will be infinitely better prepared to tell your own brand's story. Promise!"
—Rebecca Lieb, Analyst, Author & Advisor
"The Contently team understands the power of story, and how to craft and spread a great narrative, like no other. In an era where brand, design, and mission are a competitive advantage for every business, Contently underscores the importance of stories and how they transform companies and industries."
—Scott Belsky, Entrepreneur, Investor, & Author (Founder of Behance, bestselling author of Making Ideas Happen)
"I can't think of a better way to illustrate the power of story telling than by telling great stories. This book should be required reading not just by those with content in their titles, but by anyone in Marketing AND Sales. Then, when you're done, give it to your CEO to read... but make sure you get it back, because I guarantee you'll refer to it more than once."
—Shawna Dennis, Senior Marketing Leader
"Neuroscience, algorithms, illustrations, personal anecdotes and good, old-fashioned empathy: This entertaining and informative tome journeys to the core of how we communicate and pushes us, as marketers and humans, to do it better, "speeding the reader through and leaving us wanting more."
—Ann Hynek, VP of global content marketing at Morgan Stanley
Transform your business through the power of storytelling.
Content strategists Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow offer an insider's guide to transforming your business—and all the relationships that matter to it—through the art and science of telling great stories.
Smart businesses today understand the need to use stories to better connect with the people they care about. But few know how to do it well. In The Storytelling Edge, the strategy minds behind Contently, the world renowned content marketing technology company, reveal their secrets that have helped award-winning brands to build relationships with millions of advocates and customers.
Join as they dive into the neuroscience of storytelling, the elements of powerful stories, and methodologies to grow businesses through engaging and accountable content.
With The Storytelling Edge you will discover how leaders and workers can craft the powerful stories that not only build brands and engage customers, but also build relationships and make people care—in work and in life.
About the Authors xv
Stories Matter xviii
Businesses Need to Tell Good Stories xix
Workers and Leaders Need to Tell Good Stories xx
Who Are We? xx
Why This Book? xxii
1 The Power of Story 1
Jacques and the Beggar 4
And Now for Shane’s Favorite Ryan Gosling Story 5
Our Brains Are Built for Story 8
Stories Help Us Remember 10
Stories Generate Empathy—at the
Chemical Level 12
Stories Bring Us Together 14
With Great Power . . . 19
2 The Elements of Great Storytelling 23
Element 1: Relatability 25
Element 2: Novelty 29
What Movie Popularity Data Tell Us about
Element 3: Tension 35
Element 4: Fluency 38
3 Honing Your Storytelling Chops 41
Universal Storytelling Frameworks 43
The Ben Franklin Method for Improving Story Skills 48
The Sludge Report 52
4 Transforming Business with Storytelling 57
How Stories Make Products and Services Better 62
Stories Make Advertising Better 68
Stories Make Your Sales Conversions Better 71
Stories Make Your Hiring Process Better 73
Stories Build Your Brand 74
How We Built the Most Influential Content
Strategy Blog on Earth 79
#1: Committing to a Mission 79
#2: Getting Smart about Audience 81
#3: Establishing a Strategic Methodology 83
5 The Killer Formula for Building an Audience 85
The CCO Pattern: Create, Connect, Optimize 87
Connect: The Storytelling Bull’s-Eye 94
Create: The Story Funnel-Matrix 100
Optimize: Cranking the Efficiency 104
6 The Brand Newsroom 113
The Talent Race 116
The Virtual Newsroom 118
What Type of Newsroom Do You Prefer? 119
7 The Future of Brand Storytelling 121
#1: Breakthrough Quality Storytelling 125
#2: Rigorously Strategic 128
#3: Tech-Enabled and Data-Optimized 132
The Content Decision Engine 135
The Content Operating Wheel 136
8 The Storytelling Habit 157
Selling Storytelling Inside Your Organization 160
A Culture of Storytelling 164
May the Story Force Be with You 165