HI! I’m Cherie (Mercado-Santos), and my background is broadcast journalism. And in journalism, content is our lifeblood.
It has been my life to research, interview, check facts and collaborate. And then put it down as a cohesive and palatable piece of information or story.
Why do you need to transform content into stories?
Stories are what people listen to.
Stories are a better way to present facts and information.
Stories are a way for a brand to connect to its customers.
I realized that in digital marketing, content in a form of story-telling is a key factor in making your brand a success.
Your customers will gravitate towards you through the stories you tell.
Your stories can also help them with their current challenges.
You may have noticed that I interchange the word “content” with the word “story”. That’s because ideally each content should be told as a story.
It could be presenting details or data, but it’s got to be brought down to a level of an individual. A person, your customer, should be able to see how your numbers or the data relate to him and his challenges.
So these are the steps I follow to make a good story
First, create your content. Gather the data you need for your topic. Research. Check reliable sites on the internet and validate through other credible sites or ask opinions from experts.
Interview. You don’t have to leave your homes. You can email experts. Reach out to them via their public social media accounts. Make sure you introduce yourself well, and let them know that you plan to publish their answers. Give them a link to your company’s website so they can judge for themselves if they want to be a part of your content. Send your questions on your email. You’ll be surprised how many experts would want to make their views known.
Another option in asking experts is to write the draft first, and then you can email it, and ask for their opinions or inputs. This is a great way for you to collaborate and make your piece thorough and credible.
But let me just say that you can make content even without interviewing experts. You can rely on the gold mine of content online. But expert interviews could be valuable in certain types of content.
Next, you double check your data. When I worked with CNN, our rule of thumb is to verify with three credible sources. Only then can we publish a story.
Once your data and your facts are checked, then it’s time to step back and see how you can deliver these facts as a story — “storifying” your content, as if you’re telling them to a friend.
You will find that while you’re doing that, you’re editing yourself. Because in the same way as you tell a story, you don’t get to include all the details that you know or have gathered. It will be very tempting to put everything in, especially since you worked hard to gather these information. But a successful story has to have bite-sized pieces of information.
Make sure your audience can digest, before you present them with another set of information.
So a good rule of thumb is to not make it data-heavy. The important thing is, your audience — your friend— is able to take away two or three pieces of good information from your piece.
You can save the other data for your next story.
In storifying, try to answer these questions: why does my audience need to know these information? How can it help them?
One guiding principle I stick to in telling my stories? Simplify. And you can only simplify once you know a lot about your topic. That’s why research is key.
It is that gold mine of knowledge that you now have, that will allow you to craft that simple but memorable piece.