- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 13, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1119483352
- ISBN-13: 978-1119483359
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Storytelling Edge: How to Transform Your Business, Stop Screaming into the Void, and Make People Love You Hardcover – February 13, 2018
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From the Inside Flap
Humans have told each other stories since we lived in caves and huddled around campfires. We told them to remember. We told them to survive. We told them to build relationships and make people care.
Every business throughout history has wanted to do exactly that: build relationships and make people care. Savvy leaders tell stories to sell their ideas and themselves. This used to be a nice-to-have skill. But in the digital era, it's become crucial. Harness the power of storytelling, and businesses and their leaders will win advocates and customers at a larger scale than ever before. Disregard storytelling, and they'll risk irrelevanceand total failure.
Smart companies today understand the need to use content to connect with the people they care about. But few know how to do it well. That puts them at a disadvantage. Indeed, the ability to tell great stories is the critical skill that every organization and individual needs to succeed in tomorrow's business world.
In The Storytelling Edge the content strategy minds behind Contently, the world renowned content marketing technology company, reveal their secrets that have helped Fortune 500 companies (and many others) to build relationships with millions of customers. Join authors Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow as they build on years of experience and compelling original research to dive into the neuroscience of storytelling, the surprising elements of powerful stories, and methodologies for growing businesses by creating engaging and accountable content. And at the same time, they show how leaders can use these same storytelling tools to build stronger, more loyal teams inside their own companies.
Great stories stick with us. They change our minds. They spur us to action. The Storytelling Edge shows how to weave stories into your products and customer experiences, your marketing and presentations, your ad campaigns and personal communication. With The Storytelling Edge as your guide, you will tap into the power of great storytelling today and keep your competitive edge tomorrow.
From the Back Cover
PRAISE FOR THE STORYTELLING EDGE
"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
"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
Content strategists Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow offer an insider's guide to transforming your businessand all the relationships that matter to itthrough the art and science of telling great stories.
Smart businesses know that they need to use stories to connect to the people they care about. But few know how to do it well. In The Storytelling Edge, the content 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 carein work and in life.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
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The entire book rests on two central premises: 1. To succeed, you need to tell great stories which stand out from the saturated market of content. One way to do that is to hire and build an in-house editorial team - but if you can't afford the cost and logistics of all that, then surprise! We at Contently have a freelance network of writers you can use. 2. The other main thing you need for success is great technology, and hey guess what, we at Contently make technology which does exactly what you need! Here are some painful anecdotes about how much people love our technology which you can buy. Buy now. Call in the next 11 minutes and get a free set of steak knives.
It's a shame, because there is a lot of great/interesting content in the book - but that is overshadowed by the slow setups for nauseating sales punchlines. Contrary to the narrative of the book's own advice, the story is significantly overshadowed by the pitch.
Stories are timeless: they have been used throughout history for good and evil. Dictators have used stories to inspire fear and mistrust, and to make people believe in wrong and hateful ideas.
Since the earliest of times they were also used for good. Evolutionary biologists believe that the brain developed the ability to tell stories around the same time as our ability to speak. To survive, people had to work together, hunting, gathering, building shelters, and so on. Before we had developed writing, the lessons we needed to teach our children, so they would survive, had to be passed on through stories.
This may be why we are now hardwired to dramatize, to imagine, and to be drawn into good stories. Stories also have the effect of causing us to feel connected to people who share stories, even stories that are not about ourselves. Simply recall how experiencing the same movie brings you and your partner closer.
“Storytelling is becoming an essential skill in any job,” the authors assert. Bombarded by PowerPoints and status updates, many have forgotten how to tell a good story. No one I know of ever came home and excitedly shared a good PowerPoint with their partner, but many have shared a good story.
Smart leaders tell stories to inspire and motivate us. The best business books and speakers use stories to help us remember their ideas. Good stories help salespeople get in doors, enrich a company's reputation, and can increase clients’ connection with the organizations.
In the late 2000s, Ford was in trouble. The brand was getting a reputation for low quality.
To respond to this, Ford used stories to get people to care again. Documentary films were made in their factories where employees were interviewed while working on the assembly lines, and designing the next generation of cars.
The interviewees told the audience: “We know that we have screwed up. We know that Ford isn't what it used to be, but we are all working hard to turn things around and to make our cars awesome again. So, we're going to show you the stories of the people who are your neighbours, who are working on these cars, who are working to make this product once more the product that you know and love.” This series of videos was an important early step in Ford's long journey to changing the quality perception.
General Electric (GE) faced multiple challenges in 2008. The global economy was in trouble, the company's shares were falling, and GE had developed a reputation as stodgy and out-of-touch.
The reputation was contrary to the facts. GE makes some of the most exciting inventions in the world, from jet engines to solar generators. While it is a monster-size, Fortune 500 company, it has a start-up culture.
GE began telling stories, and it isn’t a coincidence that years of significant success followed.
One commercial shows a fictitious engineer, Owen, trying to explain his cool new job developing breakthrough code as a GE engineer to his befuddled friends and family. They think he is going to work on a train or in a warehouse. This sparked one of most successful recruiting campaigns in GE's history with applications for engineering positions going up by 800%!
The company has become a magnet for science nerds on Reddit, and its shares have quadrupled from $7.06 in March 2009 to $31.44 in 2017.
The ease of posting stories or sharing them verbally, makes storytelling ever more difficult. In 2010, Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, reported that we now create as much information every two days as we did in human history up until 2003, and it is increasing.
Our storytelling must be superb to be given a hearing, let alone shared. The author offers much good advice, and I share just some items.
Good stories must have “Relatability”, because we cannot get emotionally and intellectually involved in a story that is “too out there”. BuzzFeed has headlines such as “25 Things You'll Understand If You Grew Up with Asian Parents.” Many people sent this article on to people with Asian parents who could really relate to it, resulting in literally millions reading it.
“One of the secrets to BuzzFeed and a lot of the modern Internet's successful viral sites, is they don't try to speak to everyone in every story; they try to relate very deeply to specific identity groups and bet that those groups will share these stories prolifically.”
Good stories must have “Tension”. The worst love story ever, would be: “Jack and Jill grew up in houses next to each other. They were friends since they were kids. They decided to get married because, well, why not? It made sense. The families knew each other. And everyone was fine.” No tension. No hardship. No drama. Everything was just… boring.
Compare this to Romeo and Juliet where there's so much working against the characters. Their families hate each other. They must keep their love secret, and they're willing to die for each other so that they can be together.
The most popular writers (including JK Rawlings) write at lower reading levels than their peers. The authors call this “fluency”. The reader doesn’t have to think about what it means - the story simply flows as efficiently as possible.
You can't create mediocre content and expect to stand out. The authors suggest you ask this question: “If they're searching for an answer to a question, would they rather reach your piece of content than anything else on the Internet right now?” Unless the answer is: Yes, this is 10 times better than anything else out there, it may not be worth publishing.
This book could really help making your story worth putting out there.
Readability Light -+--- Serious
Insights High --+-- Low
Practical High -+--- Low
*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy and is the author of the recently released ‘Executive Update.
"For a company to sustain success over time, it takes more than making great products and providing extraordinary service: Every business needs customers, and the product/service provider's communication efforts are absolutely essential. For anyone wanting to gain the perspective of those at the forefront of modern corporate communications, "The Storytelling Edge" from Joe Lazauskas, Shane Snow and Contently is extremely valuable. In a very accessible and straightforward way, they make a clear case for the brilliant impact of shrewd storytelling throughout history. From there, the experiences gained through their ambitious work serving scores of top-tier brands allow them to demonstrate, in scientific fashion, exactly how to use storytelling to reach the most people to impact a company's objectives. Arriving there, as they write, 'things get really interesting.' The lessons shared not only highlight the results of their data-driven approaches to content strategy, they also educate us on the precise means for improving our strategic communications efforts, scientifically."
That said, it is well written and a fairly quick read. Their analysis of the value of storytelling is on-point, but the book stretches the concept to its limit by spending too much time on stories and not enough time offering tools to effectively craft stories. I'm disappointed because it really held a lot of promise.