content revolution

I recently delved into Mark Masters’ world of content, and boy was I happy I did.

As a writer, I’m biased when it comes to the subject of content writing. Of course I think it’s important, and of course I believe content is of the utmost importance when standing out from the crowd – I tell my clients this every day.

But Mark’s inspirational book achieves this and a whole lot more – he changes the way people from all backgrounds think about content.

All in business, be it a huge company or a stand-alone freelancer, are vying for new business; it doesn’t just arrive and sit in our laps. We all have to work for it. With a huge number of prospective clients out there, we have to think of new ways to engage with our chosen audiences. Mark Masters opens our eyes to just that – connecting with these chosen audiences by using content to tell a better story.

But what does he mean by content in his revolution? Content isn’t just the written word (although again, I am biased. Print journalism I will always love you).

There’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, WordPress, YouTube…(need I go on?) and as MM (I like that he sounds like a super hero now) explains: ‘…we should be adding value though sharing information that is relevant to the interests of others. Your ultimate aim is to make the lives of your audience better, easier, and more time-rich.’

But why do we need to share content with our ‘clients’? MM explains this in simple terms: ‘One thing that has not changed since the dawn of time, no matter how big the technological advances have been, is the need for businesses and people to build relationships. People do business with those they know, like and trust’. And how will you build up a relationship with them? Through content.

But you have a business that sells a particular product – what does this mean for you? Well, how do you stand out from the crowd, how do you connect with your customers, and why should they come to you rather than someone else in the marketplace that provides exactly the same thing? MM states: ‘There is the potential to attracts a much bigger pool of prospective customers if you are providing something of value rather than merely selling a product or service.’ A-HA. Sharing your knowledge and story perhaps?

And everyone can tell a story. Be it a story to your mates in the pub of something that happened at the weekend, to a job interview, to a date that went badly; we can all talk about stories with us as the main character. MM simply points out that this also works in business. We’re all kind of specialists in our own chosen business and can definitely tell a story about that.

As we are all taught at school, ‘write from your own experiences.’ And of course, our business, product and service ARE our own experiences…! When MM says ‘The more compelling the stories, the more others will say “I can relate to that’’ ‘, this is how your experiences, however big or small, can influence others and really allow them to connect with you on a level above normal business practice.

So you can tell your story, yes? But how and where? As if by magic, super hero MM tells us: ‘The tools with which you need to be armed today (in the digital era) are: energy, knowledge, consistency, an email account, a computer, Wi – Fi and an abundance of ways to reach an audience.’ Yes, you guessed it, he tells us that too: ’Since the start of this century, the sophistication of new media channels has completely changed the way in which we interact with others via: websites, blogs, email, social media…’ (I’ll stop there. You really need to buy the book!)

If you needed any more clarification as to why you should tell your story, MM even cites Robert Rose, Chief Strategist of the Content Marketing Institute: ‘The stories we tell are the only differentiator we have left.’

So now I get it. Be different, tell your story, and enlighten other people with your own experiences and tales that you have to tell. They’ll respect you, connect with you, trust you and hopefully, the icing on the cake – start a business relationship with you.

I couldn’t put The Content Revolution down. I walked, book in hand to a meeting, almost walked into a lamppost, had to manoeuvre around a small dog and must have looked like a complete lunatic as I kept nodding, exclaiming ‘yes!’ and stopped to make pencil notes every 200 yards.

I won’t ruin the whole book for you – you must read it. But a fantastic quote about reaping the words of content comes from Kirk Cheyfitz, Co-CEO of Story Worldwide: ‘The right content strategy unites and empowers all of a business’ communications of all sorts across all channels. Research has shown that [sharing your content] can have nine times the reach of traditional messaging and two to four times the impact on purchase behaviour.’

This is something that can benefit everyone, no matter which industry they are in.

If you care for your business, want to make a refreshing change and would like to find a way of connecting with like-minded people, read Mark’s book. I guarantee you can’t make it to chapter two without making notes in the margin.