The importance of storytelling in business pervaded Social Media Marketing World 2016. Whether it’s real-time stories shared on Facebook Live, Periscope, or, to how you approach visual storytelling on Instagram, to how to capture audiences with momentary stories on Snapchat, business storytelling is taking center stage. And it appears we all have to get comfortable starring on our own live TV. We own it now.

I had the honor of hosting one of the first workshops. Six hundred plus attendees flowed into the conference hall preparing to dive into story. I felt their eagerness for the start of this annual gathering of international social media professionals.


If this wasn’t exciting enough, at least for me, Michael Stelzner hosted me and my approach to business storytelling on his Social Media Examiner podcast last Friday Story for Business: How to Create Stories That Move People to Act. My wife, Michele, and I had a blast listening to the episode as we drove across the desert from Phoenix to San Diego, while watching my Twitter feed blow-up with such wonderful comments.

I think we struck a nerve, Michael.

Thank you. I can’t imagine a better way to kickoff my first Social Media Marketing World experience.

The Workshop: How to Craft and Tell Compelling Stories that Sell

I had 90 minutes to accomplish my promise to the audience: that I was Alfred to their Batman or Batwoman, and that I had a utility belt of tips and techniques that would help them reignite their one true superpower – storytelling. This is how I tackled it…

  1. Explained why story is more important now than ever in business, especially B2B marketing, to rise above the noise of the attention economy and connect with customers on an emotional level to move them to action
  2. Demonstrated how story is as important to our brains for survival as oxygen is to our lungs
  3. Helped 600+ people craft their own story in just 10 minutes to prove that we were all at the tops of our storytelling games in kindergarten, and that we just need to inspire this innate ability in each of us

Plus, I shared a few examples of storytelling in business and content marketing. Here’s what Judi Bonilla, who bravely shared her story with the audience, had to say about the workshop. Or thoughts from Jan Zajac, who came all the way from Poland and started his #SMMW16 whirlwind with the Business of Story.

And then I got blessed with this piece of art from the heart, from Anne McColl. Anne is a gifted San Diego copywriter, among other obvious talents.


She captured the Story Cycle process in her own way. What a gift from Anne on Twitter following my presentation. Thank you!

Going back to Jan’s blog about the Business of Story workshop, his only lament is that he would’ve liked to seen a few more business applications. To be clear, I focused on helping attendees craft their own personal/professional leadership stories, which I have found is the best way to understand and apply an intentional narrative structure like the Story Cycle to your world. Once you have gone through it with your own story, then it’s easier to apply it to your brand or business story.

New Business of Story Brand Strategy Workbook

I also launched the new Brand Story Workbook. It takes you step-by-step through the Story Cycle to apply it to your company or brand. The workbook will help you:

  1. screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-7-39-51-amCraft a compelling position statement
  2. Understand your top three audiences
  3. Align your brand goals with your customers’ goals
  4. Articulate your unique value proposition
  5. Identify and overcome your obstacles and antagonists
  6. Define your brand’s promise, gift and personality
  7. Map the customer story journey from awareness to adoption to appreciation
  8. Pinpoint success mile markers to build engagement with your audiences
  9. Connect your brand values with customer values
  10. Declare your purpose and craft your brand statement

This is the same process that we have been leading organizations and nonprofits through for more than decade, and I’ve finally made it available for the first time in this workbook.

I am hosting a live Blab session on Friday, April 29, at 10 am (PDT) to answer any questions you may have with the workbook. Please put this on your calendar today, and bring your questions.

Reignite Your One True Superpower – Storytelling – In This New Video Series

While we were listening to the Social Media Examiner podcast road tripping through the desert, we were also launching a new video series on YouTube. In ten short and informative videos, I walk you through each step of the Story Cycle. They complement the workbook so you have a video reference as you develop your brand story strategy. Check ’em out.

Wisdom and Wit on Brand Storytelling from the Bset Panel EVER

Like that wasn’t enough Social Media Marketing World wonderment for me, I received the privilege of hosting a panel of three brilliant minds on the power of brand storytelling. Brand raconteur Kathy Klotz-Guest, StoryHow inventor Ron Ploof and SNL writer & Cisco creative director Tim Washer marveled the audience with their business story insights and humor. TopRank Marketing capture the session beautifully in its blog: Learn How to Compel Your Audience to Act with these 3 Storytelling Tips


I can sum up my experience at Social Media Marketing World with two superlatives: Contagious energy and endless generosity. The community they have built that gathers annually in San Diego is just phenomenal. Plus, this was the most organized event I’ve ever experienced. Phil Mershon, Director of Events, set the pace early with me laying out the speaker roles and responsibilities. Wade Harman kept me on my toes checking in almost weekly leading up to the conference. Michael couldn’t have been a more gracious host on his podcast or at the event. And the 100+ volunteers from around the world made everyone feel right at home.

Thank you one and all for opening up my social media marketing world at @SMMW16.

And one final pic. of the photographer shooting a pic. of the speakers party. Thanks Shane McLaughlin for lending a hand.

Social Media Marketing World Speaker Party

Story on!

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