Without context, some people will dismiss your storytelling as garbage.
And not because it is! Context helps readers connect with the finer points of your story.
Storytelling, content marketing … whatever you want to call it … if it doesn’t resonate, if it doesn’t connect or hit someone in the face or in the heart, it may fall flat.
Your content should tell the most amazing story ever, but if your context isn’t on point, it’s going to miss the mark.
You Can’t Please Everyone
Let’s get started by accepting that you’re not always going to make everyone happy. I say, learn to deal with it.
If you make it your mission to delight your people you can make context a much easier undertaking.
Think of context as variety, and variety as the spice of life.
And by spice I mean, melt your face, sweating from your eyeballs spicy.
While some people are insanely passionate about spices, others are probably cringing and scrunching their nose.
If you’re into spicy shit, that’s your context. And if you’re recoiling in disgust, that’s your context.
Either way, we have solid ground to move forward on. (Hint: Be YOU.)
Step 1: Create Valuable Content & Context By Focusing On Your Tribe
Be extraordinary for your fans, your tribe, your people.
It’s in our nature to want everyone to like us, and no matter how much we try to make ourselves believe that we don’t give a damn, sometimes we really do.
Converting your nonbelievers is a tall order, and numbers matter. I get it.
Many of us live by the notion that the number of people you reach increases the numbers in your bank account. I get that, too.
But when you try to please everyone, you’re only taking away from the people that should matter most to you.Focus on these three types of tribe members for better ROI ...Click To Tweet
- The people who have purchased from you
- The people who want to purchase from you
- The people who influence others to purchase from you
As Gary Vaynerchuk says:
“Great content is predicated on context.”
And I believe that translates into value.
Without Context, Value Is A Cheap Façade
The term “value” is thrown around like a cheap [insert the first thing that comes to your mind].
But it’s not your value that’s important – it’s your audience’s.
You can dress it up any way you’d like, but anything less than an empathetic expression of how they can benefit from your story is nothing more than an illusion of value.
It’s not your place to assign value – that responsibility is reserved solely for the person/people consuming your content.
Step 2: Create Valuable Content & Context By Imagining ONE Person
Imagine they’re sitting right in front of you, and you have to explain the topic to them (yes, it’s okay to still have imaginary friends).
It helps me to escape from my own perspective and prejudices and embrace the story from another angle to determine if there’s an actual point, take away, benefit or payoff … and if there’s really one.
This is my bullshit meter – and believe me, that thing sits in the red quite often. Knowing if there’s a true benefit for my tribe keeps me focused on answering
Knowing if there’s a true benefit for my tribe keeps me focused on answering their questions and creating content in the context that will be most beneficial to them (rather than me).
You may not like the idea of creating buyer personas, but let’s get real here… content is meant for people.
I encourage you to go through that exercise.
Or, at the very least, keep those imaginary friends in mind with putting context to your content, and hopefully you’ll end up giving something worthwhile.
Objectives Are The Peanut Butter To Your Story
What are your objectives for creating a piece of content?
AND, what are the objectives someone should achieve by engaging with your content?
I know the “objective” word alone sends shivers up the spine of the bravest marketers, but it’s not freaking rocket science.
Setting expectations and then achieving them is one of the most fulfilling and valuable things you can do (times two), because let’s face it, this is a win-win for you and your audience.
And the only thing I like better than objectives is the word “AND” (but that’s a topic for another time).
Step 3: Create Valuable Content & Context By Understanding ObjectivesObjectives keep your story on point and help maintain the context you’re trying to achieve.Click To Tweet
They’re the peanut butter to your PB&J sandwich.
I mean c’mon, that shit sticks to everything: the knife, the bread, the other side of the sandwich and without fail, the roof of your mouth.
Peanut butter (and context) is the glue that holds all of the amazingness together.
Without it, the sandwich would just fall apart … not to mention all that peanut buttery goodness you’d be missing!
The jelly is the sweet spot — think storytelling; the good parts that keep the story interesting.
Your story should provide a level of richness and interest as you make your way through to the end.
And when your reader takes another bite and gets a big mouthful of context all over again, the story continues to stick to all the right places.
Whether you’re speaking in front of a room full of people, having a face-to-face conversation or creating a new piece of content, context is the value in every story. Don’t miss being amazing because you missed the mark.
How do you use context to ensure your content and storytelling meet the mark?
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Josh is the Director of Marketing for Aptaris, a Community Manager for the #Luv4Social twitter chat and the President of the nationally recognized Tampa Bay chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF). In his spare time, he enjoys dabbling in sarcasm and spending time with his family.
Latest posts by Josh St. Aubin (see all)
- 3 Simple Steps for Creating Valuable Content with Context - April 13, 2016