The art of story telling isn’t solely in the writing, it starts with choosing the stories your audience will find most compelling – but what’s the best balance of time between these two activities?
Why spending as much time selecting stories as editing them is important
- It takes as much time to find a good story as it does to capture, edit and produce it.
- Half to a third of stories get canned.
- Edit aggressively, give yourself deadlines to constantly create, know that 1:5 will be great, the rest won’t be memorable – and that’s ok – you have to create work to get great work, no one does 100% great work constantly.
How do you know what stories to drop?
As corporate story tellers we can tend to focus on production, honing content that we hope will resonate with our audiences, but how much time do we spend on filtering content, and how much do we deselect, compared to that we choose?
An approach used to measure content in focus groups is to ask audiences what the test material makes them think, feel and would tell a friend. This gives a good framework for filtering content for potential stories too:
- What will the audience think – is the story persuasive, is it realistic?
- What will the audience feel – is it told with authenticity, does it engage emotionally?
- What might the audience tell a friend – does it grab attention, is it memorable?
- Spend as much time on story selection as production
- Use the focus group approach of considering what will your audience think, feel and tell a friend having heard each story as a way to select the ones most likely to engage to take to the production stage
- Know that half to a third of stories won’t make the grade, which will give those that do the greatest chance to be heard.
As a corporate story teller, what’s your experience? How much time do you devote to story selection rather than writing and publishing?