Limited Time Offer: Save 30% on PRO with code WOOHOO »

Real-World Education for Modern Marketers

Join Over 600,000 Marketing Professionals

Start here!
Text:  A A

Make Content Marketing Authentic: The Case of Customer Stories

by Jay Pinkert  |  
June 12, 2013

Accomplished character actor and memoirist Stephen Tobolowsky reflected in a September 2012 National Public Radio interview on how true personal stories will always connect with audiences better than narratives artificially crafted to make a point.

Referencing his book The Dangerous Animals Club, Tobolowsky said, "True trumps clever any day of the week. So I really try to make sure that all of my stories in the book are (1) true, and (2) that they happened to me. It's far more important to tell a true story even if it's not perfect in all the details than to make up a clever lie."

Although many see content marketing as just that—marketing—smart marketers know that what they're delivering is a great story. At the heart of that is truth, education, and personality—however imperfect it all may be.

Small business owners are directly involved in all aspects of their business and have personal connections with customers. It stands to reason, then, that they have a wealth of powerful stories at their disposal.

Want to become a content marketing rock star? Grab attention and connect with potential customers through those stories. Here's how to do it authentically.

Celebrate the ordinary

Don't you hate it when businesses brag while obviously trying to look like they're not? In the age of social proof, authenticity is one of the most important qualities to cultivate in content marketing for small business.

Customer stories are the new building blocks of sales and marketing. But if you're just replacing company pitchmen with creepily jazzed customers in your content, you're still missing the mark.

Sign up for free to read the full article.Read the Full Article

Membership is required to access the full version of this how-to marketing article ... don't worry though, it's FREE!


We will never sell or rent your email address to anyone. We value your privacy. (We hate spam as much as you do.) See our privacy policy.

Sign in with one of your preferred accounts below:


Jay Pinkert is director of content for Infusionsoft, provider of and all-in-one sales and marketing automation software for small businesses.

LinkedIn: Jay Pinkert

Twitter: @FollowtheLawyer

Rate this  

Overall rating

  • This has a 5 star rating
  • This has a 5 star rating
  • This has a 5 star rating
  • This has a 5 star rating
  • This has a 5 star rating
1 rating(s)

Add a Comment


  • by John Wed Jun 12, 2013 via mobile

    Nice one! Honesty really is the best policy.

  • by Vinay Bhagat Wed Jun 12, 2013 via web

    Jay - great article and I fully support your points. I would go a step further to say that if people tell their stories on a 3rd party site which has authentication, vetting etc, those stories are even more powerful. Here's an example - an Infusionsoft review on TrustRadius - a new online community that I started for professionals to share intelligence about technology products through in-depth reviews, discussions and networking:

  • by Cheryl McCullough Wed Jun 12, 2013 via web

    Don't they say the truth always comes out! If you're not telling or portraying the truth about your company, someone will see through it. Honesty and personal customer stories will always look and feel more authentic :)

  • by Jasmine Wed Jun 12, 2013 via web

    Good point about simply asking them to tell you a story about themselves and their experience with your product or service. Have a conversation not just a Q&A. And if you make the customer really comfortable, they'll surprise you, saying things you wouldn't of made up-- if you tried!

  • by Jay Pinkert Thu Jun 13, 2013 via web

    Thanks for all the supportive comments.

    One thing I failed to mention was that collecting authentic customer stories -- particularly audio and video -- is much more enjoyable. Better content in fewer takes :)

  • by Gracious store Thu Jun 13, 2013 via web

    Stories are very good, they are means people use to connect to others, especially if they can identify with the characters in the story

  • by Michelle Mon Jul 8, 2013 via web

    Great tips on how to get real testimonials without it being forced. I'm working on a sales letter for a client that incorporates written testimonials. It's so true natural responses bring out things you wouldn't expect. Once respondent said of the company's accounting: "They are always right." Who would've thought? It was so direct and absolute, I hesitated to include it...Then I realized it was too good to leave out.

  • by Anupam Bonanthaya Thu Apr 24, 2014 via web

    Jay, nice article. as per the latest surveys of buyers - social proof is among'st the must-haves in a business website (along with things like contact #, product details, etc). the point though is that social proof can be many types ranging from customer testimonials to reviews to tweets to social sharing stats. so at one hand you don't want to inconvenience your customers in sharing love, and on the other hand your prospects care less about the type of proof. maybe they would love to see all (except for fake testimonials ofcourse).

MarketingProfs uses single
sign-on with Facebook, Twitter, Google and others to make subscribing and signing in easier for you. That's it, and nothing more! Rest assured that MarketingProfs: Your data is secure with MarketingProfs SocialSafe!