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.

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image of Jay Pinkert

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