Content marketing is enjoying its moment in the sun. With the expectation—and added pressure—for brands to create more more content, now is a good time to ask a simple question: What's the content of your content?

Here are three types of questions that every brand should answer to give people a clearer sense of who you are, where you're taking them, and why you matter. (Others, such as author Nancy Duarte and mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell have spoken about storytelling in similar terms.)

1. What does the world look like if you get your way?

When Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, he talked for 11 minutes before he mentioned having a dream. It's known as the "I Have a Dream" speech, however, because of its last five minutes. His vivid description of how the world should be was a guidepost, a rendering of a just society that supporters could work toward building.

Great brands paint a similar picture. Tiny Speck's co-founder Stewart Butterfield put it this way in a memo to his team about Slack, a real-time messaging platform: "We need to make [potential customers] understand what's at the end of the rainbow if they go with Slack…"

When you show people your blueprint for the future, you invite them to help you create it. More of them will apply, join, buy, give, sign up, and sign in when they understand how that action contributes to a larger effort.

Example: IBM envisions a world that's more "Instrumented, Intelligent and Interconnected," so it uses A Smarter Planet to promote that idea.

2. What will it take to get there?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Chad Cipoletti

Chad Cipoletti is director of content and brand development for Siegel+Gale.

LinkedIn: Chad Cipoletti

Twitter: @chadcipoletti