Four years ago, I wrote Read This First to help executives understand the role of social media in their businesses. And while much has changed over the past few years, more has stayed the same. Marketing success in the age of social networks requires a different approach to content creation.
I’ve spent the past few years trying to distill “different approach” into a compact, yet powerful statement–an elevator speech if you will. I found it last month in one of the most unlikely places.
The father and son team of Ed and Steve Sabol founded NFL Films in the early 1960s. Their work changed not only the way football games were recorded, but probably influenced the way all sporting events were memorialized. An NFL Film tells the story of the gridiron, where infinite forces clash with immovable objects, resulting in serious consequences for the game’s battle-hardened warriors. Rather than mounting a single camera at the 50-yard line to view the game as a spectator, they used cinematography techniques including multiple cameras and camera-angles to cover a game. But the magic of an NFL Film story occurred in post production, when they added the velvety baritone voice of John Facenda reading perfectly-written voice-over narratives.
We lost Steve Sabol in September of last year. But it was while I was watching one of his works that I found my elusive elevator pitch. Steve said:
Tell me a fact and I’ll learn.
Tell me the truth and I’ll believe.
But, tell me a story, and it’ll live in my heart forever.
The statement hit me with the force of blitzing linebacker, because most companies are great at telling facts and truths, yet fall short at telling stories. Therefore, the role of a content marketer is to transform company facts and truths into in stories.
Therefore, applying some Sabolization to their rule, we get:
“Content marketers need to reimagine a company’s facts and truths into stories as opposed to recycling them into more facts and truths.”
Give it a try. The next time someone asks what your role is, just give them a little Steve Sabol.