Great content is about story telling and authenticity

Cover of A Journey by Tony Blair
Tony Blair's autobiography, A Journey

Tomorrow I’m delivering a keynote speech to Origin Publishing and BBC Magazines Bristol. I’ll be talking about crafting content in a multi-media world, and two of my key themes will be ‘story telling’ and ‘authenticity’.

Two examples of how great communicators use these techniques struck me as I browsed an online bookstore today. Tony Blair’s autobiography ┬áis called A Journey. Whatever you think of Blair’s politics he’s undeniably a great communicator, and the title of his book makes it clear that he’s offering a narrative view of his life, that it’s his way of making meaning from experience.

This is what anyone creating engaging content should be aiming for, whatever the channel. Human beings have always told stories, it’s how we make our own meanings from the disparate events of our lives. When we communicate we should always strive to tell authentic stories that connect with our audiences and our communities (read Seth Godin’s All Marketers are Liars for some powerful insights into these ideas).

Cover of You Know Me by Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams, You Know Me

My second example was the Robbie Williams book You Know Me. Robbie is on record as saying that it’s not his singing or performing talents that made him so successful, but his ability to connect with an audience.

The title of Robbie’s book brilliantly captures that sense that he’s in touch with his fans in a way that very few artists manage to achieve.

It’s a bold move to open up to your audience in this way. But Robbie pulls it off because there is a sense that he’s shared a deeper part of himself, and that’s a highly engaging quality that all media providers can learn from.