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The Storytelling Edge
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

About the Authors xv

Introduction xvii

Stories Matter xviii

Businesses Need to Tell Good Stories xix

Workers and Leaders Need to Tell Good Stories xx

Who Are We? xx

Why This Book? xxii

1 The Power of Story 1

Jacques and the Beggar 4

And Now for Shane s Favorite Ryan Gosling Story 5

Our Brains Are Built for Story 8

Stories Help Us Remember 10

Stories Generate Empathy at the

Chemical Level 12

Stories Bring Us Together 14

With Great Power . . . 19

2 The Elements of Great Storytelling 23

Element 1: Relatability 25

Element 2: Novelty 29

What Movie Popularity Data Tell Us about

Novelty 31

Element 3: Tension 35

Element 4: Fluency 38

3 Honing Your Storytelling Chops 41

Universal Storytelling Frameworks 43

The Ben Franklin Method for Improving Story Skills 48

The Sludge Report 52

4 Transforming Business with Storytelling 57

How Stories Make Products and Services Better 62

Stories Make Advertising Better 68

Stories Make Your Sales Conversions Better 71

Stories Make Your Hiring Process Better 73

Stories Build Your Brand 74

How We Built the Most Influential Content

Strategy Blog on Earth 79

#1: Committing to a Mission 79

#2: Getting Smart about Audience 81

#3: Establishing a Strategic Methodology 83

5 The Killer Formula for Building an Audience 85

The CCO Pattern: Create, Connect, Optimize 87

Connect: The Storytelling Bull s-Eye 94

Create: The Story Funnel-Matrix 100

Optimize: Cranking the Efficiency 104

6 The Brand Newsroom 113

The Talent Race 116

The Virtual Newsroom 118

What Type of Newsroom Do You Prefer? 119

7 The Future of Brand Storytelling 121

#1: Breakthrough Quality Storytelling 125

#2: Rigorously Strategic 128

#3: Tech-Enabled and Data-Optimized 132

The Content Decision Engine 135

The Content Operating Wheel 136

Strategy 138

Plan 142

Create 145

Activate 148

Optimize 150

8 The Storytelling Habit 157

Selling Storytelling Inside Your Organization 160

A Culture of Storytelling 164

May the Story Force Be with You 165

Notes 167

Index 169

About the Author

JOE LAZAUSKAS is director of content strategy and editor-in-chief of Contently, Inc., which SHANE SNOW cofounded with Joe Coleman and Dave Goldberg. Contently is a thriving technology company with a suite of software that helps Fortune 500 companies (and others) to create, manage, and optimize content to build relationships with employees and customers.

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