The reason a storytelling approach will burn out is nothing to do with what you produce, but how you approach the content discipline.

When done well, telling a story in context of what a brand stands for can be a lightsaber against someone else’s wooden stick.

Lets put it another way, you can share information that can evoke an emotional response rather than a ‘I’ve seen this same kind of message before.’ A story is a way to challenge, entertain and guide.

It doesn’t have to be 100% true. It is more important to be authentic and told with a sense of purpose and soul, rather than beg, plea and put everyone to sleep…

A bit like this…


Or a….


How about a…


When It’s Time For Others To Walk Away

When the warmth from the fire pit goes out and the conversation dies down, it’s time to walk away.

For many businesses, what started out as best intentions to be compelling to someone else reverts back into old habits that many can be guilty of.

These are the five signs that your fire pit is losing its draw of people. This is the moment when others stand up and say ‘I REALLY DONT CARE

1) Your Content Is As Dry As A Dead Dingo’s Donger

Your product or service maybe rich with information and used in an interesting way (take a bow Whole Foods Market and their content approach), but the other end of the spectrum the messages shared are pretty flat.

This is one of the biggest difficulties for businesses to make that leap from promotional bluster and to look in an alternative direction to put themselves into the shoes of their customers.

A content approach needs to become the way a company behaves and not a short-term campaign.

WHAT DO YOU DO? Even if the final responsibility is to a few, the voices can be of many. Who are your allies? Are there customers and suppliers who have a shared belief system?

You have to go in the opposite direction from the rest of your industry.

Here is what I mean from the world of the estate agents. A content commitment invariably means an article along the lines of ‘how to choose the best estate agent’ and the call to action will always be ‘we are the best estate agent.’ A bit like this….


Or this…

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 22.14.39

Or this…

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 22.13.50

It is far easier to keep doing what you know rather than stepping into a space that you are unfamiliar with.

However, it is better to create a space where your audience will come to you (rather than thinking you have to go where your audience resides). Have a look at Kinleigh Folkard and Hayward to see what I mean. This represents a content rich site where the stories move away from the conventional industry waffle.

2) Your Content Is The Equivalent Of One Song On Shuffle

Taking a clichéd approach is to deliver something that we all know where it’s going to lead. It’s the equivalent of an episode of Murder She Wrote, you know something is going to happen to someone, and whoever caused the crime eventually gets found out.

A formula is always followed that offers nothing really new to an audience, apart from a thinly veiled approach to be useful.

WHAT DO YOU DO? I know it’s easy to say to dig deep and to find something different from within your industry, but what about the world around you?

For instance, the recent announcement from Google co-founder, Larry Page and the restructuring of Google within a larger holding company called Alphabet, brought something to my attention that I have been writing about recently.


In his statement on he states, “We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing.”

This becomes something that goes beyond a company restructure but acknowledgement that becoming uncomfortable is how we evolve. What I am trying to highlight is that comments from different spaces can spark a train of thought and reinstate a belief.

3) You Wanted Your Audience To Be Everyone

When I first started blogging I have to admit that I was predominantly writing for myself, to some respect I still am to capture my thoughts. Now there is much more consideration for the people who read and style that I have developed.

I can guarantee you that an audience is not interested in how well your business is doing or the charity work that is more a PR initiative than a reason to contribute to a greater cause.

WHAT DO YOU DO? You can’t think of your audience as a generic mass that are clambering to read your 13 tips to be more successful in 2016.

These are people who come to your space for a reason, it is your duty to keep them informed and remain relevant to the issues and problems that they have. It is your role to now educate, rather than self pontificate.

Is there a geography location to where your audience is based? Does your audience share a similar mindset? What are the practices that are out there at the moment within your industry that you think are broken?

4) You Got Back Into Work Mode

Work mode is easy, you just close your eyes and take yourself back to a place where you was told what to do because being safe meant being consistent.

Work mode has no passion, no purpose, and no appreciation for having a responsibility. All it serves is a means to an end (a lame attempt to draw people to a sale) by any means necessary. In the words of Seth Godin, “You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.”

WHAT DO YOU DO? You have to acknowledge that the content you produce is not about creating the shortest route possible to encourage a sale.

What you have to accept is producing a bank of work that can be regarded as an asset in terms of becoming measurable, recognised and seen as relevant by others. As mentioned in a previous article, not everyone in your audience will become a customer. That’s ok, they may have a role as influential to someone else who could be.

5) You Lost Your Relevance…What Was The Point Again?

It can be a difficult task to remain consistent. During the early days creating content can be seen as a new, exciting space that you may have never tried but belief that you are a natural.

A bit like being able to play the guitar, really well, and never having played the guitar before.

Over time, the content and stories produced are crafted poorly and have no original content strategy to refer back to. It has nothing to do with connecting with people and cementing relationships, but the equivalent of going out for a lunchtime drink and coming back five pints later trying to attempt work.

You’re just not relevant to anyone and lacking any focus you had at 11.30am

WHAT DO YOU DO? There has to be a common theme that draws everything together. My angle is focused on encouraging businesses to adopt an owned media mindset and proving it to them that it works (or doesn’t in some cases).

My human cannonball approach has brought in owned media initiatives that have worked such as events and podcasting to those that haven’t such as ebooks with no consideration once produced to a quarterly newsletter before I had built an audience.

There has to be something that you stand for. This helps provide the impetus and scope for topics that you can cover on a consistent basis.

Rounding Up

The whole reason the firepit dies down and people walk away has nothing to do with your business, but the relevance that your stories and content has with someone else.

If you can’t connect on a level that encourages thought and the opportunity to build a dialogue, then you might as well stay indoors for the evening and get back into Game Of Thrones that you stopped watching midway through season four, last November.

To make a content approach work does take discipline. Having the foundations already set such as: knowing your audience; having something different to say; creating a purpose and remaining consistently relevant are some of the key aspects to keep that firepit still burning strongly into the early hours.

Image at the top of the article courtesy of Kristin Johnson