The freelancer's handbook: How to become a career storyteller

Phoebe Chongchua
Brand Journalist

What is a career storyteller?

Digital strategist Christoph Trappe became intrigued with storytelling when he was young. He says that all of us at our core are storytellers but some of us lose the skill.

Why is storytelling important?

Because in today’s world, connecting with consumers revolves around the story. It’s what captures their attention and builds brand loyalty. The story is what separates a brand from its competition.

Unfortunately, it is a buzz word… everybody claims they’re doing storytelling; what they’re really doing is marketing…
— Christoph Trappe

But if you do storytelling right, it will resonate with your core audience and communicate a message that can’t be duplicated.

“One way to do that is by sharing your unique and true authentic stories,” says Christoph.

“The one thing that cannot happen to my stories is they cannot be commoditized because they are very unique to me or they are unique to an organization.”

Listen to the full episode or read on for the highlights and eight expert tips.

Becoming a career storyteller involves honing your skills to dig deep and tell stories that aren’t just fluffy and shallow. “I’ve heard a lot of journalists say, ‘Oh, that’s switching to the dark side but if you do true brand journalism it’s not actually marketing; it’s very close to authentic storytelling,” says Christoph.

To get there you have to change your mindset and understand that brand journalism is not the “dark side”.

It’s really about writing authentic stories. Christoph says, “Make up your mind you want to do it and then start doing it.”

Christoph says good reporting is a key factor in brand storytelling. If every story is positive, he says that’s “marketing”, not brand storytelling.

“But if you have a good mix of positive and negative stories that’s authentic storytelling,” explains Christoph.

“Now, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to bash whoever it is you’re working for. But the stories that were actually called ‘negative’ actually build relationships,” says Christoph.

Top tips on becoming a career storyteller

1. Figure out the stories that are top of mind. Then dig deeper to see what the real story is.

2. Content marketing is an ongoing story, not a campaign.

3. When looking for a story, find the context of the story.

4. Don’t use superlatives in your writing.

5. Think about what the story is trying to accomplish.

6. Don’t over-think the story and what it’s supposed to do.

7. Edit like you’re running out of words.

8. Start a blog and participate on social media platforms.

Christoph says at the root of becoming a career storyteller is “re-learning” how to tell your unique and authentic story as well as taking a position.


Learn more about Christoph Trappe

Christoph Trappe is a career storyteller who has worked as a journalist, a nonprofit executive, and a content marketing strategist and consultant. His digital initiatives have been recognized globally. He is currently helping hospitals across the United States share their authentic stories. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015.

Authentic Storytelling Website

Twitter @CTrappe


Phoebe Chongchua
Author

Phoebe Chongchua is a brand journalist and co-host of the Brand Storytelling podcast and the Brand Journalism Advantage podcast.

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