Storytelling competence check: How to spot content marketing talentsLast updated on June 10, 2021 at 08:17 AM.
You want your brand marketing efforts to include content marketing, but you’d like to outsource content production. BUT TO WHOM? As the content marketing hype is thriving, external content service providers are springing up like mushrooms. The choice is huge, while your time and budget for evaluation are scarce. And really: How can you even tell if an agency or freelancer can offer the required storytelling potential? We have compiled the key indicators for you!
Strong content is the foundation for a solid content marketing strategy. And this is where storytelling comes in: If you want to touch your target group, stir up an emotional response and inspire them, storytelling competence is an absolute must. The easiest way to check if your potential service providers have this talent is to take a look at their own communication strategy. The websites, presentations or webinars of the content producers should also feature the six crucial quality indicators of storytelling.
However, personal communication is the most effective way to source real storytelling talent. The way you phrase your questions and handle the conversation will soon reveal valuable additional information: You can find out a lot about the service provider and test his storytelling competence at the same time. So, instead of asking the content producer: “What services do you offer?”, ask him to tell you the success story of his agency. Now don’t settle for a run-down of a reference list. Get them to tell you about a very unusual project or one that resembles your own assignment and pay attention to their approach and to the progression of that project.
The six unmistakeable signs that you’re looking at a true storyteller:
1. What really counts: Relevance and structure
Is the content of the service provider’s story relevant? A key skill of storytelling is the avoidance of unnecessary information. Does the person you’re talking to get straight to the point and demonstrate outstanding efficiency, or does he spend too much time on irrelevant details and stray from the subject?
2. Straight to the heart: Personality and emotions
Are you affected by what’s being said? A simple sketch of actions must be transformed into a story that oozes personality and stirs up emotions. This can only happen if the narrator goes beyond mere listing of facts and incorporates his own emotions and thoughts.
3. It’s all new: Freshness and innovation
Does your content production candidate stand out with creative and unique details you’ve never heard in this way before? When it comes to content, standard phrases are of little benefit!
4. Multivitamins: Scope and experience
Is your storyteller backed up by a wide-ranging wealth of experience? The more diverse his existing or former areas of work, the more multifaceted you can expect his stories to be.
5. Heroes need obstacles: Weaknesses and successes
How does your potential service provider handle his weaknesses? Every good story needs a turning point! Listing successes is boring. A real storytelling talent admits his mistakes and problems and uses them as a foundation for a fascinating story of how he managed to overcome them and turned them around to achieve a successful end result.
6. Getting back on track: Spontaneity and flexibility
Is the service provider able to react to spontaneous interruptions and queries? Only real storytelling talents will manage to continue their story from a changed perspective while responding to interjections thrown in by their conversation partner.
As you can see, it’s not really that difficult to unmask a good storytelling service provider. All you need is an analytical review of the content producer’s communication strategy, ideally a personal talk, a few unconventionally phrased questions and a focus on the details that matter.
Gerrit Grunert is the founder and CEO of Crispy Content®. In 2019, he published his book "Methodical Content Marketing" published by Springer Gabler, as well as the series of online courses "Making Content." In his free time, Gerrit is a passionate guitar collector, likes reading books by Stefan Zweig, and listening to music from the day before yesterday.