I recently learned a HUGE lesson about content creation. I made a mistake that cost me a lot of time and put me way behind on a big project. Now I want to help you avoid this pitfall in the future.
Here’s the deal…
The first time I saw them perform, it connected with me in a way that no other dance has. It was surprisingly accessible — raw and emotional.
Then I found out the dancers, despite their level of skill, didn’t get paid. I knew I had to film their story to find out what could inspire such commitment to art and each other.
So naturally I filmed interviews with them. The lighting was great, the video turned out really nice and I got some wonderful sound bites.
It seemed I had everything I needed to tell a beautiful
But then I realized a glaring problem.
After watching the rough cut, it was clear to me that the film was TELLING the audience what I wanted them to learn rather than SHOWING.
There was one piece of my footage that stuck out in people’s minds during test screenings.
Everyone loved and remembered the story one of the dancers told about getting pregnant while being in the company. She was so worried that she would get kicked out.
Instead, the head directors turned out to be her most valuable resource for information about having a baby and becoming pregnant.
This short anecdote made clear one of the main themes statements of my film — these dancers have found a family in the company. They persevere because of the connection they have to each other.
I knew right then that I needed more stories. As hard as it was to have to backtrack, I decided to get the lights, crew, location and dancers together to film interviews for a second time.
I’m so glad I did. This time I asked questions like to get stories.
“Tell me about a time when…”
“Describe to me an experience where…”
I wish I’d remembered this important content creation principle the first time around. Now I have only four days to go from a blank canvas to a final cut of the film. But I’m confident because I have stories to paint my picture with.
Stories are the most powerful tool at your disposal for building influence and teaching principles. Time spent gathering, telling and refining stories will make your content exponentially more powerful.
I highly recommend a book called The Story Factor by Annette Simmons. Her book does an amazing job of teaching how to influence people
Every time you outline a blog post or episode, try to find a story to illustrate the main point of your content.
Tell me about a time when you used a story to influence someone in the comments below.