This is a story about the importance of stories.

When we started working on IT steering workshops with global CIOs back in 2007, it became clear that communication was a big part of governance. We also realised that social media was rapidly becoming a key element of any good communication strategy, and was particularly important for collaboration.

We noticed that many people were struggling to work out how best to use and manage social media in a work context. So we began to develop some coaching materials and notes about using social media to communicate with customers and peers. Some of these notes focused on the ‘how’, the platforms and tools available for communication. But increasingly, we realised that what people were struggling with was the ‘what’ and perhaps more importantly, the ‘why’.

In other words, those we were coaching simply were not sure what kind of content to put out, and how to phrase it in such a way that it would ‘grab’ their readers, and give them a reason to keep reading, and to come back for more.

We started to talk about the importance of stories, and a bit like a story, everyone was hooked. Storyhooks was born.

More than just stories

Of course, Storyhooks isn’t just about how to tell stories. We use it to explore emerging trends in digital and social marketing, and help people to understand how to harness them. We have separated these trends into eight categories, for easy reference.

First, there is a section on buyer personas. The idea behind buyer personas is customer segmentation made personal. Instead of simply describing customer types in a very impersonal way, you create a series of ‘virtual people’ who are your customers, giving them names, and working out what is really important to them. By really getting to know them, you can talk directly to them in what you write and publish, and in all your social marketing activity.

Because content is always going to be vital to content marketing, we have included a category on managing and maintaining content , or content governance. This section includes information about the leading authorities in the field, such as the Content Marketing Institute, and also ‘how to’ articles, including social media command centres, and writing for mobile.

In a section on employee advocacy, we discuss how you can harness the power of your employees to promote your brand. Part of the strength of employee advocacy is that it allows person to person contact, improving customer experience. For many customers now, experience is marketing: buying decisions are made on the basis of their experience. From how to create good webinars, through to a discussion about the importance of pictures, we consider how to change and create customer experience.

It is hard to keep up with all the research and best practice, so we take the time to distil this for you. All our reviews and write-ups, including case studies and ‘lessons from…’ are brought together in a section of reviews. We also have a section of interviews with key thought leaders, to help you learn from their experience.

Finally, the last two sections are on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of thought leadership and content marketing. First, a section on habits, routines and rituals makes sure that you are kept up to date with ideas for how to run your projects, like the importance of a wash-up, and how to allocate your energy in thought leadership. Second, a section on social effectiveness provides information about how to improve your effectiveness on social media, including new platforms, and using paid social. It also covers some of the tools that can help you to assess your effectiveness , such as LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index.

The end of the beginning

To quote that great storyteller, Winston Churchill, this is not the end, or even the beginning of the end. We do, however, feel that it is the end of the beginning of the story of Storyhooks. We have set out our stall, and we know what Storyhooks is currently about.

How the ideas evolve, and how the story changes over time, we have yet to see. But as we know from so many of the great stories in our shared history, the journey is often far more important than the destination. We hope you enjoy sharing the journey with us.