Join C.C. Chapman for an in-depth discussion in this video C.C. Chapman: Content Marketing and the Art of Storytelling - Film, part of C.C. Chapman: Content Marketing and the Art of Storytelling.
So content marketing has been around forever. It may not have been called that. (sublime jazzy music) Cheer! The only sud with the blue magic whitener. But look back at, you know, the first soap operas. The soap companies realized they wanted to target women. That was their target market. These women were at home. Televisions were just coming into the houses. They were something new. There wasn't a lot of content on there yet. So they said, "Let's make some daytime programming "that women at home are going to love! And then we're going to fill it with ads for our products!" That was content marketing! And now we just, we have more tools. It makes it easier for anybody to do it.
(sublime rock music) Hey, everybody, it's C.C. Chapman. Welcome to Managing the Gray. Today we're going to talk about when you know the idea is right. So I say I am a storyteller very specifically for a reason, because that's exactly what this is all about. Content marketing, social media marketing, whatever you want to call it, it's about telling stories. And in today's world, every single person is a storyteller. Every photo they post to Instagram is telling a story that they're crafting about themselves.
Every Facebook status is sharing a piece of themselves to tell their story. This is why brands are embracing content marketing, because they realize that everything that they do create, every piece, is telling a little bit of their story. And that's such a core component of content marketing, and it's why I say I'm a storyteller, period. So I said, "All right, here's my rule. "If someone else is doing your idea, "it's still a good idea because somebody else is doing it, "and it proves that you're not alone.
"On the other hand, if nobody's doing it, "you HAVE to do it, because somebody needs to." Hands-on doing the work has been the cornerstone of my career. I went to a business school for computers. I've taken one marketing class in my life. But it's in the trenches, figuring out, playing with it, that has helped me. When we were theater geeks in college and a friend of ours was making films, all of a sudden, we're like, "Oh, cool! "Let's try filmmaking!" I had never done that before. And the next thing you know, we were buying our own cameras to make movies. And what was funny is, here we were making these little indie films that no one was going to see.
YouTube didn't exist yet. There wasn't, you know, it wasn't going to happen. But we took it really seriously. So much so that we made movie posters for every short film we did, even if they were horrible, and there were many of them that were bad. We had fun with it! Because we realized, if we weren't taking it seriously, nobody else would. (door creaks) Mr. Kreager? Yes. My name's Patrick Jericho, I'm with the FBI. And I realized that marketing excited me. It was really ... I was passionate about it.
I got to use the other side of my brain, which was nice. And shortly after that, I launched my own marketing agency, called The Advance Guard, with my business partner, Steve Coulson. We brought American Eagle Outfitters and all their brands into social media. We built their Aerie brand Facebook page, it started from nothing, and grew it to over 1,000,000 fans over the course of a year and a half. And this was the early days of Facebook. We ran a concert, helped them run the social aspect of a concert, getting people to the event. We did the first season of marketing for True Blood and never saw an episode of the show beforehand.
We knew the backstory, and then we had to create a whole story to pitch it. So it was a very challenging thing. You know, we're sending out vials of blood in the mail, and we were sending out comic books. And there was this whole universe built around it. It's not like the old days when you put a television commercial and it went out to tens of thousands of people. It's much more fluid. You've got this content created. You've got this ball, whatever it is, if it's videos, if it's photos, and you can push it out in different segments, you can edit it down. There's ENDLESS possibilities out there, once you create that story, what you do with it.
(slow, mysterious music) One of the coolest projects I ever got to work on was when The Advance Guard, my agency, was working with Campfire, another agency. And it was for Discovery Channel's Shark Week. What's interesting, Shark Week's been around for SO many years, and every year, they go to different agencies and say, "Hey, what have you got?" And they came to us, and gave us a budget, and pretty much just said, "Just don't show sharks." It's a show about sharks, it's Shark Week, but don't show the shark. Okay, well, all right, how do we do that? And the gist of the idea in the end was, we said, "Well, what would it feel like "to experience a shark attack? "What would that be like?" And so there was a couple components.
There was an online component where when you connected, you would connect with Facebook, so that way it would know basic things about you. And the key things for this was it would know if you were male or a female. And we had this footage that was shot in the ocean of, you know, the waves are crashing, they're coming on your screen, and then all of a sudden, you're tugged, and if you were a girl, you heard a female scream, if you were a guy, you heard a guy scream, and the next thing you know, you were pulled under the water. We had hidden these shark attack jars, as we called them, out at different places around the country, in old antique shops and other places, that we hoped people would go find.
But then, that wasn't enough, because we had to get people to the website. Why would people go to this website in the first place? Why would they go look at it? So we said, "All right. "Let's get some influencer marketing going." So we took those jars and we created them for individuals. We researched, figured out who were some of the top bloggers, radio personalities, and we decided to make them these individual shark-attack jars. We had prop masters age them, they smelt like the ocean, there was bloodied shorts or a bikini, based on if you were male or female, and there was other artifacts in there of a shark attack.
And then when they unscrewed it, right on top would be your death. As you can see, it's a very mysterious box. We got this capsule in the mail, and I was talking about it on the radio a little while ago. This is what it looks like. It's my obituary (laughs heartily). Oh, I'm so sorry, Bill. It says ... well, I don't even want to read it. That's kind of creepy! There was a marina key that had the URL that we wanted on it. If you get that, and you see a URL and you don't go to it, we FAILED. Because we did not create that emotional response. And that drove traffic to the website.
All this was leading up to get people excited for Shark Week. And people started going, "Oh, this is a Shark Week campaign." And it was really exciting. It won a lot of awards. The client was super happy with it 'cause it was a different approach. It was something they hadn't seen. And using technology, for the online piece, because that was definitely technology, but then kind of old school too: just these jars, and very tactile ... In today's online world, people kind of forget that a tactile, something you can touch and feel, is almost ... it's new again, because we don't ... we're used to online experiences.
So it was ... something showing up on your doorstep is definitely ... it's weird that it's so exciting in today's world. (thoughtful percussion music) My career kind of transitioned where I used to want to do it for big brands, big budget, you know, the flashy, sexy client, which, don't get me wrong, that's awesome, it's fun, BUT I want to make sure that I'm spending my time giving back to the world around me. I can still do what I'm doing, I can still create, and I can still help people tell their story, BUT you know what, I can also choose whose story I want to help tell.
(slow, thoughtful music) So I'd worked with non-profits for a little while. I was on the board of [Wideco], which works with emotionally distraught kids. I've been on their board for a little while, and was doing stuff with them but never to the level of stuff when ONE came along. When ONE said, "Hey, C.C., "would you like to come to Ghana with us? "We're doing this ... we're helping celebrate "the countrywide rollout of two new vaccines, "and we want you to come and experience it." And you know, all they asked was that I shared what I saw. There was no guidance. It was, "We're going to, basically, "give you access to all this stuff, "and whatever you do with it, you do with it." And I brought along my iPhone with a program on it that could record audio.
And I was interviewing people in the field and I was doing reactions to my first day. I was talking on it, and then I was hitting "post" and posting it, just sharing these raw, emotional thoughts. Today we went to this amazing hospital where we got to see how they diagnose and treat and counsel HIV-positive men and women. I met this girl, Mercy, there at this hospital. She was super malnutritioned, she was not in good shape, and that night at the hotel, I recorded my thoughts about how that moment changed my life.
And I had more people react to that story saying, "I had no idea this was happening." And we've all seen pictures of the kids, you know, "Give, save this kid in Africa." We've all seen those pictures, and it causes an emotional response, but that raw audio seemed to bring a whole bunch of other people around, and I realized there's different ways to tell these stories. And non-profits really have to embrace storytelling because that's all they're about. They're about a very specific cause usually, and if people don't resonate with that story, then they're not going to donate.
They're not going to give back. And then the people who really get emotionally attached to it are the ones who are going to champion their cause. They're the ones who are going to donate the money or tell people, "You need to donate to this." (hopeful, lovely music) So the future of content marketing is going to be really interesting. The devices are getting smaller, they're getting more powerful, they're getting more portable. I tell students all the time, "Just because you have the technology, "doesn't mean you can actually do something worthy with it." You don't want to be defined by anybody else; YOU want to define your story. And you have to figure out what your story's going to be! YOU are the only people who get to tell your story.
We all have to sell. Every product, every company, if you don't make money, if you do not sell your product or service, you go out of business. So that's important. BUT a good story, it doesn't matter what you're trying to sell, it doesn't matter if you're a big company, it doesn't matter if you're the mom-and-pop pizza shop down at the end of the street, a really solid, HONEST story is THE best way to market you, it doesn't matter who you are.