You had a Motive. Where’d it Go?

motivation and storyYou had a reason — for going off on your own to start a business or accepting a job. You had something that sparked your initial interest in the possibility.

For me, it was following the enchanting thought of being my own boss and making my own schedule. It was the thrill of climbing out of the corporate ivory tower to get back to people I thought I could help. It was being able to form close personal relationships and not be encumbered by a corporate structure.

That’s the story behind why I left my last company and went out on my own but it doesn’t explain why I chose to go into content marketing. If I talk only about flexibility, I’m leaving the most poignant part of my story out. Don’t do that.

Your Motivation is Your Story

We’ve all heard an actor ask, “What’s my motivation?”, to a director. Discovering the motivation tells the actor how to play a role and it also affects how we (as the audience) feel about the character. For instance we feel very differently about a woman with a starving child at home who steals a loaf of bread because all of her money went to pay for her husband’s burial versus a teen from a gated community who takes a 99 cent bottle of nail polish because she likes the feeling she gets of nearly getting caught. The bread is worth more but we have more empathy for the woman. While we may not be able to identify with the desperation she feels, we can understand that. Your audience will do the same when you share your motivation behind your current role.

If you leave out the motivation behind why you started a business or why you chose to be a part of your organization, you’re leaving out the best part — the part that evokes a response and is a foundation for building a relationship.

photo credit: Image via Flickr by AlsterJogger

photo’s story: the motivation behind building the Taj Mahal is frequently told as a love story but the building wasn’t built to win the heart of a princess. It was to commemorate her death. She died giving birth to the emperor’s 14th child. This amazing building was something he promised her on her death bed. It took 22 years to complete.

Business is Personal. Your Content Should Be Too.


Sometimes architecture tells the story. Sometimes you need content.
Sometimes architecture tells the story. Sometimes you need content.

David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising, said all products (in a given category) were the same. It wasn’t about a unique value proposition but a unique selling one. The brand (and the perceived differences) was what sold your product or service not the actual differences in your product. (I, too, came to the same conclusion as an Economics major in college I could never get past the assumption that the consumer made a rational purchasing decision. I gave up majoring in Economics because of it.) When Ogilvy was king, many products subsisted on their brands alone and consumers were very brand loyal. They were also less cynical when it came to dealing with companies and marketing/advertising. 70% of customers trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family, 55% trust online reviews (written by total strangers), while only 32% trust information on websites of brands or companies. (Additional resource: Check out these trust ratings for ads.) Continue reading “Business is Personal. Your Content Should Be Too.”