My news this week is that I will soon finish work on the manuscript for the book about email, social media and storytelling.  It has been an interesting project and a wonderful learning experience for me.  But, as is often the case with a lengthy endeavor, it now feels like it has gone on long enough.  I will be glad to bring it to completion and to have a bit more time for other things, including…blogging.

As I come to the end of the project, I am reminded of its beginning.  I have written before on this blog that I never intended to write such a book, that my interest in the subject grew out of my work with Emailvision.  It all started with the question of how companies can use storytelling more effectively in their email communication, and then it evolved into a more general look at e-marketing, and then the decision to write the book.

When I spoke at numerous venues in 2010, people in the audience often remarked that their businesses had no stories to tell, and they wanted to know how to use storytelling when one’s product or service is not particularly trendy or “sexy”.  At my first few speaking engagements, I probably had too many examples of companies that were well known, with hot brands and big marketing budgets.  Thus, people who felt their companies were not fashionable may have had trouble relating to some of the illustrations.

As a consequence, I made an effort in the book to use extensively the examples of several companies that are engaged with everyday products and services that one would not consider inherently unusual, hot or glamourous.  I want this to be a book that provides insight for everybody.  I want readers to think, with a sense of discovery, “Of course! We could tell that kind of story in our company too.”

So, to finish the post this week, here is an adapted a passage from the book’s introductory chapter, to give a sense of who the book is written for.  As always, please feel free to send you comments.

What this book is and what it is not intended to be: This book is not meant to be a description of the “state of the art”, for this would be impossible.   I am quite cognizant of the fact that even before its date of publication, this book will already be outdated, since the world of social media and email marketing is moving quickly and transforming itself every day.  To give a small example, as I am writing this chapter in late November 2010, LinkedIn has recently announced their Company Pages program, and the press and bloggers are wondering what the impact will be on social media marketing.

Nor is this book intended to be a portrayal of best practices.  My purpose is not to write about the extraordinary accomplishments of star companies, but rather to show some of the everyday practices of companies that we can all relate to.  It is my hope that this book will stimulate thought and discussion about how any organization can strengthen its brand and build its community through intelligent use of email, social media and storytelling.

One of my chief goals was to write a straightforward book accessible to everyone, and to tell stories in which readers could “see” themselves and their organizations.   I would like people to read and think, “We could do things like that.”  To this end, I have chosen numerous illustrations from businesses whose products or services we might use in the activities of daily life.  Most of the organizations I cite as extended examples have neither enormous notoriety nor vast marketing resources.  They would certainly not be considered hot, trendy or sexy.  Nonetheless, quite a few of them have achieved remarkable results by combining storytelling and digital media.  They serve as proof that the practices I describe for building brands and organizing brand communities can be utilized by anybody.

It is my hope that we will reach a wide audience with a message and insight that people can put to use in their everyday communication.  I am looking forward to seeing the public’s reaction when the book is released.


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