A Marketer’s Take on C.C. Chapman’s #3TYVR Talk

Last week, C.C. Chapman—who co-wrote Content Rules with Ann Handley—toured Third Tuesday chapters throughout Canada, ending in Vancouver where I had the opportunity to hear him speak.

Instead of relying on PowerPoint slides, C.C. spoke briefly to us about the book before fielding questions from the audience on such varied topics as ethics, corporate employees on social media and outsourcing content creation. He was personable and down-to-earth, leading many of us to ask if he might be the next Regis!

Third Tuesday Vancouver: C.C. Chapman
Photo by Jeremy Lim. All rights reserved.

Be Human

“Be human,” C.C. reminded us. Don’t shill—tell a story that evokes emotion to connect with your audience.

But, oftentimes, C.C. said, Marketing, PR, and legal staff get in the way of real interactions between organizations and their audience. As proof, he spoke from personal experience about working for Coca-Cola and urging senior staff to respond to a crisis immediately by video. A week went by while staff waited for clearance from the legal department, allowing the issue to fester unattended.

Of course, I don’t believe that C.C. was blithely slagging everyone in these professions. A speaker’s talk can be like a 140-character tweet in some respects with limited time and space to adequately address all the nuances of a given subject.

Still, I have to provide the flip side as someone in the Marketing/Communications field.

Trust Your People

The best spokespeople I’ve worked with talk from their heart rather than a script. Recently, I helped organize an open Q&A panel with senior members from my department. Before the event, we spent a couple of meetings prepping the panelists. Largely, the preparation consisted of reassuring the panelists that they didn’t need a list of key messages. Instead, we ensured that they had stats and timelines to fall back on in case they needed to. And practiced some of the questions they’d likely face. After all, these were our senior people—subject matter experts who were passionate about the organization and its vision.

To paraphrase C.C., your employees have the organization’s best interests at heart—they don’t need to be tightly controlled.

And not all marketers are intent on killing real, spontaneous, honest interaction. Really. In fact, Content Rules will help many of us make a case to the C-level suite for creating good quality content that humanizes our organizations.

How are you building the case for content?


For more on C.C. Chapman’s presentation, take a look at:

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