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This summer, I spent some time in Peru with my good friend Dave Berggren, a reporter for the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis. In September, I attended the NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) Story Tellers Conference in St. Paul, MN. So in the past year, I've learned a TON from the news business about how to manage workflow, ask better questions, and quickly decipher what parts of the interviews we do will have the most impact on our viewers. I meet with clients every week who are hiring us to help them tell their stories. We interview people, ask questions about what they do and why they do it. It’s been so helpful to have experts in my life, and to learn from them to improve my process. In any trade, practice makes perfect, and that is certainly true in video production and story telling. Much of what I’ve learned in the last year, I learned by not only talking to experts and going to conferences. I've learned from READING the experts. Being a slow reader I've had to FORCE myself to read. One of my written goals this year was to finish 20 books and so far, I've completed 12! Please, save the “atta-boys” for now. If my only reason for reading was for the sense of accomplishment, my goal would be worth nothing. I’m reading, not just to finish material, but to ingest it, and to use it to help YOU tell better stories. It’s only fair that I should give credit to those smarter and wiser than me. Those who have come before me; who have been in the trenches; who have started and run businesses; who have marketed products and services successfully; those who have failed… and learned from their mistakes, and then taken the time to write down what they learned in order to prevent the next guy from making the same one. Here's some GREAT books that have helped me. I trust they will help you as well! If you're a slow reader like me, consider purchasing the Audible versions of these and listening to them in the car. Consuming this material by listening to it will be considerably more helpful to you than not consuming it at all! Youtility by Jay Baer I’ve quoted this book in almost all of my blog articles. This book is more academic in nature and doesn’t read like a story, but there are so many great examples of marketing that is much more about “help than hype”. The book speaks from the premise that we are inundated daily with marketing messages from companies that tell us how great they are, and what their product or service does. Baer claims, and rightly so, that in order to stand out in today’s marketplace, you need to create marketing content that is “YOUsfull” and more about your intended audience than you personally. I’d recommend reading this book if you are looking for creative ways to get in front of your audience without coming across like you’re trying to sell something. Start With Why by Simon Sinek This book is a MUST READ for anyone in the early stages of starting a business, or in marketing an existing one. The basic premise… “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it”. As a story teller, this book hit home because it’s WHAT we’re trying to do every day; We aim to discover WHY people do what they do so we can help them tell their stories and increase their impact. It also helped me more clearly articulate my WHY. The fun part is, when I’m working in my WHY and in my passion… my work doesn’t feel like work, and I’m finding success in my work because people WANT to buy from people who know their WHY and are passionate about what they do. Read this book! Know YOUR why and then help others in your life discover theirs. Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi This book was a great compliment to Youtility. Once you read Youtility… you’ll be looking for ways to create content marketing that is more about help and not hype. Epic Content Marketing will give you concrete examples and more ideas about what you could do for your business. This book gave me inspiration to start this blog and to have a written goal this year of creating 12 posts by the end of the year. It’ll be up to you to decide if the content we’re creating here, complimented by the videos on our youtube channel, is “epic” or not. In either case, we hope the content you consume here will give you some food for thought and help you tell better stories about why you do what you do and empower you to increase your impact. As stated above, I’ve finished 12 books this year and there’s others that I’d love to recommend, but I’ll save more for another post. If you have books that you’d like to recommend or topics that you’d like us to discuss, please feel free to comment on the post. In the mean time keep telling your story!