Do you remember that old Aarne Thompson folk tale about Stone Soup? For those of you who don’t remember, it’s a tale of hungry strangers who trick a local town into sharing their food. These strangers started a fire and boiled a pot with only a stone in the soup. The stone was a focus of intrigue and wonder. Out of curiosity, one by one, people came over asking what they were cooking and what the stone was. They would inform the curious passersby that the rock was a special rock, and the soup was an amazing recipe passed down for generations. However, the soup could always be improved with an extra ingredient or two, like an onion or carrot.
Soon enough the they had the whole community offering an ingredient and by nights fall they all dined on a beautiful robust meal.
This concept is more than just a tale of whits and smarts, it’s a fundamental marketing lesson. This centuries old tale was explaining how to start a community with very little or nothing. They had a product that was the stone, but most importantly they had a story. In this story the strangers found a way for each curious person to enhance the soup through donated ingredients. Soon enough they had enough soup to not only feed a community, but be a part of one too.
Stone Soups Connection to Content Marketing
Successful online content marketing thrives on this concept. Your brand is the stone within the boiling cauldron. But without a story, it’s just a stone, and in all the chaotic noise of the internet, online visitors are walking right past your pot. Creating a story with a hook that encourages audience participation is key.
Think of how your stone (product) can benefit the audience around you. Find an interesting way to present your stone, that sparks curiosity and a need for the reader to find out more. Our hungry travelers wove a tale that the rock was handed down for centuries; it was not just any rock, but a rock that enhanced the flavor of the soup.
Once you’ve created your story, it’s important to find a group or community that has similar interests. Social media is your stomping ground when looking for a community, whether they’re career or interest oriented. Your next step is to follow and engage with these groups that socialize within your niche market. When asked what your stone is, or what it does, have your story ready.
Once you’ve become a a true member of these social communities, you’ll see the value they can offer your soup. Soon, you’ll have others joining your brand page and even perhaps spearheading of your own group or online community. Once you have a fully robust soup, a place where you can share and engage with your community, you’ll have a online space that will generate trust and expertise.This will allow you to introduce relevant new products in increase your growth and return on investment.
Truly, if you heed this old folk tale, you will see the benefits in your social and content marketing efforts. First you need the stone, then you need a story ,and finally you need to engage with a community to eventually build your own. A Potluck is a sustainable way of throwing a party and bringing together a community. What’s your stone soup story?