S4E3: Michael Stelzner, Social Media Examiner (#46)

As we explore storytelling in social media, we get to hear from the founder of Social Media Examiner, author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers, and the man behind Social Media Marketing World–the industry’s largest conference. He’s also host of the Social Media Marketing podcast, founder of the Social Media Marketing Society, and the central character in The Journey, an episodic documentary. 

Michael Stelzner lives and breathes storytelling and social media. While we explore his story, we dig some interesting nuggets about social media and how it affects storytellers today.

“If you think about this industry of social media and how young it is, it’s just 10 years old… so what you have is a lot of people who, around 2008 when it really started blowing up, were out of work. They started realizing they could make a career out of interacting with people on the internet. That was shocking to them!” - Michael Stelzner on the career jumpstarts in social media

S4E2: Sam Mallikarjunan, @mallikarjunan (#45)

In this episode, we hear from the CMO of BirdEye, former marketing genius at HubSpot and cigar & scotch aficionado… this guy has quite a story. Lucky for me, I’ve been a part of his story for about 7 years now. Today, Sam Mallikarjunan shares with The Storytellers Network his storytelling craft, his passion for story and more… in other words, HIS story.

Sam’s story include world travel as a professional speaker, traveling the United States in a van with his bride, and experimental marketing at sales giant HubSpot. The power of Sam’s story is the impact of the stories he’s had the privilege of hearing. Sometimes the pwoer of story is all in the perspective.

“I was in Pakistan at a conference, talking to an entrepreneur. He told me ‘I used to leave the house everyday not knowing if I would make it home to my wife. I think I can handle the stress of pitching to investors.’ That’s a short story… but wow.” - Sam Mallikarjunan on the power of perspective

S4E1: Geraldine DeRuiter, @everywhereist (#44)

Geraldine DeRuiter, acclaimed author, world-renowned public speaker, and the voice behind the award-winning Everywhereist blog, joins The Storytellers Network to launch Season 4, Social Media Storytellers.

Besides travel, Geraldine also writes about dessert, feminism, and Jeff Goldblum’s entire filmography. TIME Magazine described her work as “consistently clever” and The New York Times said her writing was “dark and hilarious”. Her blog has received accolades from The Independent, Forbes Magazine, and The Huffington Post, because as she says, sometimes features editors get drunk.

When not on the road with her long-suffering and infinitely patient husband, Rand Fishkin (my guest from season 3), Geraldine can be found in Seattle, usually fighting with people on the internet.

Besides her blog, Geraldine uses social media for some amazing storytelling. I love her passion on anything from equal rights to food replacement soylent… which we talk about in our conversation. For Gerladine, social media has proven to be a great, diverse story platform to expand our knowledge and networks.

“When my knee-jerk reaction is ‘I don’t want to read that,’ [Rand] tells me I need to evaluate why. Once that wall comes down, it becomes very, very easy.” - Geraldine DeRuiter on the power of contrarian stories/perspectives

S3E14: Ed Kengerski, Video Storyteller for the University of Michigan (#43 BONUS EPISODE)

He tells the stories of some of the country’s greatest college athletes. But it’s so much more than scores and stats. The stories behind these athletes can inspire and change lives. We’re diving into the life and craft of a storyteller for the University of Michigan, who made the jump from TV news in Kalamazoo.

Ed Kengerski was the Sports Director at WWMT, a CBS affiliate, where I got to know him as a guy who was passionate about telling great sports stories. Now Ed has taken his talents to the national stage in Ann Arbor. The best part of his storytelling career, according to Ed, has been telling the stories that affect a community.

“You start off in a career in broadcasting thinking that you’re going to be doing the big, big stuff. When you start working, you start realizing everybody has a story. When you’re working at a local TV station, doing a story on something or somebody local, now you’re actually touching someone’s life.“ - Ed Kengerski on telling the impactful stories

S3E13: Mike Compton, Three Chairs Productions (#42 BONUS EPISODE)

Mike Compton, co-founder of the video production company Three Chairs Productions, tells stories professionally and personally. His journey starts in the Mitten State.

Before co-founding Three Chairs Productions with his partner George, Mike was a communications/media production graduate from Michigan State University – a fellow Michigander! As a senior at MSU Mike was able to get his first producing experience with Red Bull Energy Drink, producing their “Lawn Shorts” student film festival. He produced the festival and along with 5 other students, winning the chance to produce a film within the festival. For Mike, that was “all she wrote.” He knew what his calling was.

Mike left his Michigan home base in 2001 to start a multimedia career in Tampa, Florida. Now he and George help Tampa-based businesses, marketing agencies and others, transform their business communications through creative video storytelling.

S3E12: Luke Rafferty, Visual Storyteller (#41)

Storytelling with Video/Film Creator Luke Rafferty

Visual Storyteller and Branded-Content Documentarian Luke Rafferty loves to tell a story. On his website, Luke Rafferty says “If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the impact of a short film. Your organization has a story to tell. Through stunning visuals coupled with emotional narratives, we can spark a fire in the hearts of many. Together, let's tell those stories.” Sounds inspiring – and like he’s a partner in helping clients tell their stories. We talk about that, what it took to work with Make a Wish AND JetBLue – even as a small, one-person video company (there’s hope for all of us in that story) – and more.

To Luke, great stories often come from amazing experiences. Sometimes, you need to get out, see the world and experience life to its fullest.

“I was 18 at the time. The first thing that struck me was the gratitude and the love of the people. They were generous. We gave them solar panels. There was a lot of selflessness and a lot of giving... It wasn’t until the flight home that I lost it. I remember going to the bathroom on the plane and crying.” - Luke Rafferty on the power of an experience

S3E11: Dominick Domasky, Motivation Champs (#40)

Dominick Domasky is driven to inspire and motivate people and fellow authors through his books, motivational speaking and publishing. He’s the human behind Motivation Champs, and encourages others by sharing his life experiences. His motto: Let no failure define you. And I’m here to tell you – he does not disappoint. By the end of our conversation I was inspired – and I hope you are, too.

Whether Dominick is speaking from the stage, in a video or in his Facebook group, Dominick loves to tell stories. 

"I remember watching Stand By Me as a kid. That movie spoke to me so much. I remember in college that I wrote some things and they would have red marks all over them. But the teacher would say, 'He has red marks, but he something to say.' I started to write down goals, which became sentences which became my first book." - Dominick Domasky on his storytelling journey

S3E10: Sarah Hill, StoryUp Virtual Reality Storyteller (#39)

Meet Sarah Hill, founder of StoryUp. StoryUp is a tribe of storytellers, psychologists, developers, filmmakers, audio engineers and technologists.

They began in 2015, trying to find a solution for terminally-ill WWII Veterans who were not able to physically travel to see their memorials in Washington, DC. These men and women could not physically go on what’s called an Honor Flight. So, Sarah and the team started Honor Everywhere. These veterans experience an immersive event where they get to “go” to the WWII memorial in DC. It’s incredible.

Now StoryUp’s virtual reality experiences reach much further… which you’ll hear about during our conversation. Sarah believes that storytellers - even when they don't carry the official title - have power.

"A lot of people who are CEOs of their own company are storytellers... although they might not realize it or hold that title. To me, all founders and CEOs of companies are the Chief Storyteller. You're not just selling you product. You're selling your story." -Sarah Hill on storytelling in business

S3E9: Nick Nanton, Celebrity Branding Agency (#38)

From the slums of Port au Prince Haiti with special forces raiding a sex trafficking ring and freeing young girls to the Virgin Galactic Space Port in Mojave with Sir Richard Branson, 5-Time Emmy Award Winning Director/Producer, Nick Nanton, has become known for telling stories that connect. 

Storyteller Nick Nanton's award winning short films include Jacob's Turn, Esperanza, Mi Casa Hogar, and Visioneer. Nanton is a 13-time Telly Award winner and has co-authored several best-selling books. He is the founder and CEO of The Dicks and Nanton Celebrity Branding Agency.

This storyteller uses video to tell amazing stories and make a difference in the world.

You brand is just your story. Branding is storytelling. Your story is the one thing other people can't copy. Your job as a person or a brand is to tell your story in a unique way that aligns... to help your prospect in the world. - Nick Nanton on branding

S3E8: Rand Fishkin, Whiteboard Friday Creator (#37)

My guest in this episode, Rand Fishkin, is the founder of SparkToro and was previously cofounder of Moz and Inbound.org. He’s dedicated his professional life to helping people do better marketing through the Whiteboard Friday video series (which is why I asked Rand to join us), his blog, and his book, Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World. When Rand’s not working, he’s most likely to be in the company of his partner in marriage and (mostly petty) crime, author Geraldine DeRuiter. If you feed him great pasta or great whisky, he’ll give you the cheat code to rank #1 on Google.

Rand is full of insights for storytellers and start-up founders. One great tip: Be purposeful where you put your story.

"We always strove to put the content first on our own website where we could own and control the user experience. then we would stagger the distribution to social media. Own your home. Don't build your house on rented land, which is really what you're doing on YouTube or Facebook." - Rand Fishkin on content placement

S3E7: Rick Cesari, Video Marketing Expert (#36)

In this episode, we hear from video marketing expert Rick Cesari. Rick has actually helped major brands like GoPro and George Foreman build billion dollar brands through Brand Response advertising and strategic video marketing. His book Building Billion Dollar Brands aims to put valuable knowledge of the big brands into the hands of inventors, small business owners, entrepreneurs, Amazon sellers and others to help create innovative, successful marketing campaigns. A bestselling author – Buy Now and now Building Billion Dollar Brands, speaker, consultant, and marketing & brand strategy guru, Rick is bringing his expertise to us today to talk branding, marketing and storytelling with video.

Before his current focus on internet based video, Rick mastered direct to consumer marketing, including traditional television talk shows. He booked his partner on a show in New York, where they promoted a juicer, offering recipes if you sent in a self-addressed envelope with a dollar in it. About a week later, a mail truck pulled up to their office. 

"... a mailman gets out. He has a 3-foot high canvas sack over his shoulder like Santa Claus. He drops it off, goes back to his truck and gets another. In all he brought 4 sacks in. We had 18,000 responses." - Rick Cesari

S3E6: Bill Krupka, Former CBS Affiliate Photojournalist (#35)

In this episode, we hear from a storyteller I’ve had the opportunity to personally work with over the years. From the newsroom to the marketing department, Bill Krupka and I have collaborated a FEW times. Bill spent 22 years at a CBS affiliate in a top 40 TV market as a photojournalist. He’s interviewed heads of state. He’s covered – and told the stories – of tragedy, triumph and everything in between. Then he came to work with me in marketing, helping hopeful home buyers navigate their experience.

Today, Bill becomes the subject, a title he’s not always willing to put on, in order to share with The Storytellers Network his storytelling craft, his experiences and tips… in other words, HIS story.

S3E5: Rob Ciampa, Video Marketing Guru* (#34)

As the CEO & Co-Founder at a Boston start-up called “WePlayed,” Rob Ciampa has a vested interest in telling a great story. Using his skills, Rob convinces financial supporters, early team members and others to believe in the mission of a untested company. Where did his chops come from? Experience. 

Rob has been VP of sales and then CMO of a video marketing company called Pixability – which is where we crossed paths and I got know him – as well as an advisor to a group of media, advertising and marketing technology companies. He's also co-author of YouTube Channels for Dummies. Rob definitely believes in the power of story – especially video. 

"It was the 50th anniversary of the peace sign. We had everyone dressed up in 60's garb [at the conference]. We had our support staff in tye-dyes but we hired actors to come in, in various garb. We broke the rules and had live 60's music. All of a sudden everyone is coming to the booth... telling their stories of the 1960s... and we had an 8,000% improvement year over year for that show." - Rob Ciampa on the power of story

S3E4: Villy Wang, Founder of BAYCAT (#33)

Villy Wang had a crazy dream: to create a new kind of social enterprise that helps kids who, like her, grew up in the projects. Raised by an immigrant single mother in New York City, Villy’s desire to tell her story forged a passion for using the digital media arts to capture stories untold and to create social change. That’s why she founded BAYCAT, leveraging her impressive 25-year background in education, arts programming, nonprofit business and law.

Villy received her double B.A. in Engineering and Economics from Brown University, J.D. degree from Northwestern University, and her teaching credential from San Francisco State University. Villy filmed and produced a short entitled, “Unplugged,” that was featured in the 2005 Marin Environmental Film Festival. She is also fluent in Mandarin.

This social entrepreneur believes deeply in the power of story, especially video, to help connect people. 

"You want to be like everybody else because there's this sense of belonging that every single person wants. There's something about the lack of story that makes someone feel invisible. Every person's story matters." - Villy Wang on the importance of stories

S3E3: Kevin Romeo with Rhino, A Story Company (#32)

Kevin Romeo leads a team of video storytellers at Rhino Media - a video storytelling company in  Kalamazoo, Michigan. This team of storytellers has done some amazing work. Kevin shares with The Storytellers Network his personal storytelling craft, how he manages creatives, collaboration, the evolution of video storytelling and so much more. In other words, Kevin shares HIS story.

Kevin even shares who his favorite storyteller is, and why.

"Johnny Cash is fascinating because he did everything he possibly could to ruin [his life] in every way... [but] God saw to it that he could stay on earth long enough to have an artistic redemption. " - Kevin Romeo reflecting on a great storyteller

S3E2: George B. Thomas, Inbound Evangelist and Video Tutorial Jedi (#31)

Using video for a form of "edutainment," George B. Thomas helps other learn a complicated marketing and sales software, a new strategy and a fresh way of driving business growth. A recovering youth pastor and former pub bouncer, George has always helped people...it’s just been at different points of their journey.

Now George is an inbound evangelist and creates training videos for HubSpot users. But they're so much more than standard training videos... You have to see it to believe it. He’s a branding guru, a video marketing ninja, an inbound marketing Jedi (yes he’s a total nerd and that’s awesome) and a HubSpot accredited trainer. The energy he brings is infectious and the knowledge he drops is inspiring. And he doesn’t need coffee to do it all — but it does help.

You are absolutely more powerful, more smart, more anything that you think that you're not. You have the potential to be great. You just need to find 'that thing.' You need to find that passion. You need to find that consistency. The most important part of this, you need to find that belief in yourself." - George B. Thomas on motivation

S3E1: Niel Guilarte of Wildstyle Media Group (#30)

He's an award winning digital media content producer, director and editor. He's also a huge supporter of the podcast community. Meet Niel Guilarte. The filmmaker specializes in high end media creation and post production. He also works with entrepreneurs and creatives and developing and bringing their visions to life, so he's also a collaborator and a coach.

The documentary he directed, The Messengers: A Podcast Documentary, is on iTunes and Amazon. That's where Niel first crossed my storytellers radar. He's also host of the All Things Post podcast and a founding member of the Florida Podcasters Association.

Niel is also a core organizer and promoter of Podfest Multimedia Expo, the second largest podcast conference for beginners and Indie podcasters in the country. 

Season 2, Episode 14: David Mead of Start With Why (#29 BONUS EPISODE)

In this bonus episode and final finale, we take a detour from the “podcasts” season and hear from a writer, a speaker, a content creator… and an “igniter” with Simon Sinek’s organization. He’s a co-writer with Simon, a coach, a speaker and an evangelist of the “Start with Why” movement. After years of developing content to help Simon share his ideas, David Mead began speaking and facilitating workshops in 2012 to help shift people's perceptions about leadership and culture.

Today, David shares with The Storytellers Network his storytelling craft, his successes and stumbles, his take on story in our world today, and more.

"The thing that I love most about about stories is it gets us to feel something. That's really where connection is made, where trust is built and where the foundation of 'relationship' is. - David Mead on the power of story

Season 2, Episode 13: Jordan Harbinger - The Jordan Harbinger Show (#28 BONUS EPISODE)

In this Season 2 bonus episode, we hear from a critically-acclaimed podcast host who dives deep into the untapped wisdom of the world's top performers -- from intelligence operatives to legendary musicians, iconoclastic writers to visionary changemakers. Jordan Harbinger brings his experience and passion for story to the show to inspire and teach.

The world of podcasts and the availability of technology have crossed paths for Jordan, like many others, allowing him to make a living on the shoulders of podcasting.

"The problem with democratizing things... you end up with a lot of people who maybe didn't have a voice before because they're not really trying hard and it's a crappy product. But I'm glad we democratized [media] because it allows a lot of people, myself included, to create a name for themselves and create a nice livelihood." - Jordan Harbinger 

Season 2, Episode 12: Southwest Michigan's Fake Radio Show (#27)

They've been in radio for years... sometimes on the same show in some form or fashion. Now, they produce a podcast that covers local happenings, cool stories and lots of laughter. It's kind of like a morning radio show without the corporate to-do list. For the season finale of Season 2: Podcasts, Steph, Scotty Bud and Diane welcomed me back to their show, Southwest Michigan’s Fake Radio Show for a fun experiment. This is like a DC-Marvel crossover… I got to take over their show to ask them my questions about storytelling. We dive into podcasting as their chosen medium, how it compares to radio, how technology shapes storytelling and even some personal stories.