May 7, 2021 TVG Staff

The Engineering of Story Mining – Look Below the Surface & Have a Process in Place

I’ve had the opportunity to talk a lot about storytelling for several years. Storytelling is key to making sure your information is memorable. The question we get from many people is not just how we tell stories, but how we find them. The key is a process we call story mining. Just like mining for gold or diamonds story mining for those gems takes tools, technology and time.

And, story mining is not simple; if it were, everyone could successfully do it. It begins with initiative and the need to transform your internal and external communications. It requires flexibility, to change direction and pivot to a new course or ask different questions. When I was working in television, I had a news director tell me the story isn’t always what’s in front of you; sometimes you need to turn the camera around and see what’s behind you. If there is a building on fire, turn the camera 180 degrees to see the firefighters working to save the structure, or volunteers like the Red Cross helping people. That’s where story mining begins: when you look beneath the surface to find something truly remarkable — a gem of information that can be shaped into a memorable story.

Too often at TVG, we find that subject matter experts are busy. They are so busy doing their jobs, they rarely stop to turn around and look at their progress. If your business is launching a new product or service, mine for information behind the launch and don’t be afraid to ask questions, you may be surprised by the answers. Easy questions or difficult ones, just ask them. Questions get the conversation started. You may find out that your team dealt with adversity, overcame a challenge, or discovered a unique perspective that helped solve a problem and just like that, you’ve uncovered the real story.

Also, don’t be afraid to introduce technology into the equation. Whether it’s video, email, social media or a live stream, technology can help you mine for content. Video testimonials from clients can help you uncover something you didn’t know, or may have never heard about your company or organization. Sometimes, it’s a different lens that helps you focus a launch, product or service. It’s having that conversation that can make the difference, and using technology can open the door to something truly special.

Finally, we need to address the most precious commodity when you are story mining, time! We never have enough of it, so time is always valuable. Schedule time out for you and your team to mine for stories. This can look like a monthly brainstorming session or a weekly email where each team member shares new ideas about what has recently happened in your business. When you are mining for gold, it doesn’t come out of the ground as a beautiful piece of jewelry. It requires digging up those stories and engineering a culture that allows for mining creativity.

TVG’s story mining process helps companies, organizations and individuals take a close look at the pieces of information they already have in their own in-house experts. We ask lots of questions to uncover those hidden gems and turn them in to stories that make a difference and are memorable. Let us know how TVG can take you through the engineering of story mining. Find us online at on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, email us at or give us a call at 314-991-4641.


By Andy Likes, Senior Vice President at The Vandiver Group in St. Louis, Missouri


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