As PR professionals, we understand getting a story placed for our clients is a big part of our job. But we want the story to go beyond a clip on a website. We want it to resonate with its audience. Late last week, SM& Senior Vice President Michal Regunberg and Senior Account Supervisor Brianne Miers led an informal discussion on the power of storytelling-of going beyond facts and figures to a tale with a beginning, middle, and end. Here's what I took away from our conversation:
- Stories travel fast. Thanks to social media platforms like Twitter, a newsy, interesting, funny, or otherwise noteworthy item can travel at 38,250 miles per hour. That's accelerated significantly from the 2.7 miles per hour news of the Battle of Trafalgar spread back in 1805.
- But speed isn't everything. Brain scans show that when one person tells a story to another person, their brains begin to synchronize and “ideas, thoughts, and emotions” are planted in the listener's brain. A compelling story will literally get in a reader's head. That's a powerful tool.
- Find a good (and eager) storyteller. When working with a client to find someone who benefits from their business or initiative, make sure he or she has the ability spin a good yarn. Nothing will turn off a journalist faster than someone who is uncomfortable going on the record or isn't willing to pose for a picture.
- Help clients recognize and provide solid anecdotes. Clients are busy running their businesses and don't always see golden media opportunities. We shared how we remind clients to recruit ambassadors for their causes or business-monthly check-ins and questionnaires were mentioned as solutions. Another strategy was to ask our contacts to make an introduction with employees who know potential ambassadors. Sometimes, it's all about finding that missing connection.
- Be aware of potential issues. Nothing spoils a story like missing details. If HIPAA or other privacy concerns prevent someone from telling their entire story, it's best to hold off for a future opportunity.
By Amy Derjue, Senior Account Executive at Solomon McCown & Company