As numerous public relations firms have predicted since the beginning of the year, a key facet to every successful campaign in 2018 will be the story. From cave drawings and legendary tales to biblical passages and novels, the art of storytelling captivates us. And the foundation of all good stories, of course, is the unexpected adventure contained within.
The ability to craft unique narratives seeps through the souls of PR professionals. We look beyond what everyone else sees and often unearth unexpected elements that make our clients’ stories come to life. From those nuggets, we create unique stories to share with key demographics as well as the media.
How do companies discover the useful snippets necessary for a unique, creative and authentic corporate narrative?
1. Dig, dig, dig.
Oftentimes, the optimal narratives stare us right in the face, yet they remain indiscernible due to proximity. Look more deeply by spending time with customer service, engineering and human resources teams. Pull data from every department, such as hiring best practices, application numbers, engineering patents, staff side gigs, inbound call volume, etc. This effort will assist in excavating a treasure-trove of potential story ideas.
2. Talk to clients/customers.
A big focus for companies in 2018 is listening. Customers express themselves without a second thought – both positively and negatively. Interestingly, the feedback they share is in and of itself a veritable feast of creative story ideas. How are customers leveraging your product/service? How does it help them live better? How does your company turn negatives into positives? Did you use client feedback to fix a glitch? Companies can create case studies, infographics or even GIFs or memes based upon customer feedback. Listen to what your audience has to say and use it to your advantage.
3. Mine the background of senior executives/owners.
Successful people typically have outside hobbies and interests that can make for excellent storytelling fodder. For example, a regional president I worked for ran marathons. He didn’t run one or two; he ran multiple marathons in different parts of the world each year. We shared this information with business journals, trade media and running magazines and earned unbelievable coverage. Interview your CEO, CMO, CFO, COO, president and vice presidents. Does your CEO play an instrument or competitively ski? Does your president escape to a cabin in Lake Tahoe several times a year to recharge? Is your CMO a gourmet cook? Locate the interesting tidbits and make them part of your storytelling process to humanize your organization and establish greater connections with target demographics.
Public relations is no longer focused on news releases and media briefings. Audiences demand truth and transparency and desire deep connections with companies they choose to give their hard-earned money to. Use storytelling to help build more personal and authentic relationships with the audiences your company cherishes. If you’re ready to embrace PR in 2018 and learn how to be an incredible storyteller, download Axia Public Relations’ Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment guide for tips to get started.
Clients love Wendy’s compelling writing. She has nearly 20 years of experience in technology, business, consumer and nonprofit public relations. She serves on the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress PR Task Force and is a culinary enthusiast and champion for the special needs community. Wendy has worked with Axia Public Relations since September 2014. Learn more about Wendy.
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