Storytelling comes naturally to me – as a journalist I can find a story in anything. When I was working on a newsdesk, there were many times when I had to turn a small story into something decent for a front or prominent right-hand page! And by finding out the story behind it, that’s when you get to the good stuff – the bits people want to know, the bits people identify with – the bits people will tell others about!
And it’s the same with marketing – you need a good story to tell people. You need them to know that they need your product/service and you need them to know why – what difference it will make to them, what it’s done for others and why they need to buy it.
They need to realise through storytelling that the problem they have can be solved by what you can do for them.
Press releases follow a similar format – you need to tell a good yarn as we say in journalism! No-one would read newspapers or online news if the story was about a man who went to a shop and died. They want to know why he went, what he was buying, that it was his 40th birthday two days later, that he’d popped to the shop to get milk for an elderly neighbour, who his family was, that the heart attack that killed him was ironic because he’d run the London Marathon for a heart charity the year before. All these bits add to the story, to the interest we have as humans to want to know more.
Whenever I go to a wedding or event where I’m meeting new people, my husband always tells me to remember to chat, not interrogate! The journalist in me wants their life story – and I do usually get it! I’m the same at a spa – I talk all the way through a relaxing massage about the therapist and their life, because that’s so interesting to me. I’ve heard some pretty great stories over the years too, I can tell you!
When writing business PR, I always look for an interesting story – something to hinge the press release on. A new shop opening is good news for the business but not particularly interesting on its own for news coverage but when you add in the detail about the story behind the shop opening, then that’s where it starts to get interesting.
People love reading about triumph over adversity, the underdog coming through, challenges being overcome and blood, sweat and tears.
Once you have your story, you can then re-purpose that across all of your communications where appropriate, bringing consistency and good content to them.
Sometimes it takes me a while to get this information from clients but there is always a little something for me to hinge a story on and give theirs something worth reading.
They don’t see their life or achievements as a news story – but I do, and by tapping into some of these things, I can turn a bland piece of PR into something much better that will be published and read by the target audience.
If storytelling isn’t for you, get in touch – I’ll find your story and help you to write it.