PR Storytelling: Creating Inspiration
Storytelling is the essence of marketing. It’s how we build brand awareness, capture our audience and earn valuable media coverage. I recently was challenged with the idea that PR professionals have become way to comfortable with allowing the media to tell our client’s story, and it’s really made me stop and think.
Why aren’t we stepping up to the plate, putting ourselves in the journalist’s shoes and writing compelling, moving stories for our brands? Especially in the era of “new PR” and brand journalism this is so important – it’s become our job.
It’s not acceptable to rely just on your brand’s key messaging to tell the story anymore. Sure basic key messages may help you check off your to-do list for mediocre coverage, but I think it’s a fair assessment to say that we really aren’t captivating consumers and positively engaging our fans this way.
Stories have got to ignite inspiration, because when consumers are inspired, they engage. They’re more likely to make a purchase, donate and share your brand’s story with others. Andrew Davis (author of Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships) recently shared a few simple ways to create moments of inspiration for your brand, and they’re worth considering.
- Build Suspense. – Stories that create anxiety about what will happen, work. Davis used the example of Breville Juicers sponsoring the Netflix series “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” about an obese man trying to lose weight. Once it started airing, viewers were inspired and the juicers were sold out worldwide.
- Foster Aspiration. – Davis encourages PR professionals to ask ourselves, “What does our audience inspire to do or to be?” Liza shared a story with me this morning about an article she read last night in which an elderly woman became the first to hike the Appalachian trial three times. The best part? The story was from the 70s, and it’s still being shared today! Stories like this create an idea of “if she can do it, I can do it.”
- Drive Empathy. – Please note that this is empathy and not “sympathy.” Empathy is feeling with someone, not just for them. As storytellers, we shouldn’t just be explaining our story; we should be allowing our readers to experience it.
While training ourselves to become better storytellers can be a daunting task, it’s something we can’t afford not to do. Are you digging deep and creating unique story angles to better your brand? I’d love to hear your thoughts.