Why storytelling is your essential PR strategy for authentic engagement
I remembered when I started in PR storytelling was not something publicists were focused on. My job was to send out press releases to announce new members of the company and the copy was boring. I was instructed to pull up old releases and change the name, switch around the copy and send. Rarely did they ever get printed in the paper — and this was before marketing online content was even a thing so newspapers were our main source of media.
Every press release was the same and that was the only press strategy. It didn’t make sense to me why this business who wanted to be known in the community wouldn’t adopt a better strategy to tell their story.
Needless to say I learned how not to do PR and changed my approach with much success.
At the Nashville Creative Group workshop last Monday storyteller, Kristen Chapman Gibbons, said the first commandment of storytelling is “It has to matter, stakes must be involved with the potential to win or lose something. You have to be real, not above or below, of what makes you uniquely you.”
How does that translate to a press strategy?
It forces you to know who you are, what you do and why it matters so that authentic engagement with others can even happen. It creates a space for honesty when people are desperately seeking something real.
It crafts the entire conversation from what you say on your website, post online or tell people in real life. It becomes the why behind what you do and people want to advocate for that.
Kristen’s other commandments are:
- It has to matter.
- It has to be real.
- Must be about you.
- Must not always be about you.
She emphasizes being comfortable with the uncomfortable, not always being the hero and to keep it a continual conversation with yourself and others about the entire journey. We all have great stories that have an audience who wants to connect about why it matters. Find the magic and make your story meaningful.
QUICK TIP: SAMPLE PRESS PACKET
Preparing yourself for press can be time consuming. Use this list of helpful files to keep close when your press strategy takes off.
- 3-5 Professional images that tell the story of your business sized for print (300dpi) and web (72dpi)
- 1-2 Professional headshots and team photos sized for print (300dpi) and web (72dpi)
- One sentence business description
- 3-5 sentence business description
- 1 page business story
- Press release template
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