A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations
Friday, February 8, 2013
Crafting a Compelling Narrative: How Storytelling Can Bring Your PR Efforts to Life
In many cases, PR professionals are focused on the facts. Who is it for, when is it happening and why should journalists be interested? When pitching to the media, adding an element of storytelling can be an easy tool to make your pitch stand out.
As humans, we learn from storytelling. We can acknowledge the basic facts, but it’s not until a story is developed that we truly understand and become engrossed in the subject. At News Generation, a radio media tour allows radio stations to tell the story of your spokesperson. Stations are able to interview your spokesperson which allows direct interaction with radio reporters.
TV journalist Barry Nolan explains, “As children, we even learned important life lessons about planning, prudence and trust from ‘The Three Little Pigs,’ ‘Goldilocks’ and ‘Little Red Riding Hood.’” As Nolan illustrates, an imperative narrative makes stories irresistible. “A love of stories and the ability to recall narrative is probably hardwired into our DNA,” says Nolan.
When thinking of some of the most successful companies in the world, there is a fascinating recollection between the business and the journey. The greats such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have an extensive narrative to share, but what makes a story so compelling? Here are some key story elements:
- Character: Who is involved and what makes them so interesting? Round out the characters by focusing on their struggles and accomplishments.
- Story arc: Write your client’s story with a beginning, middle and end. There needs to be cohesion between the different parts. Intriguing narratives continue to develop and the characters evolve and surprise us with what is coming next.
- Conflict: There are consistent conflicts in art, literature and music. PR professionals are sometimes unaware that good news isn’t always the best news. Conflict is what draws readers, listeners and viewers into stories and keeps them wanting more.
- Relationships: At the core of every movie is a love story. Relationships such as Bill and Melinda Gates and old friends like Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are examples of affiliations that make us want to dig deep to find out about these people and their companies.
- Ending: The ending combines the story arc with conflict. Is there a resolution of the conflict at end? A good story concludes by stating the result of the conflict, who solved it and who stood in the way. Conflict makes the characters and ending very real and gains respect for your organization.
- Visuals: Nolan states, “All media, including print, are becoming more visually driven than ever before.” So use visuals to help further your story.
- Props: It’s simple. They drive the story and reveal the characters and their development.
Narratives are crucial to PR professionals writing pitches. Stories are what grab the reader’s attention, keep it and make them beg for more. A simple story line mixed with relationships and detailed conflicts are key to a reputable and stimulating pitch.