PR Storytelling (or the ability to tell stories) is such a thing that everyone talks about, but no one knows what to do with it. Namely, how to use it to promote the company.
What is This Phenomenon — PR Storytelling?
PR storytelling has established itself as a fairly effective means of building external and internal corporate communications of modern business, since stories are an integral element of people’s lives due to the peculiarities of the human psyche, and acts as a tool for understanding and transferring experience, value, and cultural identification.
“Marketing is storytelling.”— Seth Godin.
This format of communication — a natural and flexible way to interact with the audience — provides for a cognitive act with the effects of involvement and entertainment. Emotions are added to the rational component, which repeatedly increases the memory of the received information and becomes part of the listener’s experience. The audience turns on the imagination, and mentally the listener is transferred to the described situation, empathizes, enters into interactive interaction.
An important task of the storyteller is to maintain a balance between content based on real events and a fictional plot. To solve this problem, you can use real history to present the present affairs’ state, after which you smoothly go to a hypothetical picture to describe the desired future.
Good PR Storytelling, What Does it Look Like?
Several PR storytelling principles help make history more effective:
- introduction to the plot of a typical representative of the target audience of the company;
- the problems described in history should be close to real-life;
- the character must have more pronounced qualities than an ordinary person — be more intelligent, motivated, purposeful;
- the storyline should be swift;
- company stories can be combined by a common concept on the principle of the series, which will show the effect of synergy.
“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come…”— Steve Jobs.
Among the characteristics of good PR history are the following:
- Novelty. Editors hate when they intercept fresh stories, and readers do not like outdated news. To make sure, just read the old paper.
- Relevance. History should cause emotions among readers (and journalists), so it should feel the human factor. For example, “scientists made a breakthrough” or “a manager changes policy after a crisis in the company.” Readers like it when they can associate the heroes of history with themselves or learn something from them. And do not forget that your story should meet the theme of the publication because the editor of a business magazine is unlikely to be interested in news from the world of music.
- Significance. “The company introduced a new computer” does not sound very significant, but “the company introduced the smallest/fastest/cheapest computer” — a completely different matter. Of course, “meaningful” does not always mean “sensational.” The main thing is that people have a reason to publish and read your story.
- Attractiveness. If you work in a highly specialized area, many people are far away and try to convey information in a more accessible and interesting form. One way is to make predictions for the future: “Thanks to our new chip, one-day computers will become twice as cheap as they are now.” Another way is to share a story of creation. If you are asked to talk about the creation of penicillin or the light bulb, you will most likely recall the scientific component and the story of the moment of awareness of the discovery. Analogies also help: “If this plane were a car, it would be a Ferrari and not a Range Rover.”
- Focus presence. Journalists believe that readers are very quickly switching attention. And so consider not only journalists but also scientists. Therefore, editors prefer to tell one story from one point of view at a time.
For PR storytelling to fulfill its main purpose, it is not enough to just come up with a story. Companies use it as a means of communication that aims to create a positive perception of the brand. The story should be aimed at the target audience and appeal to the values of the people who make up this audience, as well as be “submitted” in the right place and at the right time. But, which is also important, it should be properly designed.
“Effective content marketing is about mastering the art of storytelling. Facts tell, but stories sell.”— Brian Eisenberg.
When you have a basis for history, you need to think about the details:
- Add suspense. Even now, in an era of fast scrolling, getting acquainted with history is a linear process. Therefore, it is very important to be able to provide the reader with enough information to answer his questions, but at the same time hold some of the facts so that he continues to read.
- Raise the stakes. Hollywood says that if the scene is too boring, you need to put a gun in it. Rates immediately rise because someone can be killed. If you reduce the degree of passion, you can make a simple conclusion: to be effective; history must be exciting.
- Be honest. The truth is always more interesting and more effective than fiction. Besides, sooner or later, people will find out if you were dishonest, and trust in the brand will be undermined.
- Give a lesson. If you get acquainted with your story, the reader thinks: “And what was all this?” Consider, you have lost his trust. And you missed the opportunity to convey your key message. Therefore, make it clear to the audience how the experience you described affected you and your company, tell us what you learned, and let readers learn from your example as well.
- Use the data. Data-driven stories generate more trust, increase the likelihood that the media will be interested in them, and become insider sources. At the same time, excess data can complicate perception, so some experts recommend focusing on 1-2 key statistics, graphs, or tables.
- Visualize. Graphs, tables, and other ways to visualize data that contains numbers allow you to absorb information faster and easier. However, the value of different types of data visualization differs depending on the history and what information you need to convey. Linear graphs, area charts, and histograms are suitable for demonstrating how trends have changed over time. Also, histograms perfectly demonstrate comparison and rating. At the same time, your graphics and tables should not be incredibly complex and beautifully designed — usually, the simplest graphics are read best.
- Try taking a video. When it comes to PR storytelling, we usually imagine the text. However, the video can sometimes tell the story even better. It can be very short and does not contain words at all, and at the same time have great power.
Well-designed stories appeal to their target audiences’ values and emotions, ensuring the emergence of a stable emotional connection between the company and consumers or between brands and consumers, as well as the transmission and absorption of the values reported by these stories.
Today, PR storytelling is almost the most effective method to turn a boring topic into exciting text or video, so it is very actively used in marketing.