As all of you know, storytelling is my claim to fame. For years now I’ve been sharing client’s stories via press trips, press releases, fact sheets and more. Today is an exciting time to be in PR as storytelling has grown exponentially. Now, I can easily share via social networks and not just one story, but many, that make-up the brand collective. Below are a few tips I’ve learned about storytelling.
1. Storytelling draws people in
Just a few years ago I would have to push out client stories to writers in hopes they would share them. Very often they did, but they would put their own spin on them, so the brand story was not truly authentic. Another aspect of traditional PR is consumers have to find these stories in magazines, newspapers, etc., and if they didn’t subscribe or read the daily that day, the story would be missed. (That’s why I’m a stickler for a targeted PR approach as you reach them eventually.)
In today’s social world, the PR universe has shifted significantly. I can blog, tweet, Facebook and more all the while sharing a narrative in the convenience of a client brand space. Now when visitors come to a client site: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blog, or Tumblr, they can read as much or as little all in one linked space. This is why posting original, branded content is critical. Nobody wants to jump from social channel to social channel only to find the same information. Why bother? If they do, I guarantee they won’t be coming back for long as the information is not engaging or interesting. Put yourself in your fans shoes and socialize from that vantage point.
2. Storytelling can be entertaining and fun – it should never be one-way sales messaging.
Brands that share entertaining and fun stories get so much more traction on their Facebook pages, Twitter streams, blog posts and more. A great example is The Outer Banks, North Carolina. They share quick interesting facts via Facebook, yet they rarely sell. They leave that to their fans, which ultimately creates powerful third party credibility. Oreo is another brand that is out to have a blast on their Facebook page, and they too are relevant and engaging, which naturally draws you in!
3. Storytelling should draw from both emotions and characters
Truly great storytelling touches us emotionally, but as you know, all stories have main characters that resonate and connect. A great example of this is NASA’s new mohawk nerd, Bobak Ferdowsi. He is a Twitter sensation. His story is fun and entertaining and embraced by his co-workers who vote on his hairstyle for each mission. It appears that 30,000 followers on Twitter also agree with the stars and stripes mohawk. Employees provide a treasure trove of captivating stories. Why not share employee stories about awards, unique hobbies or community involvement, pet stories and more? Brands can also share what’s happening externally as well. You may want to highlight a unique class, event, and/or a special promotional opportunity. So many stories to share, but be mindful the stories need to resonate with your target market.
What’s your brand story? How are you sharing it with your fans and followers? If you do consider brand story sharing, do it strategically to ensure it impacts your brand communications. Don’t do it simply because it is “trendy.” Do it because you truly want to listen and you are willing to be generous, authentic and collectively creative. Most importantly, be willing to give up a bit of control. If you do you will find great success now and in the future.
Hope you learned a thing or two, and please don’t hesitate to share your favorite brand story.