Even though storytelling has been around for thousands of years, new communications channels are changing how we create and consume stories. But no matter what format is used to tell a tale, any story lacking a strong narrative is sure to fail.
While many communicators build exhaustive and fancy messaging strategies to embark on the path to developing content, an ironclad corporate narrative needs to be in place to ensure the content will prosper.
People are drawn in by stories. They’re easier to remember than facts and your audience is more likely to share a compelling story through word of mouth or over social channels. With an understanding of the corporate narrative PR pros can create tales that capture an audience and satisfy their hunger to be moved by a convincing story.
Barbara Bates, founder and CEO of Eastwick Communications, has been telling brand stories for more than 25 years. In that time she’s come up with a few tips for creating powerful company narratives that drive engaging content, which she shared with readers in PR News' Writers Guidebook Vol. 1.
- It takes a combination of good journalistic and creative writing skills to build compelling narratives .
- Think visually. The old adage of a picture telling a thousand words really does ring true. With today’s information overload, visuals can often break through the noise better than the written word can.
- Follow the journalistic practices of drawing from compelling story arcs that match your own story—the phoenix rising from the ashes, David vs. Goliath, the “can they make it,” story, or the ones with unexpected consequences. These are storylines that contain drama, and drama entertains.
- Take a page from your creative writing class (or from Nancy Duarte’s highly regarded book, Resonate) and leverage the power of “the hero’s journey.” Based on the psychology of Carl Jung and the mythology research of Joseph Campbell, the hero’s journey reveals the basic structure of numerous stories, myths and movies.
- Think about breaking your story into separate chapters. Avoid the need to tell everyone everything all at once.
Follow Barbara: @barbbq
Follow Mark: @MarkRenfree