What’s Your Story?

Now more than ever, PR pros need to wear their storytelling hat. It’s the accessory you were given when you first started in PR and were told that Public Relations is about telling stories. Good PR is about telling stories well. Great PR is when your story becomes viral and unforgettable. In this chaotic economic climate, with the headlines about layoffs and downsizing dominating our attention, Public Relations is at the forefront of making sure that an organization’s messages are heard amid the noise and the doom and gloom. Unless your story is a good one, then you’ll be drowned out. Such was the message of Emily Callahan, who keynoted our PR News Nonprofit PR Awards luncheon at the National Press Club last week. As managing director of marketing communications for Susan G Komen for the Cure, Emily knows that the story of breast cancer victims and survivors is a powerful one and she makes no apologies for telling those stories time and again because these stories are real and they resonate. Like thousands of other nonprofits — and for the hundreds who were at the PR News awards breakfast on Dec. 4 — charitable giving is reaching crisis levels.  Nonprofits are now competing with each other for a piece of the charitable pie which has gotten smaller as large companies have scaled back considerably.  But everyone likes (and will respond to) a good story as Emily noted in her keynote speech.  So what’s the story you’re telling in the marketplace?

Please share your ideas on storytelling with PR News.

– Diane Schwartz

  • http://www.genomealberta.ca Mike Spear

    Ah the lost art of storytelling.
    I agree completely that it is key to getting your message out. Before coming over the the PR side I spent many years as a journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the events, releases, or organizations that were the most successful in getting coverage where those that delivered the story rather than expect us to find the gem buried somewhere in the messaging.

    I also had the chance to do media training in Croatia shortly after some of the worst fighting had ended and stories were key to the training. There was a tendency to blame everything on politics and many people had simply given up trying to make a difference.
    In one town the rather arbitrary drawing of the border meant the church was on one side, the cemetary on the other and people couldn’t cross. It was a story waiting to be told to both National and International press to get the attention needed to solve the problem.

    Storytelling is a part of every culture and always has been. All you have to do is find the story that resonates but I will add one tip. The stories that tug at the heartstring or bring a tear to the eye (we used to call them the ‘lost puppy’ stories!) can get to be a bit much after a while.
    Look around for a good story that will stand out, not just one that pulls in the sympathy vote.