Hughes PR, Media, Public relations

The Art of Storytelling

Simon Hatcher writes…

Working in PR gives me the privilege of helping to tell some amazing stories.

From the bravery of a young boy battling juvenile arthritis to a company which invented new irrigation technologies to help growers in Iraq re-establish their farms – and hundreds of others.

Storytelling is the art of making the complex simple and memorable, and it’s becoming a business imperative.

Time constraints coupled with receiving information from hundreds of different sources – papers, TV, radio, online and social media – have all conspired to limit the audience’s attention span.

Therefore, businesses often have limited time to grab our attention and engage us in their story.

Are you still with me?twitter newspaper

Ironically, as the number of information sources has grown and vied for our attention, they have also provided new channels for businesses to tell their stories.

If harnessed properly the potential is significant … but the story needs to be told well.

We’re all used to seeing scripted and well-rehearsed lines used as crutches by politicians and business leaders to impart information but too often they just aren’t compelling.

In fact, they often tell a very different story – the story of someone who isn’t passionate about what they’re saying or even believing the story they’re telling.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t think carefully about what you want to say but at all costs avoid coming across as an ‘actor playing a part’.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Understand your audience – Knowing your audience isn’t enough. You also need to understand the audience and how your message is likely to be received. Understand their motivations and tailor your message accordingly but make it real. Don’t just tell them what you think they want to hear.
  2. Select the right channel – With an ever increasing number of communication channels available, it’s important to choose the right channel or combination of channels for your story. Consider the attributes of the channel and how presentation of the story may need to be adapted.
  3. Keep it simple and concise – Don’t hide your story under a lot of spin, industry jargon or needless fluff.  Express your thoughts clearly and concisely.
  4. Be honest and credible- If your audience thinks you’re hiding the truth then the story will lack credibility and you’ll lose the trust of the audience.  Lose their trust and you lose their interest.  Use independent references or sources to support your story.
  5. Stay fresh – Find new ways to keep things interesting.  Make sure your story is timely and relevant and create something that grabs and holds the audience’s attention.
  6. Make it personal – Don’t just talk about what you do or how you do it. Tell the personal story of someone your business has helped and make it about the individual.

To learn more about how Hughes PR has helped businesses and organisations to tell their story, take a look at the Case Studies section on our website.

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.


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