Know Them before You Write for Them

According to Barbara Hardy, “we dream in narrative, daydream in a narrative, remember, anticipate, hope, despair, believe, doubt, plan, revise, criticize, gossip, learn, hate and love by narrative.”

People rely on good stories to give them valuable content. But today, people are likely to find themselves lost in the sea of stories overload and living unconsciousness, as Professor Jasso mentioned that there would be very few pieces of story gripping their attention. Most of the stories flash by and will be invisible after all. As a PR professional and a story crafter, the capability of storytelling is essential for success. Making your story distinctive and inspiring among a bunch of various stories is one of the keys.

In my opinion, the first thing to do to write a distinctive story is to constantly perceive the world that is rapidly changing. And when we do PR for an organization, my understanding is:

  • Keep a conscious understanding of the internal and external world of this organization and the industry
  • Identify your target audience (media and public) and know them VERY well
  • According to Professor Jasso, include these elements to make one narrative inspiring: raise interests, plot points, crisis and climax (Resolution)
  • Last but not the least, do not bombard your reporter friends’ email box with tedious news

toptenz-clapping-audience
(Picture credit: one of the blog posts on Wheeler Blogs on April 18, 2012, link: http://wheelerblogs.com/2012/04/18/social-media-personal-and-visual-pt-1-know-your-audience/)

I remembered once my client told me that, “we should distribute one customer story every day, so our target audience will see our name everywhere, and let them have an illusion that we are much better than other competitors.” Her intention was good. Unfortunately, we had not done the research on other competitors, the target audience and the benefits they cared about. We just wrote several irrelevant articles with the general introduction of the event and the product, as well as vague and inane quotes of spokespersons who said everyone was happy about this deal, just like Professor Jasso’s “happily ever after” story. You can imagine that this was definitely a failed approach. We even had reporters complaining about our annoying emails, because our story was not inspiring, no motivating or no engaging to them.

We have to craft an engaging “outside-in” story. When you keep conscious of what is going on outside your “small” company, we will understand the real concerns your target audience have. Even though they don’t say it directly, we can do some research, which will be a good start to write a good story for your company and your audience.

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