The ability to tell stories is a valuable skill. However, not everyone has been gifted with this skill. Do not despair. If you can learn the elements of a good story, coupled with great story ideas and follow the formula to write a media release (that you can turn into a blog – just take out the quotes), then you too can master storytelling for PR purposes.
The elements of a good story are the same whether you are writing a fiction book or content for your website. These are the five elements to a good story
- The Hero – The key player of your story.
- Rising Action – These are the small events that happen along the way leading to the climax.
- Climax – This is the big, finale event. The hero makes a decision in response to an action.
- Falling Action – This is the action after the climax.
- A Great Ending – Every story needs a conclusion. It includes the reflection of the hero about what he/she has learned from the events in the story.
Get the edge on story angles
Once you realise what makes a great story, you will be able to start identifying opportunities within your business, pretty soon you will not be able to stop creating content!
To help you along, here are 26 different ‘angles’ (that’s what a journalist calls your story idea). Once you have come up with an angle, you then have to ‘pitch’ it to the media … we’ll cover that in Chapter 17.
- Seasonal story – leverage off a holiday or seasonal event (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day) – loneliness during the holiday season or how to find your one true love
- A breakthrough – is there something new or different about what you do?
- A celebrity-supported story or event – do you know someone famous who can lend their name to what you do?
- Solve a problem – what problems does your business solve for your clients?
- Local interest – does your business/product or service impact locals? Which aspects of your business would be interesting to a local audience?
- A controversial topic – do you have an opposing or conflicting view to a topic? Can you share little known facts or secrets in your industry – what is in our food, skin care ingredients, how to get the best deal from a bank, how to save at tax times
- Localise a national story – if something happens at a national or international level, you bring it closer to home or vice versa
- Local milestone specific to your business – completion of a training program or being awarded major grant
- Human interest story – focus on a person or family or group of people impacted by what you do. Feature a person who has struggled and how you have helped (without focusing too much on YOU)
- Newsjacking – tap into any current story and present your angle. Linking your story to a related story that is happening right now
- Do something charitable – have a fund raising drive for a worthy cause or take on a worthy cause as your own. Your activity should be sincere and reflect your values. Not only will you get publicity for your actions but for the charity you support
- Staff community efforts – are your staff involved in the community – go one step further; match their efforts
- Be entertaining – do you have an unusual hobby, been somewhere interesting? If you get coverage, it won’t be about your business but you will get exposure
- Comment about your competitor – it is not unusual for companies to make comment about their competitors, their decisions and recent news. If you are an industry leader, the media will be interested in your point of view
- JV with your local chamber of commerce, MeetUp group or any group in your community (networking or otherwise) – advance a major initiative or add value
- How you do business – do you do something differently to other businesses? Telecommute, have out-of-the- ordinary office space. Has to be out of the norm
- Host a community event – if it is coming up to Christmas, get involved with the local carols or support a suburban market or your local school’s fete
- Create a photo op – A picture speaks a thousand words
- Case studies and customer stories – remember, the story is not all about you. Tell the story of a customer, how you helped them. Ask your customer if they are happy to be part of your story and be interviewed by the media
- An anniversary story – link with a local, national, or topical or historical event. Could be Anzac Day, Australia Day, International Day of… Or if your organisation is celebrating an important milestone – 30 years in business.
- Google it – find stories in your industry/topic/niche and put a new spin on them. What can you add to the conversation?
- Sign up to SourceBottle – journalists are always looking for good stories. They post here daily
- See what your competitors are doing – look for a different angle. What have they missed?
- Ask your clients or prospective clients what they really want to know about what you do, or answer a question
- Find our people’s thoughts – survey people/clients about your business or industry and use the results as a potential story
- Industry trends and hot topics.