Whether you love to tell stories or listen to them, stories provide context to a person or company. Stories attract, engage, and convey authenticity in a way that facts alone cannot always provide.
But what happens when the story is told in a different way each time? As long as the end of the story remains the same, or the facts don't get misconstrued, the story actually becomes more interesting. And this is a good thing. Here's why:
Photo credit: Charlotte90T
Let me tell a story
Sally opens a business and sells seashells down by the seashore. Sally ends up making millions of dollars. She then donates the millions of dollars to a good cause.
A little while ago, we had one channel to distribute the news of Sally's business. But today, the story needs to be written to target more than journalists. Why? People don't only get their news at 6pm on the television, or through the printed paper.
Multiple channels exist, with different types of people listening and consuming the story in various ways. It doesn't make sense to tell a story in a way that resonates only with journalists. Journalists think and process information differently to everyone else.
Sally needs to tell her story to journalists, search engines, customers and social media networks.
Sally's story needs a press release, because journalists need facts and quotes. Many journalists will want to talk directly with the source to get their own quote. They like to put their own, original twist on Sally's story. After all, it's how the story is told and why it's a story that makes it come alive, and what makes them journalists in the first place.
2. Search engines
Photo credit: Johnny Ramos Chalen
The robots also like press releases. But they especially like it when press releases:
- Come from high-end distribution services with strong editorial guidelines.
- Have one or two quality links that are relevant to Sally's seashell business
- Don't contain more than one link to the same URL
Well, it's great that journalists and the robots know about Sally. But what about the people Sally wants in her seashell store? What about the customers?
They want relevance.
Customers want to support local business. But just because it's local, doesn't mean they'll be lining up at the door. Sally can:
- Make sure that her seashell business address is updated across everywhere online. That means Yelp, CitySearch, Merchant Circle, and Google Maps, among many others.
- Get earned media in her local newspaper, or pay for paid media.
- Earned media is earned, because Sally did something incredible “donated lots of money to a good cause. There's a good chance that the media will most likely want to share Sally's story.
- Paid media is always an option if Sally wants to take out an ad in her local paper. But it's best when paid media is combined with other types of natural media, which organically pulls Sally's targeted audience towards her business.
4. Social media networks
On social networks, Sally's story needs to be succinct and share-worthy. Not only does Sally need to tell the story in a different way, but she needs to tell it in a different way for each social media platform. Sally might consider:
- Twitter: 140 characters in a tweet forces Sally to keep her message short yet sassy.
- Facebook: targeted ads for customers who live by the seashore.
- Pinterest: to post beautiful photos of her seashells.
- Google Plus: to open up more engagement opportunities with people who love the beach.
- YouTube: to post a video of Sally showcasing her seashells.
How Sally's story unfolds, and on what platform, is just as important as why the story needs to be heard. Sally's story is the core component. But the bigger set of tools and social channels is what spreads the message.
How else do you tell your brand's story?