I have to admit that all the years (too many to mention) that I spent at Maclean’s had a huge impact on me. I believe that telling the story of an organization, an industry or an event is a smart way to engage your community. I also believe that it has to be authentic, relevant and truthful. It can’t be a puff piece that either ignores or dismisses challenges, issues or the “other side of the coin.” (Again – thanks Maclean’s!) People are smart, they know when they aren’t being told the truth, they realize when you are trying to “sell” them on something (as opposed to providing information about a product, service, idea or organization that may be of value to them).
At our Vancouver PR agency, we use a range of mediums to tell the stories of our clients, such as: news briefs, news releases, articles, short videos for online use, guerrilla videos, video diaries, video news releases – and in some cases even longer documentary type videos, and Q&As (often paired with video interviews). We also use photos and other visuals to tell a story. And we share them; sometimes with traditional media, sometimes with bloggers, on social media networks, at events, workshops and other meeting venues, and of course, internally.
This component is a huge part of what we do for our clients and it is effective, efficient and it can be surprisingly economical. Of course, having a great videographer on our crew helps. It also helps that we have some of the best writers – storytellers – on the crew as well. It isn’t just about what you have to share, it’s about how to share it (video, audio, online, print, etc.) and what voice you use – hard-hitting, humorous, straightforward, gentle, factual, etc.
When you think about the story of your organization, do you know the best medium for your community or stakeholder group? Do you know what the voice of your organization is – and how it is perceived by your stakeholder group? Are you engaging or just pushing out information? It’s all important. You may have great things to share about your organization, but aren’t telling the story in an engaging manner. Without engagement, there is no connection.
I came across a piece on ragan.com today that talks about storytelling. It goes into some detail about whether organizational storytelling is brand journalism – which is an interesting topic.