“Stories are not purely transactional conversations.”—Dmitri Vietze
A few specific points he discussed in depth include the following:
- Using stories is a great way to get attention, maintain attention, and generate word of mouth when pitching the press (or anyone such as investors or customers)
- Specific traits that make stories stick
- Tell a business story through your offering, value proposition, cases, and success stories
- Understand how content marketing, thought leadership, and events can help you tell your story
- Know how timing impacts your stories
Below are notes from his presentation. You can view his slides here.
- Media always wants content, but they don’t want boring press releases all the time.
- Content that gets emotional responses gets attention.
- According to research, certain chemicals get activated when people listen to stories.
- Always ask yourself, “What’s the story?”
- Stories are fun to repeat for the media, customers, investors, employers, etc.
- Have you heard a business story that’s been repeated multiple times?
- What do you think makes stories worth repeating?
- Some stories and ideas are sticky. What makes them stick?
An approach to use when developing a story (from the book “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath):
- Simple – find the core of any idea
- Unexpected – grab people’s attention by surprising them
- Concrete – make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later
- Credible – give an idea believability
- Emotional – help people see the importance of an idea
- Stories – empower people to use an idea through narrative
Where do you start a business story?
Businesses can become the characters, but interactions between businesses can also be characters. Start to think of your products or services as solutions.
- What is your value proposition?
- What missing need does your service or product fill?
- What are your success stories? Instead of fighting trends, how can you embrace them?
- Do you have features that compliment an existing service or product?
- Have you considered a new use case?
- What about mind-blowing innovation of a particular service?
Additional pitch topics
- Partnerships or significant client announcements
- Helps to build your story and give a 3-D perspective of what you’re doing
- Benchmarks (especially for B2B)
- Hires or new offices
- Content marketing
- White papers
- Articles (blogs, guest posts, op eds)
- Investment activities
Timing of PR
Give yourself enough time for your PR!
- Documenting and posting things along the way helps you talk to people all the time, and it allows for story finding later.
- How do you sell a testimonial experience? You can play into societal debates and differentiators.
- How much “runway” or time should you give yourself for PR? Usually, try to give yourself at least six weeks.