STORYTELLING: A NECESSARY PR TOOL

image of "what's your story"

Photo from: ereleases.com

Storytelling is at the heart of every public relations outreach. Be it through informal conversations or formal structures like press releases and news pitches, PR professionals are always trying to tell a story one way or the other. There are a lot of storytelling tips available to help young professionals hone their storytelling techniques; however, the most beneficial approach towards developing this skill is to study materials on storytelling.

After reading Annette Simmons’ The Story Factor, I must confess that I got hipped to the idea that storytelling is a strength that should be cultivated by public relations professionals in order to be successful in the field of practice. One part that resonates from the book is the notion that “facts are boring, banal, and hard to swallow”. To be better expressed, they have to be clothed in stories. This can be likened to a rose flower, with facts as thorns and stories as the petals. Standing alone, the thorns are meaningless, but with the petals, it becomes a symbol for the expression of meaning (love, friendship, affection… the list goes on).

The concept of storytelling in PR is probably not a new one. Elements of this can be traced back to the times of Edward Bernays, and his famous women’s cigarette smoking campaign in 1920s. Up until the time of the campaign, women were not allowed to smoke in public places. Bernays, however helped the Tobacco Company tell its story by showcasing models holding lit Lucky Strike cigarettes – “Torches of Freedom” – during the 1929 Easter parade in New York City. This revolutionized the tobacco industry. Continue reading

5 COMMANDMENTS OF PR.

photo of commandment

Photo from Mashable.com

I have been privileged to converse with people who know little or nothing about what public relations is all about. Some of these people confused PR with other disciplines like advertising or marketing, others totally misunderstood what it was all about.

So that we are on the same page, let me reiterate that public relations is all about building mutually beneficial relationships between and organizations and its publics. Although there are different models of public relations practice, in other to be successful in the field, there are applicable rules. These tenets may easily be referred to as the commandments of public relations.

Know your subject.

This concept embraces a  bi-dimensional  approach. On the one hand, practitioners should understand the intricacies of their trade – public relations; strong writing skills, social media application, excellent communication skills, a readiness to embrace change, are but a few. Conversely, a practitioner should understand his/her client’s needs in detail, taking into account their history, mission, goals, and objectives. Every public relations outreach must first begin with research.

Appeal to keen senses

Yes! Public relations practitioners are professionals too. As such, it is important to understand that the way you dress is how you will be addressed, because looking good is good business. PR is all about suave impressions, and the ability to not only build credible relationships, but also maintain them. PR practitioners must dress and speak professionally.

Credibility guides ego, remember that

Credibility is the essence of public relation practice. It is the quality of inspiring belief; this should be held in high standards. Because of the general notion that PR is evil, credibility is all the more needed to guide practice. Practitioners should strive to put integrity far above personal gains. It is only through credibility that reputation is built. Self-worth must be anchored around reliability. Continue reading