Monday, February 15, 2010
PR is about the story, not relationships
Maybe 10-20 years ago, PR was more about the relationships you had with the right press. Reporters and their publications were the gatekeeper to getting your story heard, and PR professionals were the gatekeeper to those gatekeepers. But even then, relationships were only as good (and ultimately as successful) as the story you had to offer.
Today, story matters more than ever. Yes, a good relationship with press helps you break through the clutter and get a few extra minutes to pitch your story. But a good story stands on its own.
Plus, you don’t have to rely on a finite set of traditional media outlets to give your story a voice to the masses. Today, you can publish on your own. Self-publishing won’t have the audience others have, but that’s not the point. Share that story in a public forum, that both press and your direct customers/prospects/constituents can read, and a good story can get legs, find unique angles through other storytellers and redistributors, and be shared with countless others.
Traditional PR was about telling the story of the company in question. Press releases touted what a company recently accomplished. Those are stories, but not very interesting stories.
But it’s more than just shifting focus from relationships to good stories.
The stories that get noticed and retold today are about others. They’re about the impact you have on your customers, their industry, and the people they work with in turn.
Tom Peters wrote recently that people don’t care about your story. They care about their own story. Your job, he said, was to become a primary character in your customer’s story.
So if PR today is about the story, and the best stories are about the impact you can have on others, how does that change the storytelling your organization is doing today? What do you say, where do you say it, and what do you want people who read or hear that story do next?
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