Return on storytelling - how the dynamics of PR have changed

My children are avid fans of Peter Pan.

Have you heard the one about the PR guru and the wobbly stool? asks Alastair Turner
Have you heard the one about the PR guru and the wobbly stool? asks Alastair Turner
I regularly download films, cartoons and uncountable numbers of TV spin-offs.

We have shelves upon shelves of Peter Pan books plus a growing collection of merchandise. 

And a great deal of my weekend is spent putting heart and soul into my very own Captain Hook impersonation.

One amazing creative idea told, retold, and recast through multiple channels.

Our appetite for stories certainly hasn’t diminished over time. However, the way we consume those stories has, and this has had a profound effect on our industry.

The way we deploy and communicate creativity today is barely recognisable from how things were done ten years ago.

So in National Storytelling Week, if you are sitting comfortably, I will tell you the story about Sales Engagement and the wobbly stool.

Once upon a time Sales Engagement wasn’t sitting comfortably, trying to balance on a stool with just one leg; he didn’t feel properly supported at all.

A wise PR man came along and said: "You are just using one leg. Your stool will never give you the support you need unless you use three legs." To properly support Sales Engagement, and with it create measurable business outcomes, communicators need to use all three legs – content, media and search.

The first leg, the essential element of modern communications, is great content.

Content is no longer just written words; it’s also video, infographics, images and animation.

They all have equal value in terms of storytelling and engaging with your target audience. 

These days copy-based content has got to be really good if it’s going to have any chance of being tagged, blogged, tweeted and shared.

The second leg is media. For it to be really effective it must be co-ordinated and integrate all channels in order to get the full attention you deserve and to give yourself the best possible chance of engaging your target audience.

You cannot do this with separate, disconnected approaches.

The third leg of PR delivery is search.

People need to be able to find your offerings in order to share and communicate them.

So search and analytics can act as guiding lights for communications, as well as sources of measurement of its success.

But you can only measure the success of your work with the support given by all three legs working in tandem, concluded the 'PR guru'.

Sales Engagement, who was usually extremely verbose, was quiet and uncharacteristically thoughtful. 

He looked the wise PR man in the eye and asked: "Where do I sign?"

By telling great stories, and integrating content, media, and search, wise PR people can help companies properly engage with their target audience.

In their hands, communications can deliver measurable business outcomes as a corporate differentiator.

Those that don’t embrace the seismic change that has taken place in our industry, and ignore the tale of Sales Engagement and the wobbly stool, will be banished to life service on the Jolly Roger.

Alastair Turner is the global chief executive of Aspectus PR

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