On the wall of our offices is a series of paintings. All are of a tree but each was painted by a different member of the team. Yes, wine was involved and that’s probably why some of the trees are a bit more abstract or are slightly over-concentrated with glitter. But the point is, we all saw the tree differently and expressed in own unique way.
This is true in storytelling as well. When presented with a common set of facts, each one of us will put them together slightly differently as we try to interrupt how they fit together. As PR professionals, this creates challenges and opportunities. Certainly, we need to put the pieces together in a way that supports our clients’ business and market objectives. We also need to evaluate what pieces are missing from making the story compelling. Many companies like to just state the technical facts and assume that the broader market, or the press and analysts that we engage with, will understand how a 10x improvement in router speed will make a customer’s life better, more productive or how it helps them overcome a challenge they face as they manage their work.
Our ability to find their contextual elements to put into the picture is based on our willingness to read, engage and inquire. This means we have to be reading the stories written by editors that cover the market, and cover adjacent markets. It means we have to engage with our clients to acquire a deeper understanding of what products, technologies and services enable and how it solves problems, and it means we have to understand the stories reporters and analysts want to write and what they need from sources to help them tell a complete story, to paint a more compelling picture.
With all technology, there is a human element that can be brought into the narrative. This human element can be the person that uses the technology, or can be the people that benefit from the technology once it is deployed and used. For one of our clients, we built a campaign around how its gigabit platforms are enabling rural communities to transform and better participate in the global economy. For another, we highlighted the fragility and instability of power grids in the U.S. and UK as that relates to power requirements for data centers to showcase how the grid where our data center client is based can support any needs for today and tomorrow. We also showcased how another client’s technology was helping a rural community school system deliver Wi-Fi to students’ homes so they could be online for studying and homework. By framing the story on the human elements, we’ve been able to get our customers coverage in a wide variety of tech, vertical, business, online, broadcast and mainstream media.
We also pitched these same stories with a focus on the technical attributes and benefits to the trade and technical press that focus on these areas. This helped us generate additional interest in our clients’ products, technology and services and highlighted thought and market leadership as they moved their business forward. This allowed us to help clients achieve the story counts that fit within the standard ROI metrics for PR, and generate the big hits that CEOs love.