Yes, I know, curiosity killed the cat. But you’re not a cat so get a bit curious. We’re storytellers. We have to be able to tell compelling and interesting stories. Like it or not, very rarely is the information given to us by our clients interesting or compelling on first read. Companies are focused on what they make and often get laser focused on the speeds and feeds of what they want to announce or share with the media and/or public. To tell good stories, the kinds that people remember and repeat, requires the story to move off the linear line that most uninspired stories follow. Getting off that linear line requires that the storyteller is intellectually curious.
What do I mean by that? Good stories don’t just go from Point A to Point B in a straight line. They meander, they twist, they take you down paths that you didn’t expect and they can surprise you every step of the way. But if you want to find those paths, you have to ask the right questions along the way and look for the sign posts that might signal something interesting.
Let me give you an example. A client wants to announce that a regional children’s hospital is using its technology to treat patients remotely. If the release just focused on this element, it would be mildly interesting. What would be more interesting, however, is to know:
How large a rural area will the new service cover;
How many patients a day will they be able to see;
How are these patients being treated today;
Why patients aren’t able to make it to the hospital campus; and
Number of doctors involved in the program.
If you are curious enough to ask these types of questions, you can write a more compelling story. You can mention that 2,500 pediatric patients will now get the critical care needed by specialists, that the program was designed to reach patients that were too ill or for financial reasons couldn’t make the trip to the hospitals campus, and that more than 300 pediatric specialists have signed up to participate as it enables them to deliver the type of care needed to help these kids.
What you can do with this information is create a more compelling pitch that will have appeal to reporters outside the tech press. It is the kind of story that opens up the possibility of coverage in business and mainstream media – the kind of coverage clients crave and CEO’s like to share with their board of directors. It’s also the kind of detail that reporters crave as it makes it easier for them to get more ink. They will remember that you’re the PR pro that gave them all the details they needed to write a great story and that means they will be more likely to engage on your next pitch and reach out to you when they are working on other stories.
This curiosity has to become part of your DNA. It needs to be practiced and applied to all of your clients and in every interaction with them, their customers and partners and anyone else that they want to talk about with the media. Because while curiosity killed the cat, it will only make you a better storyteller and a more integral resource to your clients and the media you want to cover them.
Rich co-founded Witz Communications, a firm focused on deep market understanding and a business-value view to public relations, in 2017. Prior to, he was the president and founder of Connect2 Communications, Inc., a firm dedicated to addressing a fundamental flaw in the agency model - the lack of the understanding and appreciation of a company's business and corporate objectives as they relate to communications and public relations strategies.