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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

BLUE THING #2: Expert Advice from TNNWC: Publicity and Telling Stories

Each Week, TNNWC presents an article written by one of its top guns (actually, top minds) offering you EXPERT INFORMATION AND ADVICE for powering up and growing your business. This is some of the best information available. Read it, think about it, and then PUT IT TO WORK.

TNNWC™ Proudly Presents...

This Week’s Article by
Kent Martin
, Divisional President & CSE,
News Releases, Publicity and Public Relations

Once upon a time … that’s how almost every fairy tale begins. And let’s face it, who among us doesn’t enjoy a good story told well? Just about everybody enjoys storytelling. And if you’re a small business owner trying to break through the clutter in today’s media traffic jam, that’s good news.

Because you don’t have to be overwhelmed by all the choices available today …online, broadcasting, social media, print … name it. It may seem that the ways to communicate are complex and endless, and your task is overwhelming.

In reality, what matters is what you want to tell your audience. And how you do that is through telling a good story.

Consider some of the more memorable stories you’ve ever heard about a company or an organization. Colonel Sanders had been selling his famous fried chicken to patrons of his restaurant for years before launching his franchise empire … at the age of 65. What about the secret recipe for Coca-Cola? The inventor who created Post-It notes while working for 3-M and didn’t know what to do with an adhesive that wasn’t terribly strong … until he noticed how useful it was in helping keep markers in hymnals at his church.

Your business may not have as compelling a story as these but keep your eyes and ears open for the possibility. Talk about your business with friends. See what catches their interest, their curiosity.

Look at your company. What is it about your business that separates it from the pack? What is it that makes you most proud and makes you want to tell everyone else? Is it a product? Is it how you serve your customers? Is it a reputation for quality you’ve built over the years?

Now think about a story you can tell about your work. Or how you can talk about your work in a story. How might you tell someone you just met at a meeting, a party or even the coffee shop about your work? What comes to mind first about your business?

From this storytelling could come a message, a message that can become a cornerstone in your PR efforts. Remember, you want to create a strategy to boost business by helping customers and prospects know your company better than your competitors.

Maybe your service is first and foremost in your business. Think of a way to tell others why service is so important. Look at UPS and how it competes with Federal Express. Its marketing slogan is short and sweet: What can brown do for you? What it does is tell customers UPS is devoted to serving them. That’s a story that’s easy to tell.

Think about telling stories, too, when talking with your employees. Have your PR department identify stories among your own workers that demonstrate the principles behind your company. Instead of telling your staff what to do and what not to do, tell them stories about their colleagues that achieve the same goal. Your internal communications initiatives are so much more effective when you begin by saying, “Once upon a time … “ instead of “Now hear this … “

Again, this is what makes effective communications: Telling your story in such a way that your audience wants to hear more … and most importantly, remembers what you’ve told them.

Kent Martin
Divisional President & CSE, News Releases, Publicity and Public Relations
888-317-6498 x-703

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The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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