Tag Archives: Arts

Use Storytelling Skills to Transform Your Web Content

Courtesy of PR NEWS.

By Stephen Terlizzi

Traditional PR approaches relied mostly on a well-defined network of contacts to whom you pitched news or an idea and some facts, and the reporter created a story. However, like that famous book about the moving cheese, many PR professionals are asking lately, “Who moved my reporter?”

As the economics of the information age have taken their full toll on the publishing industry, the “well-defined network of contacts” is looking more like a ghost town than a thriving metropolis. What’s key to remember is that these folks didn’t just disappear into thin air. Instead, many of the old school journalists have shifted and are now independent consultants who are writing for their own blogs and the Web sites of others.

The tables also have turned on traditional publications during the past 10 years, and they are now syndicating more content from major online sites. In today’s new ecosystem, a well-placed story in TechCrunch or GigaOM can have significantly more impact than any single article in a major local paper.

This means that if your company isn’t a major industry player, you shouldn’t expect to get much share of mind in a fast-paced digital world where everyone is competing for eyeballs—unless you have an exceptional story to tell.

Becoming the person who knows how to mesh “what will be published” with “writing what will be published” puts you in the perfect position to develop ready-to-go stories that will stand out from the digital noise bombarding online reporters, editors and bloggers. Let’s examine what makes a compelling story and how it translates to digital public relations.

Meet Both Needs
Regardless of the type of story, there are always two people in every story: the author and the reader. The author, or client, has a point to make while the reader wants to learn, be informed, entertained, amused, etc. An effective story meets the desires of both parties, whether it is written for an online audience or traditional media.

In the book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell, the author talks about three types of people that are critical to the success of any word-of-mouth initiative: connectors, mavens and salesmen. As you can image, the connectors connect, the mavens inform and the salesmen convince. I think it is an excellent analogy for the purpose of writing a PR story for a client—a story to promote, a story to envision or a story to validate.

Note the use of the word “or” in the last paragraph. You must write stories that have a single, simple objective and have simple elements, as online writing must be more direct and shorter. So focus on doing one of the three points well as opposed to doing none of them well. In today’s time crunched society, deliver the point succinctly and close the story. We are not writing Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

Stephen Terlizzi is the managing partner and head of the social media practice for Tanis Communications.

This article was adapted from PR News’ Digital PR Guidebook, Volume 4. This and other guidebooks can be ordered at the PR News Press online store.

Next Gen iBooks: a Glimpse of What’s to Come

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Had to pass along this video from a recent TED conference re: the next generation iBooks and what is possible with clever audio, interactive video and touchable links to tell your story. Though these books are still based around a linear plot line, they will let the reader stop along the way to wander off and follow some subplot or dig deeper into some idea, photo or topic before returning to the main narrative. In that sense, their narrative flow feels more like someone tracing a tree’s trunk to the top while periodically running up and down each branch that springs off from the main story.

Fascinating stuff. So what will your next brand story look like?

Host Your Own Radio Show

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Every business we talk to today asks the same question, “Is there any Social Medium that has real and immediate return on investment”?  Every business executive and owner has a blog, Twitter and Facebook account and few of them see the benefit to any of them.  “Total waste of time”, is what I too often hear.

Well here’s one social medium that works:  hosting your own Internet Radio show.  For just a couple hundred dollars per month (depending upon the service you use) you can:

1.  Instantly brand yourself as “the expert on some subject”.  Who else hosts a weekly radio show on this subject? The fact that you do instantly suggests you must be an authority on the subject.

2.  Instantly differentiate yourself from all your competitors.  “Hey, remember me?  I’m the one with the radio show on this subject”.  The novelty alone will make people remember you.  And if they check out your website, they can listen to all your past shows, archived as Mp3 files (or “podcasts” as they are popularly called).  What better way to get to know someone than to listen to a sample of WHAT they know and WHO they know.

On the Internet Highway, no one wants to stop and read the billboards anymore.  They either want to watch something (like a video) or listen to it instead.  And live or downloadable audio files have the added benefit of being something you can listen to while doing something else.  You can’t multi-task watching a You Tube video, but you can listen to a show while working out or working on something else.

3.  Start conversations with anyone you want to meet. “Hey, can I take you to lunch and tell you about my professional service?” CLICK….I’d love to invite you to my free seminar…FORGET IT.  But try cold calling any business owner or executive and asking them “I’d love to interview you on my local radio show” and watch their eyes light up.  “Sure!  When would you like to do it?”

Who wouldn’t want to talk about their company to your audience or network?  It’s flattering and it’s free publicity.  And with so many newspapers going out of business or downsizing down to nothing, there simply aren’t many (or any!) other outlets to tell their business story.  And if you’re smart, you won’t just talk to them on air.  You’ll set up a meeting at their office first (as a pre-interview to learn more about them so you can ask better questions).

Suddenly, you’re in the door and talking one-on-one to the main owner or executive (whom you couldn’t otherwise meet in a million years).  And what’s more, he or she isn’t looking at their watch and asking “why are you here again?” and “how long is this going to take?”  They’re much more likely to tell their secretary “hold all my calls…the guy from the radio show is here to talk to me!” as they walk you enthusiastically throughout their business and tell you everything you ever wanted to know.   Unparalleled access and information, just because you host your own radio show.

Then, after the show airs, send your guest a link to where the archived copy resides (or links to where it can be heard, like ITunes and other places) and suggest that the guest put it on his or her site as well. And you’ve not only got an introduction to a new prospect or networking partner, but a free ad on their website forever.  Viral marketing at its best.

That’ s why we tell all our clients “hosting your own internet radio show” may be the most powerful and effective “social medium” yet imagined.  For if the purpose of social media in general is to get people to start a conversation with you, what easier or more effective way could there be to accomplish this goal then just getting them on the phone, streaming that live to the world and then recording and archiving that conversation for everyone in your network (and theirs) to reference and enjoy.

For more information check out the few Internet Talk Radio stations in business across the country such as http://www.voiceamerica.com, http://www.wsradio.com or our own http://www.OCTalkRadio.net.

Short Film Produced Entirely On The IPhone.

Check this out. It’s a link to Vimeo where you can watch a short film shot and edited by two enterprising film students at USC ENTIRELY ON THE IPHONE! Think of that when your marketing team says you don’t have the resources to produce quality videos for the Internet.

As the great Stan Lee from Marvel Comics always answered, “Nuff said”.

Is an iPad app the right choice for your brand?

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

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The iPad has become a powerful new platform for brands, but it’s not the right choice for everyone. Watch as a handful of brand marketers debate the relevancy of this influential tool.  Courtesy of IMediaConnection.com.