Opening sentences need to grab your attention.. But why, and why is that important?
In digital PR, the words you choose to convey your messages are vital, they can make or break a press release, an email pitch or any piece of content regardless of whether the data or information within them is the same.
A title and opening sentence serve as the initial tone setter, giving the reader a little taste of what’s to come. If the information isn’t expressed in a way that resonates with a reader, the opportunity to engage them could be lost.
That’s why storytelling goes beyond communicating, it’s more than relaying information and here’s why it’s at the heart of PR:
Words & PR
We use words every day to express thoughts, ideas, and emotions in almost all aspects of life. Surely we don’t need any help here, right? But have you ever wondered if you wrote the same sentence in ten different ways, you could present ten slightly different meanings or emotions? The words you choose ultimately alter the impact of your message.
The words we choose and how we use them are significant tools at any PRs disposal. This is because no matter how strong an idea or campaign is, it can fall flat if it doesn’t properly sculpt your narrative and instantly grab a reader’s attention. Mastering the craft of language is the bridge between a great idea and a successful campaign, making storytelling in PR indispensable.
Additionally, effective word placement and structure, including the use of white space for new paragraphs, is crucial for clarity and reader engagement. Different publications often have varied preferences, with lifestyle and general consumer news typically favouring shorter, snappy content, while more serious campaigns and B2B audiences tend to prefer in-depth information. It’s essential to keep these factors in mind when crafting any piece of content.
Sculpting The Narrative
Whether you like it or not, everything has a narrative and pinpointing the best position for a client’s targeted audience is key, as subtle shifts can slightly alter the narrative and how it’s received.
A client’s narrative might vary, whether they’re a polished article, a work in progress, or just at the beginning of their journey. The aim is to add value to what’s already written and push the story in the right direction. Quality is key here, as every narrative has endless possibilities to continue the story with. It’s important that each campaign adds value, captivating and resonating with their intended audience(s) or sparks new discussions that can inspire creativity, evolve, and be expanded on in the future.
Adding Your Two Pence
We’ve all seen it before, another gambling site with an idea that would’ve been perfect for your client, stealing coverage that “could have been yours.” It’s somewhat unethical, but what these campaigns do is add their two pence to an issue or topic that is rarely ever remotely relevant to their brand. For instance, this campaign on dishes which most often win Come Dine With Me. Come on, what’s that got to do with gambling?
Obviously, I’m not condoning these kinds of campaigns, however the concept is there and by using the same idea with a more focused approach, we can ensure it aligns seamlessly with a clients brand, preserving both integrity and relevance. This can expand the client’s ability to comment on a broader range of topics and enhance their authority over time. Understanding your client is key as ‘fun’ or less serious brands will often have more scope than a more formal brand.
Depending on the scale of a client, they will all have some authority on what they can comment on or react to. It’s important to understand a client’s expertise and how you can use that to your advantage to build authority further by pinpointing individuals whose opinion matters. It’s not always what’s gone before that dictates authority, but searching for new creative avenues a client can tap into.
Using experts is one of the most effective ways to build authority but why stop there? Include a professional high-res picture of them and create a personalised bio page that humanises them further and explains their credentials. Additionally, if they’re willing, encourage them to create content that shows off their expertise in a creative and engaging way through social media, essentially building a brand for your brand.
Another way to enhance your authority further on a certain topic is by partnering with an expert figure in a certain field. By borrowing someone else’s expertise, a brand can leverage their knowledge and credibility, which benefits your brand while providing valuable insights and information which can help you target broader and more refined audiences.
Data & Storytelling
While using data in PR itself may seem straightforward, the way you present it can make a world of difference. Just as using different words can alter the impact of a message, using data in various ways can shape the narrative you want to convey.
In PR, the way you choose, structure, and visualise data is a powerful tool. Even the most compelling dataset could be overlooked if it’s not communicated effectively. Data can be harnessed to craft compelling narratives on incredibly niche topics which can give you added authority to have your say and back up your narrative.
Hitting The Right Audience
All of the points above become redundant if you fail to hit the right audience for your content. Your words, narrative, and data all come together when the intended readers receive them. Understanding your target audience(s) in the context of your campaigns is essential as a client may benefit from targeting varying journalists/ publications depending on the angle of a piece of content.
Always keep in mind that different audiences may view your content slightly differently and that’s why it’s important to tailor your content accordingly which boosts your chances of building highly relevant coverage and stronger connections with journalists and your readers along the way.
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