November 10, 2020 | By: Rhett Rivera 

Oftentimes in PR, the quality of your content is going to depend on how good you are at storytelling.  Whether you are publishing a press release, writing a blog, or even creating content for social media, you’re telling a story.  That being said, you are going to want to brush up on what makes for a compelling narrative.

1. Understand Your Purpose

Before you start contributing to your company’s narrative, you want to determine what it is that you’re trying to accomplish in the first place.  Your mission statement is going to determine the tone of the stories you decide to publish.  

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A great example of a company that exhibits a strong purpose through the stories they tell is Nike.  It’s a company whose purpose involves “expanding human potential,” something that directly relates to the top-performing athletes that they sponsor.  This is apparent in their social media posts and their commercials, which often involve people overcoming adversity in the pursuit of achieving greatness.  

In contrast, if you are representing a company that sells Barbie Playhouses, it’s unlikely that you’re going to want them to publish anything like a Nike commercial.  This is why it’s important to determine your purpose before you create content for your company.  

2. Consider Your Audience

Ever wonder why Hasbro never runs commercials featuring senior citizens playing with action figures?  That’s right. Other than the fact that it would be downright weird, it also just wouldn’t cater to their target audience: kids.  Hasbro knows that the people who typically engage with their toys are younger, so that’s why children are always the focal point of their advertisements.

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Similarly, this is something that you’re going to want to consider whenever you are marketing a new story for your brand.  Think about the demographics and psychographics of your audience.  Are they older or younger?  Is your audience a specific gender?  What are their values?  All of these questions are going to help determine your brand narrative.

3. Determine Your Main Character

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Every story needs a main character.  Someone to drive the story forward and overcome the issue at hand.  This might end up being the CEO of your company, like how Steve Jobs became the face of Apple, or how Tesla marketed the story of Elon Musk.  

Regardless of who you choose, you want to be sure that your audience can relate to them.  The more your audience relates to your hero’s story, the more invested they will be in its outcome.

4. Follow Tried-and-True Story Templates

There’s a famous quote by Mark Twain: “There is no such thing as a new idea.”  If Hollywood’s ubiquitous use of recycled plotlines in movies proves anything, it’s that this quote rings true today.  

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In fact, best-selling author and journalist Christopher Booker, in his book, “The Seven Basic Plots,” outlines the seven categories of story which appear most often in media today.  They are as follows: 

  1. Overcoming the Monster
  2. Rags to Riches
  3. The Quest
  4. Voyage and Return
  5. Comedy
  6. Tragedy
  7. Rebirth or Renewal

Once you become more familiar with these archetypes, it becomes easier to craft compelling stories of your own.  When you read more about the seven plots, it can help inspire you and get you started.
That being said, don’t feel as though your story has to fit into one of these categories.  You don’t want your knowledge of these templates to stifle your creativity.