Specializing in social marketing and business communications training

7 secrets of a master digital storyteller

You may have noticed that digital storytelling and brand journalism are making headlines. 

Anyone interested in PR, marketing, social media, and branding knows this new approach to communicating with the public has immense value and influence. It offers refreshing new ways to connect with prospects, customers, investors, employees, and the community.

Brand journalism allows your company to tell its own story in an engaging way that we’ve never experienced before. 

The concept of brand journalism

 This form of business communication is important for several reasons:

  • People (consumers) feel disgusted with stilted, one-sided marketing messages filled with canned tag lines and jargon.
  • People feel good about referring their favorite products, services, doctors, etc. to others.
  • People feel better when they can use technology to complain and vent about poor customer service or a negative experience.  
  • People feel good when they know their opinions are valued and they are contributing to the marketing message.  
  • People feel good when they tell their story, even in 140 characters.
  • People are relieved they no longer need traditional media, advertising, and big budgets to share their brand and stories.

 

The secrets of a master storyteller

 A master digital storyteller:

1. Understands the need for all humans to connect and bond.

2. Knows the importance of putting a face on a story (the human factor).  

3. Shares many aspects of the brand, culture, employees, C-suite, investors, customers, and community.

4. Travels deep into the multiple layers of stories he or she is surrounded by and confidently uses available social channels to create cohesive and compelling content for internal and external communications.

5. Appreciates the opportunity to drive and influence mass numbers of people to bring them a transparent and balanced story — without the media.

6. Weaves images, video, audio, graphics, and other social tools to make stories pop and impact people. 

7. Keeps his or her news radar and antennae up at all times knowing that there are stories, profiles, pictures, video clips, blog posts, and interviews just waiting to be developed and shared.

Analyzing your efforts

Of course, metrics and knowing how your messages are being received are important, too. Is web traffic up? Are your employees and customers more engaged? Are you generating dialogues and conversations in chats and LinkedIn groups? Do you know who is ‘talking’ about you online?  How are you doing with Pinterest? What kind of buzz are you creating? Have you audited your internal and external communications? Are you using tools such as Radian6 to gather stats? 

The next steps

Collectively, we are all in the news business. It’s fine for me because I’ve been working in news, PR, and communication for 26 years. What is described above is a news hub for your company. Translation: It’s a newsroom and you have a press pass, whether you want it or not. 

Savvy and successful companies are working with trained news professionals to spearhead efforts to tell their stories. Leaders are happy to integrate content, marketing, PR, and crisis communication.

Many businesses fall short with brand journalism. Leaders feel intimidated and overwhelmed knowing their staff lacks the training needed to develop and execute this concept.

Is your company embracing the power and influence of this new marketing and branding model? Is this the best communication you aren’t using?

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Comments

  1. Trish says:

    Love this: “It’s a newsroom and you have a press pass, whether you want it or not.” So true. Brands have a unique opportunity to tell their stories directly now and I’m not sure all that many are taking advantage. Great tips and thanks for giving us a mention.

    Trish | Radian6 Community Manager

  2. Mallie says:

    The most important aspect is really travelling into the story to see what you can get out of it as a story-teller. This is a beautiful communication plan and one that rightly puts the responsibility at the company and their team’s feet to give their customers all-access to who, how, where, what and why… Its so simple sometimes it feels complex.

    • Susan Young says:

      Hi Mallie-

      You are so right in your last line: It’s so simple sometimes it feels complex. Companies are beginning to understand that transparency is essential in social media. I know it’s become “boring” to many of us, but until businesses understand the connections between their stories and transparency, we’ll keep talking about it!

      Thank you for your feedback,

      Susan

  3. Dear Susan,
    This is a very insightful and useful post. Thanks a ton. I am certainly going to use it to develop tools, engagements, presentations on your website.
    With best wishes,
    naren

    • Susan Young says:

      Dear Narendra,

      I am glad you’ll be tapping into the many tips and tools on my site to help add to your success. Enjoy the video package, too!

      Best regards,
      Susan

  4. Kent says:

    In order to master story telling, we should learn from Robert McKee as well, who is a script writer for some big movies.

  5. Amber says:

    Great article! I certainly agree, the days of one-sided marketing ploys are finished. Not only are people “disgusted,” but it’s easier than ever to tune it out by unfollowing on social media, fast forwarding through a commercial or viewing another web page while waiting for an ad to finish playing.
    It’s all about creating an engaging experience that appeals to the emotions of your audience. Do that and they will be less likely to ignore.

Trackbacks

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  5. [...] Marketing is making a product or service that’s worth talking about it. Marketing is about telling a story that spreads and resonates with people. We need to think deeply about [...]

  6. [...] Marketing is making a product or service that’s worth talking about it. Marketing is about telling a story that spreads and resonates with people. We need to think deeply about [...]

  7. [...] Marketing is making a product or service that’s worth talking about it. Marketing is about telling a story that spreads and resonates with people. We need to think deeply about [...]

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  9. [...] come pre-conference. There are plenty of opportunities for nonprofits and associations to share your story during and after [...]

  10. [...] you find out what members of your association really want to read or view?  How can you deliver relevant and compelling articles, blog posts, videos, and other fresh content on a consistent [...]

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