People Love a Good Story
An infant child looks at his mother through big, bold eyes and utters his first word “mama.” An elderly woman takes her last breath as her daughter holds her hand near her bedside as she slowly fades from existence. A crippled soldier receives a medal of honor after sacrificing his limbs to save his buddies. All of these stories move people to feel something and feeling something is what moves people to take action.
People feast on tragedy and triumph because it creates the empathy that we all so fiercely desire. It gives listeners the ability to share the feelings and emotions of the characters and resonates with our human morality by channeling our innate desire to feel connected to someone else. It’s these ups and downs of that make our own hero’s journey and it’s golden for PR.
In public relations, narrative offers a way to give meaning to ideas, opinions and values. A narrative can express, within a broader framework, rather than what corporate slogans do since they can’t make a real human connection.
A great story is woven into the fundamental concepts of traditional society and joins together our interpersonal relationships. For PR, it makes your company that much more real and appealing in the public eye.
Business Narrative vs PR Narrative
A business narrative is all about what you want your company to be. Your business narrative is the first step in formulating those random thoughts and ideas into a story that you can tell prospective investors and employees. It gives you the direction that you need and drives the internal functions of your company. It’s the bones of your organization but it’s mostly for internal consumption so you need something for external consumption. Enter the PR Narrative.
Your PR Narrative is the external story of your company or movement. It’s akin to your business narrative but it is primarily focused on developing a relationship with your customers or audience. Your PR narrative has to show what you can do for your customers of followers and make them believe that they need you instead of you needing them. Having a strong PR narrative drives your credibility and creates relevance — two things all organizations want.
Questions to Answer Before Creating Your PR Narrative
Before constructing your PR narrative, there are a few questions you have to answer. This is where you brainstorm ideas that will allow you to create a compelling narrative. This is the process that allows you to actually think and discover how you want to be heard. So, channel your inner therapist and get ready to face the underlying realities that propel your business or movement.
Question 1: Who is Your Customer?
Customers are the heartbeat of your business and you are the brain. In order to survive and flourish, the brain and the heart have to act together. It is about establishing a relationship, but every relationship has two pieces to the puzzle. In building that relationship, the customer has to know who you are, but more importantly, you have to know who the customer is. People respond well when they feel someone has a sincere interest in them. So get to know your customer — it’ll be worth it.
Question 2: What Makes you Unique?
In order to succeed, you have to stand out. There are a multitude of other companies just like you, but what separates you from them is what makes you different. You have to know this because if you don’t know, how is your customer going to know? This step is where you explain everything that your company does and why people need to pay attention to you. Leave no nook and cranny unturned.
Question 3: What Pain do you Solve for Your Customers?
This is where you close the deal. How do you make your customer feel like what they are getting justifies their support of your company? How can you fix a problem that they may have? In order to get your customer on board, you absolutely have to benefit them. You have to be able to show that you can make their lives a little bit easier whether it be by a product you offer or a specified service. What do they gain out of the relationship?
Putting it All Together
Now that we have all the pieces to the puzzle, we can construct the narrative in a clear and compelling way. Make sure you read your pieces, edit them for spelling and grammar and firm up your content. If you think you’ve got something pretty good, read it aloud and see how it sounds. Reading it aloud is a great way to check for those tricky grammar mistakes and overall tone of your piece. It is also a great way to see if what you have clearly communicated your vision. If it sounds like the voice you are trying to portray, then you have a good starting point.
Once you have corrected and refined all of your pieces, it’s time to put the puzzle together. Start with question #2 and put together each separate piece into paragraphs. As long as you are able to effectively answer the questions for yourself about your business, then you will have a compelling PR narrative that resonates with your audience. It’ll provide the customer with the purpose of your business and a definitive reason to support your cause. Good luck.
JSYPR & Marketing PR Narrative
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