Three tips for telling great brand stories through public relations

Everyone has said to someone, “I have a story to tell you.” Our brains are hardwired to tell and listen to interesting stories, not just facts or data.

 

Public relations professionals discuss storytelling all the time and do it every day, yet the term seems to have evolved into a buzzword in our industry. So, how do you define brand storytelling in PR?

 

At Dittoe PR, we are strong believers that every brand, company and founder have a compelling story to share. From advice on bolstering employee engagement to the proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste, every company can and should be an expert within their industry through brand storytelling. With diligent research and an eye for tying in relevant news angles (i.e. newsjacking), we specialize in developing compelling story angles to regularly generate prominent media coverage for our clients.

 

The tips below demonstrate the power of storytelling in PR and what it really means to tell stories on behalf of a brand.

 

The best brand stories are, in fact, stories.

At Dittoe PR, we pitch stories – not companies, products or services. We don’t tell stories that blatantly sell. For example, we recently successfully pitched a story about an Indianapolis father raising awareness and funds to help people, including his daughter, who are suffering from an incurable disease.

 

Storytelling was the most important part of this project. Our goal wasn’t just to land media hits, but to tell an extensive story – written by the perfect reporter – with the goal of reaching readers who will act. While collecting donations was one of the primary goals of the media relations campaign, building awareness about the disease was also a priority the client wouldn’t have been able to achieve without a customized pitch to tell this story. The story landed the front page of The Indianapolis Star, a top 100 newspaper.

 

The best brand stories initiate social change.

Another extraordinary example of successful brand storytelling was Lonely Whale’s Strawless in Seattle campaign.

 

Although the month-long campaign generated nearly 250 stories in the media and an advertising equivalency of close to $3 million, on a social impact level, Strawless in Seattle was ultimately more successful than the team ever imagined. As a result of the campaign, the city of Seattle announced they were banning plastic straws effective July 1, 2018. This summer, we’ve obviously seen a huge domino effect of companies and other cities doing the same.

 

The best brand stories bring real results for clients.

Through media hits, giveaways and influencer stories, PR and social media, storytelling positions Ironworks Hotel Indy as a trendy Indianapolis travel destination. This strategy has significantly boosted the hotel’s social interactions and followers across all platforms. When a local Indianapolis social influencer hosted a giveaway on her Instagram page for an Ironworks giveaway, the hotel gained nearly 400 followers in one day.

 

The metrics gained as a result of PR efforts are the best way to know where our stories are being told well. When PR pros tell compelling client stories to the right reporters at the right publication, their clients reach the right audience. That, in turn, engages with the brand and increases positive brand awareness and/or action.

 

Ready for us to tell your brand’s story? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com, or request a consultation today.

How to Find Credible Sources to Cite in Media Pitches

With Google at our fingertips, information isn’t hard to find. But finding credible information can sometimes be a challenge.

 

In an era of “fake news,” it is more important than ever for public relations professionals to use credible sources in their pitches to journalists. These credible sources ensure your audience – journalists, and perhaps their readers, viewers, or listeners – can trust you, and that the assertions laid out in your pitch are backed up with reliable evidence.

 

Here are a few best practices for finding and citing credible sources in your next pitch:

 

What makes something credible?

As a PR professional, you are expected to use the best, most correct, most recent, and most reliable information possible. That way, journalists can trust in you and your client’s expertise.

 

Think of finding a credible source to include in your pitch the same way as finding reliable information to cite in your college research paper. To evaluate the credibility of a source, remember the acronym “CRAP:”

 

  • Currency: How recently was it published? Find information published less than five years ago, preferably within the last two years.
  • Reliability: Does the information have evidence to support it? Look for the original source of information, not a news article that cites a source.
  • Authority: Is the author an expert in their field? Fact-check information you find and pay careful attention to the sample size and who or what organization conducted the research.
  • Purpose/point of view: Why was it written? Analyze any biases the source may have.

If you’re not sure if a source is credible, don’t risk it. Find an alternative you know is reliable.

 

Where do you find credible sources?

Credible sources can be subject-matter experts such as professors, researchers, licensed professionals, or high-ranking executives, as well as industry research published in a scholarly journal, by a government agency or well-known research group.

 

For example, when pitching a healthcare client, turn to the National Safety Council, American Hospital Association, and Department of Health & Human Services as resources. For business clients, look at facts and figures from the Census Bureau, National Association of Women Business Owners, and Small Business Administration. In your actual pitch to journalists, link to these credible sources in the body of your email. That way, the reporter can reference the report to get more information about the statistic.

 

Using evidence that does not come from a credible source of information will not convince the reporter you’re pitching that the claims in your pitch are plausible – or even correct – and certainly won’t convince them to write about your client.

 

Ready for us to put together a custom pitching strategy for you? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com, or request a consultation today.

The one tool that can optimize your intern project workflow

Managing the part-time schedules, varying skill levels and alternating projects for multiple interns can be hard, but adding a single visual management tool to your office can make it simpler.

Enter: the Kanban board.

The board gets its genius from the Kanban system, which communicates the status, nature and context of work all in one physical space. This type of tool is especially valuable for efficiency and workflow because it plays on the natural practice of the brain, which processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.

Creating a Kanban board in your office serves as a way for interns to map their individual workflow as well as—at a glance—show the team who is working on what and when.

How it started

Although the method has been popularized by Silicon Valley startups in recent years, the Kanban technique stems from a Toyota production system developed in the 1940s. Assembly line workers displayed colored cards to notify workers downstream about demand for parts. Kanban is the Japanese word for “visual signal” or “card.”

Because of the highly visual nature of the method, workers were able to see what work needed to be done and when, as well as take measures to maximize efficiency and minimize waste on the line.

What it is

To create a Kanban board to manage intern projects in your space, hang up a physical whiteboard, get some dry erase markers and stockpile sticky notes. If you work remotely, consider building an online Kanban board using an online platform like Trello.

At its simplest, the board can be divided into three columns: “waiting,” “in progress” and “completed.” The type and number of sections can be changed depending on the project needs of your company. The board at Dittoe Public Relations includes an urgent column to signify projects that need the immediate attention of interns. There are also rows that divide projects up by the day of the week for further organization.

After the Kanban grid is laid out, start by having employees stick color-coded sticky notes with projects for interns in the first column. Each one should include the name of the employee who placed the project on the board, the date assigned, the deadline and a brief description of the project at hand.

To break it down even further, use various colors to signify different types of projects, such as blue notes for writing and red ones for research.

When beginning a new project, interns should write their name on the note selected and meet with the employee who placed the sticky on the board to get complete project details. Interns can then move the sticky into the proceeding sections as they move through the project until complete.

Why your office needs one

This type of workflow management is especially effective for interns and new employees because it allows them to visualize their projects, notice the pace of their work and grow their sense of accountability within the company. A Kanban also creates a sense of transparency — out in the open, the board holds interns accountable for the projects they choose and the deadlines associated with each project.

On the flip side, those who manage interns can use the board to gain valuable insight into their interns’ work. Are employees assigning too many or too few projects to interns? Are there too many writing projects and not enough research projects? Is an intern gravitating towards a certain type of project, and what work can be placed on the board to strengthen their skills in that area?

By creating and utilizing a Kanban board, companies will create a new, visual standard of work not only for your interns – but the entire company.

And besides, finally moving a sticky into the “complete” column after many status updates gives your interns even more satisfaction than crossing a task off their to-do list. Is there anything better than that?