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.

Four Benefits to Open Work Spaces

When stepping into the Dittoe PR office, you’ll notice we set things up a little differently than the traditional corporate office setting. We believe collaboration helps our team improve and excel by encouraging group brainstorms, team meetings, tactical collaboration efforts and more. So, we specifically designed our office space to be open concept so we could better serve our clients and each other.

 

According to American Express Forums, people are 12 percent more likely to report being happy with their job when they have freedom and autonomy in their work environment. We believe that in order for creative companies to flourish, an open work environment or combination of open and offices should be available to employees. There are several advantages to providing this type of environment for employees.

 

Breaks down the silos of a traditional working environment.
When organizations get into a silo mentality, it means most employees or groups aren’t sharing information or acknowledging each other. This can lead to reduced employee morale and lack of collaboration and teamwork, which negatively impacts operations and the overall wellbeing of the business. But, when the office is shifted into an open environment, the silos are lifted. Employees are able to interact more and share a unified vision, allowing the workplace to achieve success in the highest capacity through collaboration. Dittoe PR hosts regular team brainstorm sessions, as well as provides various collaborative working spaces for employees.

 

Minimizes rigid work schedules.
Not only do open workspaces invite collaboration, they also instill a greater belief in being flexible while we work. We learn to move with the ebb and flow of the day when we’re closely working with our peers. Open workspace helps us create a balance between head-down work and light-and-fun engagement with fellow team members. If you’re easily distracted in a way that negatively impacts your work, this may not be for you, however.

 

Invites collaborations in real-time.
When reviewing new hire applications, it’s common to see the phrase, “works well with a team,” but with open work spaces, it will be put to the test. Granting employees the opportunity to collaborate at any given time allows creative ideas to flow without the need to set up a formal team meeting. In PR, things can unfold quickly and require a speedy response. Having a sounding board visible and present allows the team to collaborate in real-time and quickly deliver results to the client.

 

Builds closer relationships between employees.
From recapping what happened over the weekend, to supporting one another through difficult times, the Dittoe PR team uses its open work spaces to build a strong foundation of friendship between its employees. With an open work space, your company can grow closer, creating a “we’re in this together” mentality.

 

Although open work environments have its share of cons, such as workplace banter and noise, the opportunities it holds outweighs the cons, in our opinion. Dittoe PR is relentless in the pursuit of excellence for our clients and prides itself on exceeding expectations every day with custom PR strategies, innovative ideas, flawless execution and results. We owe most of that to our daily collaborations, relationships with each other and, of course, the dedication to our clients.

 

Interested in seeing how a strategic plan could benefit your business? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com or request a consultation today.

Interview Prep Sheets: Turn a good interview into a great one

While Dittoe PR offers an array of different services for clients, our bread and butter is media relations. We’re constantly working with reporters to secure media opportunities for our clients. Since we believe no two clients are alike, that also means every client interview is as important as the next. Whether it’s a small startup or a Fortune 500 company, we have found that the value of an interview prep sheet can help turn a good interview into a great one.

 

So, you’re ready to draft an interview prep sheet – now what?

 

The following items are must-haves when developing a prep sheet:

 

  • Date/time: Arguably the most important thing to include. Place this at the very top of your prep sheet, and possibly two or three more times throughout the prep sheet.

 

  • Address/call info: If the interview is taking place offsite, include the address of the location. Hyperlink the address to Google Maps, that way all the interviewee has to do to is click the link and pull up directions. If the interview is taking place over the phone, include the conference line or direct line information.

 

  • Background/opportunity: Include background information about how this opportunity was secured. Reiterate the name of the outlet, the reporter’s name and what he/she is interested in talking about.

 

  • Interview topics: List out topics the interviewee should be prepared to talk about. This information can be pretty generalized, but it gives your client a better idea on what he or she will be talking about during the interview.

 

Depending on the type of client and/or interview, you can add additional information to your prep sheet. Say the interview is with the CEO of the company and not your day-to-day contact – the CEO may want or need more information to help prepare for the interview, especially if it’s with a top-tier, national outlet. If you’re going the extra mile, these items are good to include in your prep sheet:

 

  • Type of interview: Is this a phone or in-person interview? A live or taped TV segment? Including this simple information can help your client mentally prepare for the type of interview.

 

  • Length of interview: Including the estimated length of the interview can help the interviewee plan out the rest of his or her day. It can also help interviewees map out what they are going to say and make sure they have enough content to talk about.

 

  • Reporter’s name: It’s good for the interviewee to have some background info on the interviewer. Along with including the reporter’s name, include a link to his or her bio page or Twitter. Take it a step further by including recent stories written by that reporter, too.

 

  • Potential questions/key messages: This section can be extremely beneficial. While reporters rarely share their interview questions, it’s good to include what you think could be potential questions the reporter could ask. Including key messaging can help craft answers for the potential questions, too.

 

  • Media training tips: We typically include this section for clients that may not have extensive media experience. For example, we use district sales managers at retailers across the country for local TV segments. This may be the only time a district sales manager participates in a media interview, so they may need more guidance than our day-to-day contacts. By including this section in a prep sheet, we provide a quick rundown of what to expect during the interview. We provide tips on how to dress, how to get messaging across, and how to be mindful of body language. This helps in-person interviews be more fluid and natural.

 

  • What to bring: This portion is only needed if a client is bringing something to an in-person interview. If it’s a TV segment, it’s important to have visuals for the interview. List out the items that the client needs to bring, or list out suggested options.

 

Preparing your client with the right tools and information in an interview prep sheet can make a world of difference when it comes to an interview with the media. Think your business could benefit from media relations? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com or request a consultation today.

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