You want the world to hear your story. But are you ready to tell it? Whether you want to spread the word about a startup company or a new product or initiative, you need to consider several critical story drivers before you launch outreach.
At a brand communications workshop led by PCI at MATTER – a Chicago-based health tech incubator and collaboration hub – several PCI communications counselors, including a former TV journalist, shared success stories and cautionary tales to illustrate story-telling best practices for new ventures.
As a proud partner of MATTER, PCI helps share stories that show how MATTER and its member startup companies are improving healthcare through innovation. Our work with these startups has given us insights into their distinct communication challenges and whether they have the story assets in place to persuade public audiences to care. Our workshop focused on three key story drivers – alignment, personalization and visuals.
1. Get Aligned
Your readiness for successful storytelling to outside audiences starts inside your organization. Do you have a value proposition? Do your leaders and core staff agree about what makes your venture unique? Have you taken time to define and agree on specific language and key messages to talk about what you do and what sets you apart? Take the time to identify and iron out internal inconsistencies, developing resources such as key messages, so you and your team members can confidently present a unified, cohesive story about your company or program.
2. Get Personal
Stories are a powerful tool in motivating audiences to care and take action. Research shows that the human brain responds to the descriptive power of stories in deeply affecting ways. Take the time to connect to the human stories that bring your brand to life. Was there a personal story that inspired you to start your company? Are there stories that illustrate the need for or benefit of your product, program or solution? Can you share a compelling patient or customer story? Journalists love founder and patient stories. And if you don’t have those stories (yet), consider giving journalists a “behind-the-scenes” experience of your product or solution. Those opportunities can persuade journalists to share your story with their audiences.
3. Get Visual
In today’s noisy world of information overload, and audiences scanning content quickly, visuals can make your story stand out. Visuals also bring the abstract to life, and help us understand complex data, processes and ideas. Graphs and charts, illustrations, photos, videos and infographics can increase your story’s impact.
Bonus: What’s Newsworthy?
Think of these story drivers as a multiplier effect when combined with a newsworthy topic to pitch to the media. How do you know if a topic is newsworthy? Ask yourself: is your product, service or solution the first, best, or only of its kind? Do you have compelling data or new research? Do your homework—find out what type of coverage competitors are getting and look at how their news is positioned.
With a newsworthy topic and aligned, personalized and visual storytelling assets, you’re ready to launch your brand story to the world.