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Good media content creation contains strong elements of storytelling – not just within the medium itself but in an overarching story or narrative across mediums. Well, what does that mean? One good outcome in specialising in Film and Media PR are the interdependent parallels in the methodology in telling stories ergo, planning campaigns.

Humans love stories; it allows us to search deep into our psyche in a safe place. A good story keeps us hooked and if good enough, we retell the story. Oftentimes we adapt the story to suit in ways to include culture, age, or history. How then can we link the pleasurable art of storytelling with industry, client needs and add skills to PR’s quiver?

Some of the most told stories have drawn-out, action elements where the characters are doing something and as they’re being told we can imagine ourselves within the story, taking part of the action. For simplicity let’s look at a well-know tale, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. Originally penned by Charles Perrault, prior to the better-known Grimm Brothers’ retelling, the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’s’ themes had sexual and ritualistic undertones. Fundamentally, it’s a story containing a message that says; ‘don’t talk to strangers’. How do we get to understand the story? Through a narrative and narrative is the way in which the story is told, or those action elements…

…Little Red Riding Hood is with her mother baking; her mother tells Little Red Riding Hood that she should visit her grandmother and give her some of the bakes as a gift; as Little Red Riding Hood leaves, her mother tells her specifically to stay on the well-know path and not to wander; Little Red Riding Hood, on her way through the woods to her grandmother’s house meets a wolf and she tells him where she’s going; the wolf lies, telling Little Red Riding Hood that he knows a short-cut to her grandmother’s house; Little Red Riding Hood takes the short-cut; the wolf rushes to the grandmother’s house knowing Little Red Riding Hood will take much longer to arrive at her relative; the wolf…

Do you catch the drift?

There are now myriad social/media platforms at PR’s dispense in order to tell a story and its subsequent narrative. Once a client’s story is clear, platforms for telling the story can be chosen. Knowing a client’s story/business model is crucial because basically it’s the ‘so, what do you do?’ question. Not all platforms may be suitable for a business and clients shouldn’t feel pressurised into subscribing to all. What’s most important is that the platform(s) occupied are well managed and contain regularly engaging, informative and authoritative content. Some further tips…

  • As indicated before, know the client/business core and/or model (story). This should be grasped in a couple of sentences. If a business is unable to deliver its own business model concisely (i.e. know its story), this will be a setback for both parties. This is important, as the target market/audience needs to understand messages quickly, without any ambiguity.
  • Be clear (through close client consultation) which platform(s) will be suitable in telling the story (narrative). As already stated, not all are necessarily applicable. For example a financial services business will have different social media platforms (narrative) to that of say a fashion designer; new sports footwear could be different from say footwear for toddlers.
  • Explore new content to update messages (story) and make them current using for example current affairs or news items then implement new messages appropriately across the chosen platforms (narrative).
  • Allow others – i.e. audiences to tell/sell the product (join the storytelling) this allows them to feel part of the brand.
  • One way of keeping abreast with new technology is to form reciprocal alliances with educational institutions and their student cohort who specialise in applicable/appropriate medium(s).
  • Remember always, quality – not quantity!
  • Oh, think in pictures – why do you think films are so successfully prolific!

So, what’s your story?