Connect to your fans with a compelling story

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Your story woven into a press release, artist bio, or video can result in increased loyalty, publicity, and a stronger emotional connection with your fans

Storytelling in your artist bio
A great book can stick with you for a lifetime. A great movie can do the same. Why? Because of the connection that you make to the story. Storytelling can be a powerful selling strategy, but looking at storytelling as simply a way to affect sales is really missing the bigger picture when it comes to publicity and public relations (PR) efforts. A well-crafted story woven into a press release, company bio, artist bio, or campaign video can result in:

• Increased publicity to your target market and beyond (if you’re lucky).
• Increased brand loyalty, leading to a longer-term customer base.
• An emotional connection made with customers and prospects, leading to stronger engagement

Crafting a Compelling Story

It’s easy to talk about creating a great story for a PR campaign, promotions, and artist bio – but where do you start? What makes for a good tale that can help bring emotional attachment to your product or brand?

Give ’em a dose of drama
Every good story needs conflict and resolution. In the case of your brand or product, drama can come in the form of identifying opportunities within the market, or your own personal experiences overcoming obstacles as they relate to your company, brand, product, or market.

Make it resonate
To be meaningful and compelling, your story must resonate with your target audience. The first important step is understanding who your target market is, or even what subset of your market you’re trying to connect with.
Start by identifying:
• Gender
• Age
• Marital status
• Location
• Occupation
• Income level
• Level of involvement with your product or brand. Does your product act as a proactive solution to your target market’s life problems? Is it a lifestyle product? Offer a business solution?

This is a good start, but any and all relevant information you can compile about your target market will help you better understand what makes them tick, and ultimately help you to weave a story that will connect.

Find a hook
You need to grab your audience’s attention within the first few seconds. For a blog (or any online content), if the reader isn’t hooked immediately, you’ve lost them.

If you take a look at the “Average Time on Page” in your blog’s analytics, you’ll gain insight into how effectively your storytelling – and your overall content – is resonating with your audience.

Whether your hook comes in the form of a killer headline, a big attractive image, or a professional-quality video, your story needs that “something” that will draw your audience in. From there, you can provide the details and information you have set out to deliver.

Let your audience do the talking
While this is your story, obtaining testimonials from happy customers, clients, or employees that you can weave into your story can take the level of authenticity, sincerity, and human connection to another level.

Short is sweet
Shorthand content, be it through Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, etc. have set expectations and have largely reduced people’s willingness to sit through lengthy prose – particularly online. To be effective, much of the online media you’ll use to deliver your message requires it to be concise – at least at the outset. Having deeper content for the folks who have been drawn in can help you really connect with them on a more personal level, but you need to distill your message to bait that hook and get your target’s attention.

Making the most of your story

Once you’ve crafted your story, don’t be afraid to use it! Company bios, press releases, niche pitches, and campaign videos can all benefit from a good dose of storytelling.

Company Bio
By framing your company history in the context of a story, you can help create a more specific, more defined niche for your brand, which may make it easier for others to connect with you.

One example of a company that weaves strong storytelling into its bio is Whole Foods. The Whole Foods bio tells the story of a partnership dedicated to the passion of supporting fresh food, locally grown.

Particularly with social media and your brand’s voice online, a strong bio with a unique story can be critical in helping you engage with your target market, as your story can give a human context to your focus and mission.

Press releases
The purpose of a press release is to provide the media with relevant information about an upcoming release or business advancement with the idea that it will lead to coverage. While press releases are supposed to share relevant information, they can also be used to expand upon the story told in your company bio, helping to further frame the importance of this upcoming release or advancement. It is this frame of reference that can help your press release result in publicity.

Niche Pitches sent to press outlets
While a press release is sent out to the mass media through PR wires or email blast services, a niche pitch is sent out on a much smaller, more focused scale. The purpose of connecting with niche press outlets – be they bloggers, podcasters, or beyond – is to connect your company or product with others who share something in common. The best way, by far, to make that connection with these outlets is to weave a story that solidifies your place within the niche and your potential connection to the people who occupy that same space.

Campaign Videos
Often used as a part of an advocacy campaign to build a stronger brand or define a mission statement for a company or product, a campaign video isn’t just a good time to tell your story, it is the best time to tell your story because of the personal case you can make speaking directly to your audience.

Great examples of campaign videos that tell personal stories can be found in the thousands of people who have created fan funding campaigns for their dream products or ideas. Fan funding platforms such as Kickstarter require anyone creating a campaign to announce it through a video that sits front and center on the campaign page.

Hit your audience from multiple angles
One benefit of telling your story through social media is that it allows you to deliver your content through multiple channels and forms of media. While you may decide to write your personal story through your blog, you may also want to consider the following platforms, as some people naturally connect with different types of media.

YouTube. Sharing your story through a video can be persuasive, set a tone that print can’t, and provide audio and visuals that can really personalize your content. YouTube videos are also one of the most frequently shared forms of media on the internet, which can increase the “virility” of your story.

Instagram. Recently purchased by Facebook, Instagram is now the leading social photo creation and sharing app available on the internet. There is a great opportunity to tell your story through photos.

Twitter. Telling your story 140 characters at a time is a great exercise in finding the right hook. Every time you tweet, you have the opportunity to create a compelling headline and message, and a quick gauge as to which messages are be striking a nerve with your audience.

Story teller image via ShutterStock.com.

Read More:
Press Kit Posts: Advice on Press Releases, Band Bios, Publicity, and More (June 2012)

Celebrate Success – Press Releases, Artist Bios, and PR for Indie Artists (November 2012)

Four Keys to a Product Release PR Campaign (October 2012)

Jon Ostrow is the Campaigns Director for Cyber PR. Follow him on Twitter @jon_ostrow.

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