Trends of the Trade is a monthly column written by WWPR member Cory Churches exploring, well, trends in PR. She can be reached at Cory.Churches@gmail.com.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Washington Women in Public Relations
Everyone likes a good story but like telling a joke it requires great skill. Having a good topic, a target audience, plot, point of view and setting all require creativity and focus.
I think all companies, regardless of their industry, have a great story to tell, whether it’s about clients, products or services, employees or about solutions and challenges. Success stories about clients are some of the best subjects as they highlight your ability to connect with an audience and tell a story to which most readers can relate.
Take for instance the story behind New Belgium Brewing Company. Founded in 1989 by Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan, a couple in Ft. Collins, Colorado, New Belgium is now the second largest craft brewer in the United States. From humble but passionate beginnings they created a brand that inspires both their employees and their customers. And Kim Jordan is now the CEO. They have a great story of developing their brand while staying true to their core values. In doing so, they not only make great beer (if you like that sort of thing, which I do) but also do good things for communities and the environment. Their success story with beginnings as a small home business to a nearly national brewing company that has stayed true to their humble but well-thought out core values earns them loyal customers and passionate employees. And they make great beer that is always fun and never boring.
On the other end of the spectrum is a little known government agency tasked with expanding exports of American-made goods and services. The International Trade Administration (ITA) helps U.S. companies find customers in overseas markets. One of the best ways they market their services and value is to talk about the successes of their clients, like DeFeet International, a manufacturer of performance clothing and socks. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, DeFeet is a virtual anomaly in the textile industry. They make quality socks and cycling gear in the United States. DeFeet is but one of thousands of clients that can demonstrate the variety of services provided by ITA to clients. In holding up the international expansion efforts of DeFeet, ITA can demonstrate their value to other clients or potential clients. Being able to tap into a global network of experts who can help any business large or small reach new clients is the essence of ITA’s story but telling it through DeFeet allows other companies to imagine themselves in the same position.
What’s your story? How do you tell it to engage your clients and customers? Are they able to picture themselves in the story? These are all questions to ask when you’re developing content for websites, marketing materials, or even for social media sites. A great story can do much more for you than power point presentations and sales pitches.