Storytelling in Public Relations

Knowing how to write various types of texts, having experience in managing social networks, excellent spoken expressing and public speaking are key to successful operations in the field of public relations. However, communicators nowadays need to add at least one other feature that is often overlooked – creating and telling good stories.

Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to communicate. Numerous studies show that stories affect the listener’s or reader’s brain as they activate significantly more various systems than when merely receiving data. The stories thus trigger emotional reactions in the audience, and often the readers or listeners even identify with the main character and feel as if they are experiencing the story themselves. By creating and telling stories as a part of planning and implementing communication strategies, we thus achieve greater engagement of the audience, while its emotions or attitudes can be easier harmonized with our goals.

What role do stories play in public relations?

  • With the help of stories, it is easier for the public to identify with the organization or brand
  • Stories can influence changes in thinking and behaviour and have the power of persuasion
  • Good stories attract attention of the audience faster and make it easier to convey messages
  • With the help of stories, it is easier to communicate more complex and more technical concepts, making them more interesting and easier to digest
  • Stories help to create a positive perception of the organization or brand, plus the competition cannot copy them

How do we create a good story?

Good stories contain conflict, drama, and turning points. They need a protagonist who faces the problem, learns or grows through the story, and eventually overcomes the issue. At the same time, a good story should be written in a simple and clear way, in a conversational style that helps to make it easier to reach audience engagement. To create good stories, follow these steps:

  1. Think about where the story could come from. Have you noticed something your consumers do? Did they tell you anything about the specifics of your product or service? If you’re not sure, do some research among them.
  2. Find the main character. A good story involves a hero the audience can identify with.
  3. The main character should have a goal or desire. Think about what he wants and how to present this desire to the audience.
  4. Add a conflict source. What prevents your character from getting what he wants? What must he overcome to achieve his goal?
  5. Make the story interesting or fun. Think about how your character achieves his goal.
  6. Let the character in your story change and grow. In what way do the chosen character and other supporting characters develop? This is an essential ingredient that will make your story appealing to the audience.
  7. Keep the story simple. People can’t remember a whole bunch of information at once, so the story shouldn’t contain too many various details.
  8. Continue to refine and innovate. A good story is not created overnight, but needs constant perfecting.

The main goal of public relations is to build mutually beneficial relationships between the organization and its stakeholders. With the help of good stories, we can raise this relationship to an even higher level as they allow us to create a sense of added value in the audience, and at the same time the audience connects even more with our organization or brand.

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Nejc Horvat

Advisor

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