20 Oct TIPS FOR CRAFTING A COMPELLING MEDIA NARRATIVE
Our goal as communications professionals is to help our clients to effectively distill and communicate their message to the media and beyond.
We all have a story to tell, right? Of course. However, we need to consider what it is that we want to say, and just as importantly, who we want to say it to.
Our story – be it individual, corporate, government or non-profit – might be unique; but it might also just be unique like everyone else!
If you are looking for some inspiration to help tell your story, here are our top tips to consider when putting together your media narrative.
The big picture
The first tip is to begin by taking a big picture view of the situation and asking: “How does this affect my audience?” This requires showing some empathy and putting yourself in the shoes of your audience by considering how, and why, this particular piece of communication is relevant.
Given that there are so many stories waiting to be told, we want to be able to craft a very clear narrative that is directed precisely to the people that we care about.
From a corporate communications perspective, this ability to craft a compelling narrative is essential in having your message delivered to the desired audience.
Who is my audience?
We are bombarded daily with stories, messages, sales pitches and more, so we want to make sure that any message we put out will have some meaning and significance to our target audience.
If you have genuine news to tell, the media will be receptive and is likely to help tell your story. If you are bringing them marketing messages dressed up as news, you might get short shrift.
So before we look to tell our story, let’s consider what a successful outcome might look like – are we aiming for a front-page story on one of our national publications, or are we looking to communicate to a small but influential audience?
Once we’ve worked out our audience, then we can get to work on telling your story
Simple and digestible
Next we need to consider the facts of the story – how can we convey the essence of our media story in a straight forward, easy to understand way?
Concise communication takes more time and craft, but the clarity of message is certainly an asset when pitching the story to the media. This doesn’t mean we need to ‘dumb down’ the story, rather we are focusing on concise information and simple concepts that a journalist can quickly grasp and then convey to their audience.
The most compelling news items also have emotion at their core. Have you heard about the old newsroom adage that “If it bleeds, it leads!” That is, the negative emotions – be it fear, sorrow, anger etc. – will usually dominate any mainstream news agenda.
However, the media can’t be all doom and gloom. There is scope for telling positive stories that both inform and uplift.
Great stories and great story tellers are the key to a successful media narrative. What this means is firstly, there has to be a story that is interesting and relevant, this story then needs to be delivered in a compelling way.
This combination can generate powerful results – and certainly warrants time spent not only on refining that narrative but also rehearsing the delivery.