I’m convinced that storytelling in news releases increases syndication.
While the wire services don’t track this type of data, our own experiences support the premise.
Apparently, Gold’s Gym agrees, applying storytelling techniques to a news release distributed yesterday with the headline:
Are You Fit Enough For Your Own Phone?
Gold’s figured out announcing yet another discount on membership fees or the latest equipment to build those deltoids wasn’t going to register on the media’s radar.
Instead, the release sets up the problem tied to mobile-phone mania with no mention of Gold’s:
It’s become a ubiquitous part of our culture: People everywhere hunched over tiny screens, cramping their hands to type on miniature-sized keyboards or tilting their necks to listen to a call. All you have to do is look at the multi-tasking driver next to you on the highway and it’s easy to see that Americans are addicted to their smart phones. Now it turns out our addiction may be taking a physical toll.
From there, they bring in Dr. Eric Plasker, a chiropractor, to pontificate on horrible conditions such as “Blackberry Thumb” and what’s called “Cell-bow,” which occurs when a person damages a nerve in the arm by bending their elbows too tightly for too long.
I think this is also the ailment Guy Fieri on the Food Network deals with from what he calls the “hunch,” the same bending of elbows to stabilize sandwiches before indulging.
On the negative side, I can’t say the melodrama works for me:
The stats are staggering … Americans spend 6.1 billion wireless minutes chatting on the phone each day; that’s equivalent to 11,600 years of talking within a 24-hour period.
Really … 1,600 years?
But the idea of explaining the problem over four paragraphs before spotlighting the payoff, Gold’s “Fit for the Phone Workout” works.
I also appreciate the attempt at levity in the news release:
The goal is to help eliminate these pesky mobile maladies … one smartphone user at a time.
Last, the release outlines several exercises that can be done at your desk or on the go to fight “smartphone-itis.”
Sure, most of the coverage comes from pure syndication, but there is a human element at work as well.
The key lies in telling a story with broad appeal that the media property can rework in a few minutes. You can see an example of this in the Wireless and Mobile News lead graph:
People hunching over tiny screens, cramping their hands to type on miniature-sized keyboards or tilting their necks to listen to a call, are stressing their bodies. Gold’s Gym offers exercises to help.
Kudos to Gold’s and its communications team for brains over brawn (couldn’t resist).
P.S. Appreciate Judy Radlinksy in our Silicon Valley office flagging the Gold’s news release.