Aligning Business Storytelling With ...


There’s often a gap, no make that a huge gap, between what the media values and what the PR function “sells.”

It’s no wonder the relationship between journalists and communicators can border on contentious at times.

In the graphic below, you can see two variables that go a long way toward aligning with the media’s needs:

pr chart
With the exception of companies like Apple announcing a new iPad, journalists relegate product announcements to the bottom of the food chain.

Yet, most companies devote the vast majority of content development to news releases and company-centric information.

Communicators can lose sight of the simple fact that media properties charter their reporters/bloggers to cover industries and issues, not companies (again, with the exception of goliaths like Apple).

The vertical axis addresses if a particular data point, perspective or story resides in the “public domain.”

Obviously, reporters value information not in the public domain, allowing the opportunity to write with a fresh angle.

I put public domain in quotes because the information can technically be in the public domain, but if no one knows about it or correlates the information, then it still offers a potential fresh angle.

Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

BusinessWeek recently ran a feature titled, “Fastenal’s Runaway Stock Success.”

The story fits in the upper-left quadrant of our chart, even though the raw content (stock price data) has always been there for all to see.

The journalist, Roben Farzad, asked the question: What is the top performing stock since the crash of 1987?

His dot-connecting produced a contrarian result.

The lead sentence sets the stage with a pinch of showmanship:

There’s no shame in not knowing the top-performing stock since the crash of ’87. It’s neither Apple (AAPL) nor Microsoft (MSFT), and deprived of the obvious candidates, most people draw a blank.

The natural inclination is to think of known brands particularly strong in innovation.

The punch line –

A company called Fastenal racked up the greatest stock price gains since 1987.

Fastenal happens to play in the scintillating fastener category (bolts, screws, nuts, etc.), not exactly an area one perceives as high growth.

Again, the raw content sat in the public domain.

This same type of thinking can be applied to corporate storytelling with the objective of pushing more content into the upper half of the chart.


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