One-off Storytelling Works ...


Obviously, we’re passionate about applying storytelling techniques to our client campaigns.

These are more than words.

We walk the talk.

Here’s an example from Jacqueline, one of our senior account executives in our Silicon Valley office.

By Jacqueline Velasco

The Hoffman Agency (Silicon Valley)

Being solely reliant on press releases for coverage is a thing of the past.

As I have learned first-hand, the best client placements come from one-off storytelling.

Really looking at what your client has to offer – whether directly about what it is trying to sell or a more unique story on internal items – can make a difference in the quality of coverage you secure.

So, where can you find these types of opportunities to tell your client’s stories?

My favorite would have to be Twitter.

Following those that care about the client’s industry or those from mainstream media – and monitoring them daily – is key. This way, you can find relevant opportunities that otherwise would be missed.

Along this line, we recently landed our client, Coupa, in an Inc. story titled – What I Pack: Inside the Bags of Road Warriors. I particularly like this example because it offered the opportunity to show the company’s humanity.

As far as how the piece came about –

I’d followed and worked with John Brandon, a contributor at Inc., and had tweeted him on other story angles in the past for his slideshow stories.

storytelling tweet 1

storytelling tweet 2

By developing a relationship with him via Twitter prior to this opportunity and establishing myself as a good source for his pieces, I was able to get the heads-up in advance that he was looking for interesting things executives take on their travels.

Sometimes clients can make landing coverage like this difficult because it doesn’t directly tie to selling their products. Fortunately, Coupa views PR as a tool for building the company’s brand; consequently, it appreciates the value of cracking the mainstream media even with stories that stray from its industry of spend management.

We packaged up the opportunity to Coupa by asking for a photo depicting all the items the CEO Rob Bernshteyn MUST have when he travels as well as why. Letting the client know that anything goes – if you travel with it include it – no matter what the item may be, and the more creative the better. Since the final product was a slideshow, the photo was a necessity for inclusion.

Within a few hours we had the following photo of all the items Rob takes on his travels sent over to John:

Coupa travel items

Knowing that John would be inundated for a story like this, we knew making the final cut depended on being creative with the photo and commentary:

So, what is in his bag? Let’s take a look:

  • MacBook Pro computer: Rob takes advantage of his flight time by using his computer to catch up on work while on his long flights.
  • T-Mobile Droid: To stay connected with his colleagues and family while he is away, Rob makes sure he has his mobile at all times. He even takes advantage of the apps on his phone to keep himself entertained.
  • Plantronics headset: Rob is quite the multitasker! He relies on his Plantronics headset to keep his hands free during calls so he can take notes.
  • Business cards: Rob makes sure to carry business cards with him on all his travels. You never know when you will run into a potential customer on a flight.
  • Isotronic adaptor: His adaptor is a must have for his international travel to Europe since it allows him to power up when on the go.
  • Seaweed: Rob does not go anywhere without his seaweed. For him it’s an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that balances the Red Bull.
  • Red Bull: No explanation needed. It’s what Rob refers to as a necessity for long trips.

Taking a picture and teasing out the storytelling behind each item was key to securing this coverage.

And the value of this coverage extends beyond the individual placement. John Brandon knows he can count on us to deliver the content he needs for his articles, while other influencers see that the Coupa CEO is willing to show more than a boilerplate view into who he is as a person.

Press releases and product news simply cannot deliver this kind of exposure.

Plus, one-off storytelling offers more room for creativity, and speaking from my own experience, is simply more fun.


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