Replacing Shakespeare, Contrarian Storytelling, ...


It’s been more than three months since a grab-bag post.

Here are three mini takes that can’t quite stand on their own:

Don’t Replace Shakespeare

If you’re going to call your column “The Awesome Column,” you’d better be.

And Joel Stein is.

One of his recent columns in TIME delved into high school English emphasizing nonfiction with the objective of improving students’ clarity of writing.

Stein, not so respectfully, disagrees:

“Sure, some nonfiction is beautifully written, and none of Jack London’s novels are, but no nonfiction writer can teach you how to use language like William Faulkner or James Joyce can. Fiction also teaches you how to tell a story, which is how we express and remember nearly everything. If you can’t tell a story, you will never, ever get people to wire you the funds you need to pay the fees to get your Nigerian inheritance out of the bank.”

Yet another reason to embrace storytelling.

Note: Amusing vignettes from high school essays can be found at “Student Writing Skills Seem Just Fine.”

Contrarian Storytelling Sells

The media is constantly looking for that fresh angle.

The PR function needs to do the same, cultivating what we’ve come to call one-off storytelling.

A recent Journal article, “The Quietest Tradition in Sports,” offers such a contrarian example:

“One night every December, students at tiny Taylor University pack the school’s gymnasium and participate in a phenomenon that’s completely out of place in modern sports: silence.

A Corporate Blog with Media-like Readership

I continue to evangelize the benefits of company blogs.

Yet, there’s no getting around the dirty little secret in the backroom –

Most company blogs are dreadful with microscopic readership.

We support a Brazilian enterprise software company called TOTVS in the United States. I stumbled across their corporate blog and did a double take.

Even though I don’t read Portuguese, the number of views blew me away.

shakespear, PR, Business communications, storytelling, The Hoffman Agency, TOTVS blog


Some posts have almost 80,000 views.

Again, keep in mind this is an enterprise software company, not a Latin American version of American Idol.

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