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Jack and Jill.

Romeo and Juliet.

Shrek and Fiona.

The news release and storytelling.

Not exactly a stanine buster figuring out which one doesn’t fit.

Don’t blame PR Newswire. Their services are merely the delivery vehicle corporations use to fling their dull announcements – OK, I’m being kind – to the masses.

To combat corporate speak, PR Newswire will hold a forum called, “Tipping the Engagement Scale in Your Favor: How to Employ Multimedia Content for Compelling Storytelling” on March 28 in San Francisco with a speaker lineup that features:

  • Jim Lin, Vice President, Digital Strategist of Ketchum
  • Brian Solis , Principal of the Altimeter Group
  • Michael Pranikoff , Global Director of Emerging Media from PR Newswire

I get to share the stage with these folks as well which should be great fun.

BTW, if you want to read blogging at its best – levity, smart, poignant, and personal – check out The Busy Dad Blog from Jim.

In anticipation of the March 28 powwow, I’ve pulled together my top five posts on visual storytelling:

This 2010 post examines the concept of charticles in WIRED, a precursor to the rise of the infographic. There’s plenty of drama … especially for the fish who don’t know if they’ll make the saltwater tank or get relegated to a sauce until Hour 33.

It’s tough for B2B companies to show their personality. Our client TOTVS shows how it’s done and yes, they had a helping hand.

I love this customer case study from NetApp which stays away from the typical formula: Problem, solution, product, benefits and happiness.

There’s a reason the line “a picture is worth a thousand words” became a cliché. The post offers pragmatic advice on how to upgrade visuals in your communications

Fortune journalist Erik Rhey was good enough to spend a few minutes taking me behind the curtain in how the graphic “Bottles to Bridges” got built. There’s so much we can “borrow” from journalists in business communications.

If you made it this far, feel free to use the discount code “prn50” for registration.

Hope to see you on March 28.


  • Dude

    The S.F. Giants and L.A. Dodgers
    Stanford and Cal
    Oil and vinegar
    Automated news release distribution/text overload and storytelling

    They don’t mix. When they do, the result can be confusing, testy and at most, a temporary “drive-by” interaction.

    The same goes for proposed “storytelling” that tries to combine (or mash) video, audio and text. It doesn’t work.

    People are speed-readers and speed-listeners nowadays. And they have the attention span of a teenager.

    Text doesn’t convey immediacy, ideas, or engagement. Moreover, as Ishael himself has opined, text (especially a one-way news release overload, er, distribution service) is one-way. Text, including emails, does not allow the give-and-take audio/video stimulation or interaction of a conversation.

    And a story has to be real; have a beginning, middle and end, some tension, and facts. Too many companies foist a text blather about how everything now/will live(s) happily ever after. That’s just propaganda. It’s not a story. And trying to tie text propaganda with other storytelling techniques is like mixing oil and vinegar, or the Giants and Dodgers. It’s just gonna’ be ugly.

    Here’s an example: do you (want to or actually) read text:
    1. During Super Bowl commercials?
    2. Off a billboard as you’re driving?
    3. On a dense website?
    4. In a dense “White Paper?” (When was the last time you read a 15-page White Paper cover-to-cover?)
    5. In a “news” release that’s laden with:
    * “We’re excited . . . ” (Are you really jumping up and down with excitement?)
    * “It raises the bar . . . ” (You mean it elevates a place where you can get libations?)
    * “It’s robust . . . ” (Like Hills Brothers coffee? What does “robust” mean?)
    * “The leader in . . . ” (Does any company, besides Avis, say they’re second?)

    Here’s what the panelists should talk about:
    1. We’re going to stop producing blather.
    2. We no longer will allow phrases such as, “we’re excited” in text (agency, company and distribution service).
    3. And all information will have video/audio hyperlinks up front. Period.
    4. We will help you professionally create this content in real-time.

    But that won’t happen. Short-sightedness will prevail. And despite the best intentions of this panel, things will remain the same.

    So it’s up to you individuals to change the process. Be innovative. Deliver edutainment. Don’t skimp on audio/visual planning and implementation. And tell a real story.


  • hoffman


    This could have been a contributed post (wonder if it’s too late or if I’ll be dinged for duplicate content).

    I’m with you.

    PR Newswire has a fair amount of data (yes “big data”) that affirms content with visuals enjoys greater traction than just words.

    As for how to improve business communications and “tell a real story,” there is no magic wand.

    The way I see it, the more people advocating and evangelizing, the better.

    And if the panel brings a few more people into the fold, that’s a good thing.

  • Dude

    Well, I think you create a situation where a Marichal-type storyteller takes out a Roseboro-type text/hype/buzzword pusher with a Louisville Slugger (see:

    Maybe Ishmael vs. pr hypewire.

    That’d be a good story. And people would be telling it.


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