The art of the story

At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, at the heart of every piece of communication is a story.

At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, at the heart of every piece of communication is a story. It might be a story that wants to be told, or needs to be told, or has to be told. It might be a good story, it might be a dull story, it might be – heaven help us – a bad news story. No matter – there’s no communication without a story.

A good story, one that leaps out at you, one that grabs the attention, is a joy to work with. We were fortunate enough, not so long ago, to be involved with the launch of a new company in the technology space – and, hell, did they have the story. An indigenous company, first in the sector, with a billion euro project that will create more than a thousand jobs. This was news.

Which was reflected in the results – by the end of the week, we were able to report more than 50 pieces of coverage, including TV, radio, national, regional and trade print and online and a smattering of international titles. Probably more importantly, our client’s ‘phone lines were going like the Batfone on a bad evening in Gotham.

Now – obviously – something like this doesn’t come along every day. Most of the time, stories are smaller, or more local, more specialist or simply a result of your ‘business as usual’.

Sometimes you might think that you haven’t got a story at all – but don’t panic.

Broadly speaking, there are a handful of things that make news. If you can find one or two of them in your story – or add them as extra elements – then your communication will be that much more effective.

They Are (in no particular order)

As Tom Cruise famously shouted: “show me the money”. Big numbers make news, whether it’s the cost of something (the million-euro Mont Blanc pen on sale at London’s City Airport), investment in something (our clients and their billion euro project) or money spent on something (millions of euro to provide new medical equipment).

Everyone is fascinated by the rise of the machines. Technology that makes lives easier (Siri, Alexa), technology that shapes the future (contactless payments) technology that was science fiction a few years ago (driverless cars). The current massive interest in AI is a case in point.

Things that touch people’s lives, that they can relate to, that are important to them, or that simply give them a warm, fuzzy feeling. Think job creation, think community initiatives, think food and drink and leisure, think health and exercise and – if all else fails – think cuddly kittens.

Because there’s nothing like a good argument, or a challenge to the status quo. Proposing a new way of doing things, questioning established procedures, espousing causes, targeting the unpopular – all of these can get you noticed and talked about. Corporate Health Warning – being controversial can attract unwelcome attention and less-than-positive responses. Preparation, thought and planning are necessary.

The lives of the beautiful, the famous, the rich and the powerful are fascinating. An endorsement from a celeb (whether it’s a politician in a photo opp, a sportsman at your fundraiser, or a blogger talking you up) adds another dimension to what you’re doing and can help your communication cut through.

At the risk of being repetitive – a good story is a joy to work with. If you’d like some help telling your story, we’d be more than happy to have a chat.


Let’s talk about your communication training needs