—— media release / December 6, 2021 / By Theresa Tayler

Media Release and Storytelling 101

An Announcement, New Business, or Product DOES NOT EQUAL A STORY OR MEDIA RELEASE.

PEOPLE must be impacted, for the good, or bad. In your case, let’s make sure it’s good. No “if it bleeds it lede’s stuff.” Okay? Yikes! No ambulance chasing (unless you have an app for that). Keep it on the positive, and show how you’re CHANGING LIVES on the B-side.

Media cover stories based on these elements:

  • The head***: Is it a good story? Does it make people want to sit around the reading rainbow and stop what they’re doing to hear about it, does it have a beginning, middle and is it driving to a conclusion? 
  • The heart: Does the story have a hero? Is there a person, group, entity, animal, or concept that is a hero or underdog? And is there a VULNERABLE truth to your story?
  • Does it rock us? Does it impact and change us? Is there an angle to this story that is about how said person, group, changing lives or impacting the way we live for the better or worse? 

It’s gonna feel scary…

You’re pitching empathy and emotion based on facts and you’re going to do it with vulnerability (DAMN IT!)… there’s no story without the head and heart. 

If your “story” doesn’t impact people in a sizable way or there’s no thought leadership or changemaking happening… it’s simply not a story. 

The hardest part about getting your story told, is having the willingness to be vulnerable enough to put you, your team and your concepts out there for other people to interpret. Pitching your story to the media leaves us feeling exposed. That’s okay. You asked them to pay attention. Just be yourself.

In other words… a little botox on your story to tighten it up is fine, but there are no facelifts in media relations. 

Tell the truth. Always.

All of these lines across my face tell you the story of who I am...But these stories don't mean anything when you have no one to tell them to…
Brandi Carlile

Elements in a media pitch:

  • The 5 Ws: Who What When Where and Why (should people care)
  • A summary of how it drives change
  • A hero (who’s the “hero” of this story)
  • Do you have assets? Think about whether you have a bank of photos, video, imagery etc. that you might include.

Unpopular opinion that is also very true

Your storytelling efforts (blogs and such) and media releases should be “on brand.” But not really… Yes that’s right, I know you have brand pillars and language that people worked really hard on. Your media relations and releases should be in “tone” with that. You can slap your boilerplate on them… and your logo… but when you go out to tell your story, it’s time to start speaking from the heart and get rid of the script. Key messages are good, preparation, practice and training is great … scripts are dumb.

It’s not rocket science (unless you’re pitching a story about rocket science)

You’re just telling a story about yourself and your organization, like you would over a beer or coffee to a friend …  It’s really that F-ing simple. Keep them engaged, drive to a point, appeal to their logic and their heartstrings. You’re not even asking them (media) for investment, you don’t even have to ask for money… just tell them your story. 

Media relations and storytelling is about awareness. 

Getting your story told and becoming known for what you do. That awareness will and should eventually lead to all those things you want (sales, funding, investment, recognition, leads… etc.). But we can’t go into the process trying to sell something. If you do so, you will lose, before your media relations consultant hits SEND on the release.

Public Relations With Heart

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