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Find and Share the Many Faces of Your Story

Discover a great story to tell, then think how you can share it uniquely and effectively across different outreach platforms such as your website, social media and email. Hint: think of your intended audience and follow where they lead.

Discover a great story to tell, then think how you can share it uniquely and effectively across different outreach platforms such as your website, social media and email. Hint: think of your intended audience and follow where they lead.

Sharing your story on multiple media is smart. But don’t assume a one-size-fits-all strategy for content. Discover the many faces of your story that align with your different outreach platforms.

Some story forms work on a website, but land like a thud on Instagram. Optimally, the story should conform to the audience that dominates individual platforms. The demographics and viewing habits of audiences vary greatly from Twitter to Facebook or from LinkedIn to Instagram. The content should be shaped accordingly.

Russell Working, writing for ragan.com, channels some of the secrets employed by Good Morning America, which he notes is the number one morning news show with a history of online success. Working pulls together some of the top tips from Terry Hurlbutt on effective content and distribution strategies.

One of his tips is to “adopt the story to the medium.” “What is the story we’re trying to tell?” Hurlbutt says. “What is the heart of it? And then how do we adapt that story to a different medium?” It could be as simple as using a video on Facebook and a selfie or behind-the-scenes look for an e-letter.

A story told by a TV anchor works for a network website. Taking the host out of the story elevates the same story’s interest on Facebook. Selfie-style video may pique interest of the same story on Instagram. Live streaming offers a you-are-there perspective that can appeal to viewers who want ultimate realism. 

Sometimes the variations are as simple as where the camera is pointed. For a cooking show, you want to see the chef, but your best view of a recipe-in-progress can be a top-down camera view.

Most brands and businesses don’t have all the resources of ABC or network news shows. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to creativity and maximize what you shoot for multiple outlets. Hurlbutt advises that an advantage of digital content is that it can be easily molded and folded to “feel natural” to conversations on different digital platforms.

Not every story lends itself to repurpose for multiple media. The stories that are most amenable tend to be inspirational and about real people. “The world is full of inspiring stories every day,” Hurlbutt says. “Find them and elevate those stories to a wider audience.”

It goes without saying the critical element in spreading around your story is careful planning. You can’t just wing it or hope it works out. That trivializes what could be a golden moment.

As Hurlbutt advised, look for stories with multiple facets that can be told through a mix of lenses. Identify the core of the story, which needs to be the mother rock of whatever variations you develop. Then do a 360 around that core to see how it looks or can be viewed from different angles. Consider narrators and story forms in the context of audience preferences or platform norms. Think about how to capture these different views. Finally, lay out how to optimize each vantage point to maximize your overall story reach. 

Yes, this involves some hard work and getting out of your comfort zone. Keep in mind, your audience will appreciate the effort and show their appreciation by sharing your story far beyond your immediate orbit.

 

The Right Way to Integrate User Content

The latest campaign from Travel Oregon is designed to encourage visitors to look beyond Portland when planning their vacations.

Produced by Wieden+Kennedy, the series of seven videos feature the Seven Wonders of Oregon, ranging from the Oregon Coast to Smith Rock. The videos are beautifully shot and edited and feature some of Oregon’s most beautiful vistas.

What is remarkable about the campaign is not merely its glossy exterior. The videos provide an excellent introduction to each wonder. Those intrigued by what is effectively a commercial will find the site also features a wide variety of detailed content. There are dozens of blog posts featuring in-depth trip itineraries — complete with maps, photos and links to attractions and accommodations.

The campaign has done a great job of integrating user-created content. Each video’s page features user Instagram photos and encourages visitors to hashtag their photos when they visit. The site utilizes an interactive illustration to demonstrate the different regions of Oregon.

A similar tourism campaign was developed by the City of Seattle, which was called 2 days in Seattle. Billboards around Portland encouraged residents to venture north for a quick weekend away. However, the site does not have the same depth of content that the Seven Wonders of Oregon features. The Seattle campaign relies too heavily on user-crated content and does not offer enough useful information to plan a trip.

The Seven Wonders campaign demonstrates that featuring user-generated content can be a great way to encourage engagement. Pairing it with professionally created content can make the campaign seem more genuine and interesting. However, relying too heavily on users to create content does not insure the best results. An effective content strategy should include both.

Building an Intranet Workers Will Use

Large, spread out organizations should consider an intranet that is user-centric and provides reliably useful information employees need to do their jobs.Large, spread out organizations should consider an intranet that is user-centric and provides reliably useful information employees need to do their jobs.Much energy goes into designing an outward-facing website and generating compelling content. That same level of energy should be invested in building an intranet employees will use.

Larger businesses, nonprofits and public agencies with operations spread over multiple locations need a way to keep everyone in the organization informed and involved. Intranets are an efficient tool for the job.

However, intranets can take on the same liabilities of house organs, serving as a management mouthpiece as opposed to an online information hub. A good intranet is a place where workers want to go because it reliably provides up-to-date information they need to do their jobs.

Seductive Tactics, Strong Strategy

The magic of public relations is more science than wizardry. Strong strategy — sound reasoning that guides your objectives and tactics — is the key to lasting success.

Tactics can be very seductive — the promise of a website, a television spot, a Facebook page, a brand video. Strategy becomes an afterthought or, worse, left out altogether.

Catching inspiration from a video or social media account is great creative fuel and will be essential in the creative development process. But when you’re building your PR plan, strategy comes before creative brainstorming. Strategy is the rock to ensure your efforts are on firm ground to achieve results. Strategy lets you move from guess-and-check marketing to a place of confidence.

To help you develop the right strategy for your brand goals, good PR professionals will ask questions such as:

1.  Why are you interested in a specific tactic? Do you think a video (for example) will make your brand appealing to a new demographic? If so, appealing to a new demographic is at the heart of the matter, and we’ll help you develop a strategy to get there.

2.  Do you have research on your target audience? What do you know about their media consumption, daily habits, values and interests?

A Queue for Communications Audits

In Justin Timberlake’s song, Losing My Way, he sings: "Can anybody out there hear me?" And while the song is not about public relations or marketing, the question is essential. Are your target audiences receiving your message in the way you intended? Is your media buy investment delivering a reasonable ROI? Do people remember your key messages?

There is a strategic process to help you answer these questions, evaluate your recent efforts and chart next steps with confidence. The process is called a communications audit, and CFM’s track record includes numerous communications audits in its 20+ year history.

The communications audit provides an opportunity for CFM communications specialists to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of your communications toolkit. After conducting a comprehensive study of your communications efforts, we provide our findings and recommendations for increased effectiveness and efficiency. From that point, we can work with your team to develop next steps.

While the audit process is tailored to each client, there are six key lines of inquiry we recommend for communications audits.