One of my biggest jobs as a publicist is to help isolate and determine what a company’s story is and often how to tell that story. Perhaps this is a very pure way to look at a profession that at times has felt more like sales and action item tracking then a creative field in communications. And perhaps that’s why this publicist has not jived with the PR done at big agencies in the past. I don’t believe things are formulaic. I hate buzzwords. And when it comes to PR 2+2 does not always equal 4.
If I were to sit down with you today to chat about your company what would you tell me? Would you give me a very well-rehearsed elevator pitch? A statement that is usually put together for the context of time and clarity in the delivery to a potential investor. What would that statement convey to me about your company? What emotion would it evoke?
What I want to know is WHY you started your company. What makes you and your business interesting? And why I should care? I would say be authentic, but marketers have completely destroyed and dismantled the meaning of that word.
Be real. Be you. Inspire me!
Brevity is always something to consider, especially in a world where we all have eight-second attention spans, hate being advertised to and literally start texting in the middle of conversations. I think it’s a magical mix of captivating storytelling and time management.
Being able to tell a captivating and story about why you have dedicated your life to starting your business is important. Make me feel it. Engage me.
I think of it as not just as a way to mesmerize an audience but also as a way to re-inspire you every time you tell it. And you should tell it in a slightly different and organic way every time you deliver it. You should tell it in a way that will be relevant to the people who are listening to you.
I think one of the biggest mistakes I see CEOs and founders make is being too rehearsed and polished. I think we sometimes mistake preparation for confidence. We all want to be perfect and we all want to be on message, but being too on can be a turn-off for listeners. Have you connected with your audience? Have you looked them in the eye, asked them how they are (either IRL or digitally)? Interacted or acknowledged them in any way? My prime example of this would be a musician on stage during a tour making a simple verbal nod to the city he/she/they are in that night. “Let me hear it Portland, Oregon!” — subtle, but important. You have to connect with them.
Quick tips for developing and telling your company’s story:
- No one likes a one-way stream of communication – Don’t just talk AT your audience, whether it is one person or 1000 people. Find a way to engage.
- People like people – Especially unique, passionate and or people that seem more like your next door neighbor than a suited exec. Be a human being, not a Cylon (shoutout to BSG).
- Rediscover your excitement – Bottle up that feeling you had when you first had the idea for your company or knew you wanted to work for the company you are at. Find the origin of your passion and excitement and don’t be shy to share that.
- Try stuff – Get weird. If you feel like your story is not shining through when you are talking to people, try something new. I really like to do some writing exercises with my clients that force them to be candid and off message. Try having a low stakes conversation with a friend about your company – see what resonates with them. See what they connect to – I promise you it won’t be words like “synergy,””seamless” or “world’s first.”
Still having trouble?
Feel free to reach out to me! Yes. I just pitched you. I know how cheesy, right? But I would not be telling my story if I was not helping you to tell yours 🙂
“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” –Tahir Shah, in Arabian Nights