What’s your story of influence?

Consumers are full – they have everything that you are trying to sell – and they need a compelling reason to choose your product over what they already have or plan to have. 

Add to it that they are also attention deficit, and are always multi-tasking. The average attention span today is just 5 seconds. Ten years ago it was 12 minutes.

The audience psychographics itself has drastically changed. Today, we are alone in the crowd; and our interactions are about a like and a smiley. What gets us to act on a call-to-action is compelling stories that can provoke emotions.

I learnt this early in my career as a PR professional that the best way to develop relationship with a journalist is to work on the story that he is working on. Not only does that make the journalist’s story richer as well as more meaningful for the client, it also helps build a relationship based on mutual respect. It’s a win-win for everyone.

In our chase for stories often we become cold-sellers rather than understanding the medium, the readers, the journalist’s interests and therefore the pitch. And yes, there are the S%#t that PR people do that Journalists hate.

Today, as we work with a larger set of influencers and the consumer, story-telling as a forte becomes even more crucial.

It’s tried and tested. If you offer the journalist an accompanying multimedia package: video, slideshows, infographics and other illustration inputs as appropriate for that particular story, the bigger the play you can expect in the story.

As you start managing the social media communities, you realise that in order to make meaningful interactions with the community members – beyond just contests and freebies – your art and craft of story-telling become the most important factor. They have to be visually appealing with a compelling message.

As smartphones and other pervasive technologies increasingly give us all affordable and accessible ways to communicate with video, audio and graphics as well as words, we as communicators have to compete with a huge lot of content. Only high-quality social content deemed relevant to users’ interests will be discovered, shared and curated.

Today as communicators and PR professionals ‘story-tellers’, our strategies need to be developed in collaboration with a transmedia team, creating opportunities for retelling that story through each connections, networks and formats.

As brand managers ask yourself: “What’s your story of influence?”.

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