The power of story telling

How many statistics do you remember ever? What about stories? How do you engage people?

One of the many questions we are asked by clients is: Can you help us get our message across?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is are you prepared to work and change your mindset about what you think your messages are and are you prepared to tell stories to sell your vision?

Bring the heart and soul of the organisation's people to the front

At MediaWise we know the power of story telling. Almost every aspect of what we do involves helping clients to tell a well-told story to win funds, change policy or legislation, talk to donors, supporters, schools, and businesses.

Most recently, we have worked with GriefLine, Australia's only dedicated grief helpline service that provides counselling support services free of charge to individuals and families who are experiencing loss and grief.

The message that GriefLine wanted to get across was to let people know that its volunteer counselors were available over Christmas and New Year, a notoriously difficult time for many people.

Rather than focus on the message, which would have become lost in the cut and thrust of pre-festive season media mayhem, we worked with GriefLine to identify counselors who were willing to tell their stories about why they volunteered. The aim was to present the counselors as professional, caring people who were there to listen.

We worked with the counselors so they were clear about what the intention was behind the PR campaign, and what the reader should be left with.

In all of our publicity campaigns, whether it is for GriefLine or other clients, we not only work with the people who are being interviewed but also provide accurate information about them and GriefLine. This ensures that a journalist understands the link, and can tie their story back   into the overall narrative of why they are being interviewed. The take home message for each of the counselors was similar: stop trying to sell GriefLine itself, tell it through your own story or use a story of someone you tried to help (keeping names and identifying information confidential).

Effectively, we have put the counselors at the heart of each story, bringing their experience, dedication and commitment to the forefront.

For GriefLine, the approach yielded results. The coverage was strong. Every article written was powerful, focusing on the counselor who, for whatever reason, was donating time and professional nous to help others through intense times of grief and loss.

The result:

GriefLine received more calls over the 2015 festive season than ever before.

Take out tips:

  1. Make your stories relate to the people you want to use your programs or services.
  2. Make your stories sing so that you engage with the people you want and need to reach.
  3. Invest in learning to tell better stories. It will pay off.