I’m often asked what I do. Occasionally I’m asked why I do it. Kind of a (with apologies to Alfie) “what’s it all about, Al G?” question.
My answer? Stories.
I’ve always been attracted to stories: reading them in books, watching them on stage and screen, or listening at my grandfather’s knee. As a youngster into early adulthood, I acted in plays and occasionally tried my hand at writing stories–partially because I’m a big ham but mostly because I loved being part of a story. Of course, I’m not the only one.
Since we first took breath thousands of years ago, humans have used storytelling as a means to learn and share information. Campfires, cave drawings, coliseums, prosceniums, books, radio, TV…humans have found ways to spread the word as quickly as spilled water finds cracks in the desert floor.
Today we are no different, except we have so many more ways to tell stories. Besides the “classic” methods–books, newspapers, radio, TV, smoke signals–we now have the electronic behemoth of the World Wide Web. Blogs, chat rooms, message boards, Twitter, YouTube, eBooks, webcasts…if you’re reading this, chances are you know something about all of these tools for sharing.
These tools have changed the game on the news media. The internet has made it possible for everyone to share his or her story. That’s good. It’s also not so good if you have a story you want to tell about your product, service, organization, or cause. Why?
Millions of stories flood the web, all vying for the attention of the most credible sources. Sure, you can tell your story on your own blog, but who’s reading it? The ideal strategy is to get your story into the hands of credible sources with lots of eyeballs watching. That starts with news media and high traffic purveyors of information and opinion on the web.
In that lies the challenge and the reason why experienced public relations professionals are important now, more than ever. But don’t just take my word for it (source: The Economist):
According to data from Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS), a private-equity firm, spending on public relations in America grew by more than 4% in 2008 and nearly 3% in 2009 to $3.7 billion. That is remarkable when compared with other forms of marketing…