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Agency insight: the art of storytelling

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

The Hunters have been busy crafting long-form pieces of writing lately. Even with non-fiction writing, crafting compelling content comes down to the art of telling stories.

While we often spend our days busy crafting short and sharp media statements, social media content and key messages, it really is a nice change of pace to sink our teeth into longer form writing.

As a couple of examples of this, we’re preparing to start writing the second edition of Coles WA Magazine and we’ve been writing Brightwater Care Group’s Annual Report. Chalk and cheese at a superficial level, but diving deeper, both are simply storytelling publications.

Here’s how we tackle storytelling to craft compelling content while achieving PR objectives.

1. Find the narrative

What’s the point you’re trying to get across? What are the most important elements people need to know to understand that point? How can you string those elements together in a way that makes the most logical sense?

A good way to do this is to brainstorm or develop some bullet points first, so you can see how things work together. Think about what’s important to build context – this is the start of your narrative. The finishing point of your narrative should reinforce the key takeaway you want the reader to have, and everything else fits in the middle.

2. Establish connection

Connecting to the reader by writing emotive content is a great way to tell a compelling story. Often, we’re looking for ‘human interest’ angle or something people can relate to or connect with emotionally. For example, for the first edition of the Coles WA Magazine, we interviewed a farmer about his business and what it’s like working in commercial agriculture, but found he’d started with one dodgy old tractor decades ago that he lovingly restored to a working condition to start his farming business. It painted the picture of the kind of person this farmer was and the humble beginnings of his business far better than we could have described ourselves.

3. Create tone

Tone…sets the tone! Think about how you want people to feel when they read your content. Some stories can have more creative flourishes to transport your readers, while other content does need a more professional tone. When telling stories, it’s often useful to adopt the tone of how an interviewee or the client speaks naturally in conversation. This has proven useful in developing Brightwater’s annual report. While annual reports can traditionally be very dry, it’s the perfect platform to set a perception of your brand. As a care and support provider, we’re adopting a softer, empathetic tone to communicate all of Brightwater’s stories – yes, even the financials!

Every business has opportunities to tell stories and it really can be as easy as 1, 2, 3.

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