3 ways to turn online reviews into storytelling gold

The positive things consumers say about your organization and its products and services can help you identify tales and experiences to connect with your audience.

Reviews influence action.

Are you willing to eat at a restaurant with a one-star rating? What about getting a haircut from a two-star salon? It’s understandable if your answer is “no,” but ask yourself why. If you’ve never been to these establishments, how do you know you won’t have a better experience?

According to BrightLocal’s 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey, 80 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Online reviews are changing buyer behavior, and communications pros ought to take note of review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and G2 Crowd.

They can yield insights about a company’s products or services to inspire buyers to act. They also can be incorporated into brand stories delivered through earned, paid and owned media channels.

Here are three ways communications pros can use positive reviews for storytelling:

1. Mine review sites for story ideas.

One way to overcome writer’s block is to read reviews on sites such as Amazon, TripAdvisor, Yelp or G2 Crowd for inspiration. You will probably find new perspectives and ideas.

More than 26,380 reviews are posted to Yelp every minute. A stream of fresh content is uploaded daily, and any of these posts can yield a breakthrough idea to ignite your creativity.

2. Recycle reviewers’ insights.

Use reviewer perspectives in pitches, press releases and other press materials to ensure you are resonating with your audiences. Need a customer quote for a product announcement? No problem. Search relevant review sites to find a glowing endorsement for that business solution. Also, link back to the review website, so prospective customers can read the full review.

3. Weave reviews into key messaging.

Let’s say your organization wants to drive home the message that it provides world-class customer service. Start searching through review sites until you find a review saying just that. Include it in the key messaging document so your spokespeople can cite it in media interviews.

Think about how to use the testimony in other materials, or perhaps to introduce a larger theme at an event. For super strong testimony, post it on social media, while giving “thanks” to the reviewer. The opportunities to push out that message from a happy customer are endless.

Adam Beeson is the director of communications at G2 Crowd.

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