7 PR storytelling sins

PR pros looking to tell their clients’ stories can look to classic tales full of conflict, drama, and excitement as a template.

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Most of the stories that PR and marketing professionals tell on behalf of the brands they represent fall into one of the classic story categories.

Christopher Booker’s “Seven Basic Plots,” which has been adapted by major advertising creative directors such as TBWA’s Rob Schwartz, outlines some of the most common. They range from the ever-powerful David vs Goliath archetype to the rags-to-riches myth and variations on the classic hero’s journey.

The obstacle—and the opportunity—for many public relations professionals is that we’ve spent years with an “earned media” mindset. We’re trained to identify, shape, and pitch the story, but for a long time, we’ve relied on traditional journalists to actually tell it. Now, with the rise of brand journalism and the soaring number of journalists entering PR and communications, we need to not only shape the stories, but tell them at a high level.

So, like the heroes of myth, we must rise to meet the challenge of a changing business. Here are some of the most common obstacles to great PR storytelling.

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