What is Storify, and how can PR pros use it?

Add this storytelling tool to your list of social media platforms.


Just as marketing and PR pros are getting used to Tumblr and Pinterest as part of their social strategy, here comes another platform to confound you. If you haven’t already started using Storify, now is as good a time as any to sign up and see how this social media site will change the game (yet again).

Storify lets you curate the best tweets, photos, links, and posts about a particular subject and plug it into an easily consumable “social story.” Think of it simply as telling a story through the useful things you find online (as opposed to the mindless chatter).

The Storify editor enables you to search social media networks and the Web to find all the buzz about the topic you’re addressing. From there, you drag and drop the social elements you want into your Storify story, and connect the social elements with copy. Then you can take the embed code and place your Storify story anywhere on the web.

It’s always easiest for me to go from an example.

In an article published on Monday, I interviewed the US Olympic Committee spokesman about his organization’s dustup with a group of knitters. To put Storify to use, I knocked out a quick blog to give a recap of what happened—from the start of the crisis to my article: http://storify.com/kevin_j_allen/usoc-vs-knitters

This took about 15 minutes. It was admittedly a crude use of the technology, but I think it does a decent job of telling what happened through the eyes of the people who were involved in the story.

If you’re like many people, Storify sounds confusing at first and its usefulness isn’t immediately evident. But I think it’s easy to see why this would be a useful aggregation tool for media outlets.

For brands that aren’t media organizations, the benefit is less explicit. Brands could Storify posts around particular aspects of their products or product launches. Basically, a way to capture buzz and feature fans.

In a recent interview, one of Storify’s co-founders, Burt Herman, explained its usefulness for brands:

“People have used it to capture mentions about their products. People also use it to push things out there—to say, ‘Hey, tell us what you think about this, use this hashtag, we’ll use your best responses, and put them online.'”

Herman pointed to Levi’s one-and-done use of the service, in which it shared the best posts using the hashtag #shapewhatstocome. The White House is also using the service as a sort of behind-the-scenes communication tool.

But perhaps one of the more telling ways that brands might start to use this service comes from a traditional media outlet—CBC—which Storified a Coca-Cola vending machine that dispenses free pop in exchange for a hug. While this story came from a traditional media outlet, these types of stories could come from brands in the future.

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Topics: PR

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