Once upon a time…PR with a passionate heart

2510282119_d3d8604979 Isabelle Allende opens her TED talk with a favorite Jewish saying, “What is truer than truth? Answer: The story.”

Now, isn’t that the truth!

The longer I practice public relations, the more I realize I was born into this career. Here, I thought I had stumbled into my profession because the university program for museum curatorship was unavailable. No, I was born as a storyteller and this has become my number one asset as a public relations professional. So why isn’t storytelling taught in university curriculum? Or can it be taught?

I have been mulling over these questions for a couple of years. I get incredibly excited when I come across a post like that of Valeria Maltoni’s, We Talk and Learn by Story and Garr Reynolds’, Robert McKee on the power of story. For years, I wrote fiction stories as a hobby, but never thought to incorporate the lessons learned from writing into my chosen career until I took a screenwriting class in my final year of college. Then it hit me like a mac truck. A press release is not my life’s work. Fostering conversations between the company/client and the community is public relations. And how do we do that? We stir up interest by passionately telling our stories. Who cares about a release? It is about the EXPERIENCE.

PR brethren, we have the keys to the kingdom. Social Media is not the end-all, but I do think we have prime opportunity to relearn our business and be able to integrate lessons learned with social media tools into our overall communications strategies and become part of the business story. Valeria states in Connecting the Dots on Social Media and the Future, “2.0 = two people, you can be one of them. Be my guest!

Successful social media is not lightning in a bottle; successful public relations storytellers are lightning in a bottle. Ouch. It might hurt to admit, but as I stated in my comments in Jason Falls’ post, Social Media is the Responsibility of Public Relations:

The public relations industry has missed a golden opportunity to be an essential part of social media development and we (I am PR) should be ashamed. There are a lot of great pr bloggers and strategists doing brilliant work and understand no-control, but we have let the majority of industry be tinted by bad apples. I understand the points of Rachel and Chris, but being familiar with Jason’s tone, I think what is being said is the buck needs to stop somewhere and there needs to be a centralized location for the the fostering of relationships. Who better than pr? Isn’t that our mission?   

Take some time to reevaluate why you are in the business. Can you tell your own story? Better yet, can you tell your client’s story?

(Photo courtesy doctorjimc.)

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  • http://nextcommunications.blogspot.com/ Richie Escovedo

    This is a great way of approaching PR. I have used the analogy before with our news items: “How do we want to tell our story.”
    This is NOT the same as trying to get out “our side of the story” that sounds too much like spin. Storytelling should be woven into the fabric of a successful communications program. Humans are hard-wired for storytelling . Excellent post.

  • http://www.conversationagent.com Valeria Maltoni

    McKee is one of my favorite teachers. I read “Story” a couple of years back and I am thinking it’s about time to get back into it. We change as our story changes and we take in information differently at various stages of our life.
    So do people at various stages of their careers and in different jobs. The cookie-cutter approach is increasingly providing diminishing returns.
    There is a place for releases as the invitation to begin or participate in a conversation. Sure. It is a starting point, though, not *the* point of PR.
    Thank you for the kind mentions, Lauren.