From What’s Now To What’s Next [July 19]
Our weekly round-up features interesting content and conversations around social media, content strategy and digital storytelling, along with takeaways for communicators.
Did we miss anything? What social trends are you curious about this week?
Audience, Format and the New Realities of Storytelling
A post on Copyblogger on the three core elements of storytelling stated that in order to tell a good story you need a sequence, suspense and a roller coaster. While I agree that working these elements into a story, when appropriate, can leave a significant mark on the target audience, there are two things that impact storytelling and by association the elements you can leverage for effect – the audience and the format.
Building suspense may not work if your intended audience includes IT buyers who are stressed out of their minds and are looking for content and solutions that can address pain points without rubbing those pain points in. And while a sequence is completely logical, a 15 second Instagram video creates all sorts of complications. New digital formats demand a true understanding of who your audience is and more creativity when it comes to telling a story where you may not be able to incorporate the three core elements listed above.
This post by Ike Pigott on social audiences, is a good one to read in order to reflect on just how much audiences have changed. Ike notes that the fourth question communicators used to ask when planning out their message strategy has changed from, “What do I want them to do” to “What will they do with this information.” In order to answer this, you have to listen and you have to be prepared to engage back.
A Call For Companies to Revisit Approval Processes
Shel Holtz shared his thoughts on the 140-character news cycle and 20th century approval processes. I thought the Canadian Prime Minister’s strategy to unveil his cabinet re-shuffle via tweets was brilliant -- Unheard of and had media staring at their Twitter streams to meet and learn about each new cabinet member. Unfortunately, Shel notes something I know very much to be true – Most businesses don’t leverage social media for breaking news or emerging issues because their internal approval process is a bureaucratic nightmare. Shel calls for companies to reassess their approval processes to accommodate to the reality of the 140-character news cycle. If I could agree more, I would.
A few ways to manage the risks associated with social media and a more agile approval process are:
- Working with your PR team and agency to prepare things in advance (canned tweets, responses, lists of influencers or conversations to monitor)
- Preparing for the worst that could happen (my colleague Bill McLaughlin just blogged about this in reference to #BoycottRollingStone and the George Zimmerman trial)
- And I would add that a simple but strong social media policy and internal communications structure are clutch, among other things that are common to PR professionals who know crisis communications like the back of their hands.