How PR can Expand an Organzation’s Story

Google Curation

I've been to so many presentations in the last couple of days where people talked about the Google logo — how it changes and adapts to the circumstances. This is a broader conversation than just the logo design though, as interesting as the point about letting go of the "brand specs" may be.

Lennon10-res It was a fortunate coincidence that I noticed the new logo last night to commemorate John Lennon's 70th birthday. Well done on the design front, with the glasses as the double "o" of Google. A hint that the company sees?

When you click on the logo, if you did, you come up with a search result that will show a curated version of John Lennon run through a search. Notice how the Wikipedia entry does rank higher than the site wih the singer's name as URL.

The search sequence, in the order, is reported news, music, Wikipedia entry, site, and YouTube videos. If you scrolled down, you would see another site with the hyphenated name as URL, and more music, and so on. Given that Google is a search engine, I'm inclined to think this was a natural search — and I will verify that in the next day or so.

Google, in fact, curates search as a business. If you're in another kind of business, your opportunity resides in figuring out what content curation means in that business.

Reported news ranks high in search

Which is why getting coverage by high ranking news sites is still the number one aspiration of PR professionals. The trick is to rank high for specific keywords, and since this is content written by third parties, you will need to do some planning and prioritizing.

Knowing and aligning with your search engine optimization tactics and writing for the digital medium also helps you if you have blogs where you refresh content as part of your site's URL's root.

Consistency rewards you in both cases.

The social media press release

There have been some very good discussion about the social media release. The structure of it, how you can wrap context around it via Delicious tags, and provide video footage and images — both high res for mainstream media, and optimizes for the Web — links, and so on.

However, in the back of my mind I keep thinking that the social release was a press release, plus. In other words, it was a great way to provide more information to bloggers in addition to media, yet it was still very much part of traditional PR.

Because it was limited to that piece of news. Much of the release, however, still begs the question: does your PR read like this?

Release as part of a story

Bear with me here, I'm thinking with you on this one. Looking at what Google does, I am wondering… why isn't PR expanding the organization's story instead? We saw a brief example of what that could look like this past week when Eloqua developed a video that explains where the idea of RPM comes from.

As a first step, imagine doing a video narrative that explains how your product or service is helpful to customers — a day in the life, going to actually see how people use it, making it about them. This is still kind of centered around you, though.

Now imagine that you're producing something more akin to the content curation you see in the visuals of this page. For example, building context around how people get something done, or looking more broadly at the story of business continuity if that's your business, or accounting, etc.

I talked with an accountant-entrepreneur just this past week, and got this vibe that accounting could be more fun if we had the opportunity to see it through the eyes of someone passionate about it. We're still missing those stories at the top level.

You don't have to do video necessarily — although we're increasingly consuming video content online and YouTube accounts for 84% of the online media referral traffic to your site. You could be writing the story as an eBook, with illustrations and deeper links from the industry.

YouTube Leslie Bradshaw of JESS3 gave me a ton of execution ideas during her presentation at FutureM a couple of days ago. Think of it as design of story for your new product release. What kind of information can you convey through visual stories? Did you ever storyboard a piece of news?

Tim Washer provided another great example of PR narrative at the IMS Summit the day before. What if you released your news on a very busy news day? What could you do to stand out? How could you deliver the context to all the other news?


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0 responses to “How PR can Expand an Organzation’s Story”

  1. This cuts to the heart of what I strive for with my clients, whether they are training in a particular region and my job is to show relevance to their audience in that region, or whether they are doing a product launch nation or world-wide.
    The problem I run into, as ever, is convincing them that “stories” make good business sense. I’m still working out the measurement aspect, for example, along with how to pull in channel partners and customers themselves who are actually doing the work. (Many find it difficult to find time to work with me.)
    Anyway, thanks for stating this so succinctly!

  2. Really interesting point of view! I’d noticed it of course but hadn’t yet dug into the story behind the logo.
    We started to try exactly this at Synthesio with videos showing the interesting things you can discover with social media monitoring, but I like the idea of drawing out a piece of news 🙂

  3. @Christa – have you read “Switch”? I’m rereading it because it really helps you understand how to guide people toward a destination. I reviewed it here (see recommended books).
    @TJ – how always comes after what. If the organization understands the press release, use that to tell a story.
    @Michelle – you can get creative when you’re attuned to conversations. I like to strike a balance between what people say they want, and what I see them do 😉

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