7 PR Pros Share the Top Storytelling Trends for 2021

Humans are psychologically wired to enjoy a good story. The best marketers and PR pros leverage the power of storytelling because it helps to build a deeper and stronger connection with an audience.

Whether you are crafting a story you hope will resonate with journalists or building a deeper connection with customers vis social media, storytelling is a must-have skill. We had seven PR pros answer three questions on this topic. Their advice is sure to spark some new ideas for your 2021 campaigns.

Storytelling Advice and Trends

 

Tracie Broom of Flock and Rally

#1 BEST ADVICE 

Our key piece of storytelling advice is to be empathetic. We like to put ourselves in the shoes of our client’s target audiences. What kinds of impact stories will move them? Start with the moment the story hits the audience member and drives them to act, then work backward from there. How can the client work with their constituents, customers or community to identify great stories of impact, and how can we transform those folks into relatable ambassadors? It’s not a new tactic, but it is proven, and we love it.

#2 CONNECTING WITH AN AUDIENCE

We like to ask this question: “How is our client changing the lives of individuals?” If we can answer that question with our content, then audiences will see themselves in our materials.

#3 TRENDS FOR 2021

Video has been so huge, and we’re seeing great success in boosting super-short, 15-second video snippets on social and via digital advertising that are laser targeted. We’re also seeing growth in long-form interviews on podcasts and YouTube. Even some local TV interviews are getting longer.

 

Jason Brown of PublicCity PR

#1 BEST ADVICE 

Less is More. Particularly in the last year. Reporters, editors and producers have shared with me that they are short staffed and don’t have the time to “look” for the information. Tell them what they need to know as succinctly as possible to make a decision of whether they want to cover it or not.

#2 CONNECTING WITH AN AUDIENCE

I shape the story based on the medium with an emphasis on strong visuals if it’s a print or TV story.

#3 TRENDS FOR 2021

Don’t be shy of pay to play opportunities. More media are offering content-rich opportunities if you are willing to spend for it. As the consolidation of media continues to evolve, outlets are finding unique ways to provide coverage for our clients.

 

Tony Vann of The Guild

#1 BEST ADVICE 

Details. Details. Details. I think the most critical step in telling any story is connecting with your audience and painting the picture as if they were right there experiencing the moment. Once the listener/reader goes from passive to a vested part of the story, they will always follow it to the end.

#2 CONNECTING WITH AN AUDIENCE

I have 99 stories, but none are mine. It is important to understand the voice and topic matching the audience you are about to engage.

#3 TRENDS FOR 2021

Video and more intense graphic novel-type stories. The “explainer video” and infographics were ONLY the beginning!  The “choose your own adventure” videos will allow deeper engagement and online digital tracking for marketing purposes.

 

Elizabeth Edwards of Volume PR & Engagement Science Lab

#1 BEST ADVICE 

When neuroscientist image the brain while experiencing story, they see the most activity when the main character, the protagonist, is the focus. You can maximize connection from story by focusing on a character your audience is likely to personally identify and feel with.

#2 CONNECTING WITH AN AUDIENCE

Make your audience the hero of your story.

#3 TRENDS FOR 2021

As our world gets noisier and the sciences reveal more about the mind’s relationship words, we will continue to see the art of storytelling refined with the science of connection.

 

Monique Farmer of Avant Solutions

#1 BEST ADVICE 

Write brief stories that leverage the story arc and can be told in 90 seconds to 2 minutes

#2 CONNECTING WITH AN AUDIENCE

Insert characters people can identify with

#3 TRENDS FOR 2021

Interactive stories that the audience can become a part of and/or stories that come to life using technology as part of speaking engagements, such as holographs.

 

Jenny Smith of Acuity Public Relations LLC

#1 BEST ADVICE 

Right out of the gate, tell a personal story, share an anecdote or express an opinion to grab readers’ attention.

#2 CONNECTING WITH AN AUDIENCE

I create a scenario (problem) that the target audience can relate to. Then share a brief story about how someone has experienced and reacted to that problem or issue. Then, I’ve offered ways the audience can think about and solve the problem.

#3 TRENDS FOR 2021

Stories that help us expand our personal and community connections – and that counter hate and prejudice – will win.

 

Tom Garrity of The Garrity Group

#1 BEST ADVICE 

Know your audience! You can have a great story that could go over the heads of your intended target audience.  Make the story relevant to your target audience.

#2 CONNECTING WITH AN AUDIENCE

Storytelling gives the audience a glimpse of what working with the client is like and an opportunity to share your work culture.

#3 TRENDS FOR 2021

One thing we’ve all learned from pandemic is just how impersonal and tone deaf many campaigns were… and continue to be! Customers will look for the best value.  This includes quality, price, results and connectedness — how they feel.

Ready to learn more? Find a PR professional in your market today and begin telling your story.

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