Who is telling “your” story? What a novel freaking question!? #getalife

So I found this on a pr/marketing firm’s website…and I think they raise an interesting question. Let’s look at this statement:

“Successful companies tell their stories well. Multiple channels today allow for storytelling on many levels. Our team helps clients tell those stories in the traditional way as well as through the digital and social media channels. It’s one thing to get good publicity and another to leverage it. We also help clients navigate the choppy waters of storytelling in less than ideal situations. Our advice to clients is simple: Tell your own story (good, bad or ugly) and tell it fast or someone else will.”

Yes…so who is telling your story? You? Your organization? The people in the organization? What is a good story?

Here is the biggest question of all…why do people really care about your story…your organization’s story. Why will they listen…or better yet…do *you* even know who the heck is supposed to hear your story.

Let’s go back to the above statement a few lines into this little statement:

“Our team helps clients tell those stories in the traditional way as well as through the digital and social media channels.”

What does that mean? What does it mean to tell a story in a traditional way? Does that mean we will be sitting down and listening from a book two weeks after it was published? And I noticed the dichotomy placed between traditional and social/digital channels. There is a huge fallacy in this statement…one that assumes social and digital are only channels for just sharing and not platforms for storytelling along with the multiple layers of curation opportunities.

Let’s move on to the next part of this statement:

“We also help clients navigate the choppy waters of storytelling in less than ideal situations.”

What does this mean? I am confused…what are the choppy waters of storytelling? Oh…you mean crisis communication…yeah…that’s it. So, it sounds like “we” are inferring that storytelling creates a crisis that needs immediate attention…oh…yeah.

What are we sharing about storytelling and the methods behind the craft. This makes it seem like that trials and tribulations arise from “bad” storytelling? Really!? What happens after a bad movie after you leave the theater? It is not a bad story…you just forget about it faster. But, you don’t create a crisis situation from your reaction…maybe if you cuss about the bad movie and offend someone around you.

HEADLINE…there is no such thing as bad storytelling. We are human and we are all attracted to different types of prose, visual communication, word-of-mouth stories…but who am I to say that your story is a bad story.

It is time to move away from this mainstream use of this metaphor that is turning into a buzz word…one that is as hollow as those who are selling these services. It is time to call a spade a spade.

Crisis Communication = Crisis Communication

So let’s wrap this dialogue up with the last line of this statement above:

“Our advice to clients is simple: Tell your own story (good, bad or ugly) and tell it fast or someone else will.”

My favorite part: “…tell it fast or someone else will.”

LIGHT BULB…there is no such thing as “else” in this or any situation. Everyone is telling a story, some are more well developed, some are in their infancy stages, and some have complex marketing initiatives behind them followed by tremendous organic/paid strategies.

So back to what this statement is really saying…PAY US and we will dump tons of money, time, and resources to make your story rise to the top beyond other well developed stories with limited paid efforts.

Regardless…
stories are still stories…
content marketing is still content marketing…
facebook/twitter/social ads are just like billboard/print/other ads…
organic search is just another form of digital word-of-mouth…
but…storytellers are still storytellers..some are just better than others!

So I leave you with this…from the American Storyteller Bob Dotson..

“Bob Dotson’s Storytelling tip: Tell me a story. Don’t give a speech. Don’t talk at me. Talk with me. Tell me something I’ve never heard before or tell it so well, I will want to hear it again, the way only you can tell it” 

We are all storytellers…not just highly paid, highly strategic pr/marketing firms!

 

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