Early in my career, I was on the phone with a reporter, pitching a press release on behalf of a client. After I threw my talking points out there, the reporter asked a simple question:
“So what’s the story here?”
What? How could he not see that the launch of this new product/service from a very reputable client was not just worth writing about, it was very likely going to change the way we thought about the entire category? I was indignant that he could even ask.
The truth of the matter is, he was trying to help me out and I didn’t see it. He was interested enough to nudge me. And I hadn’t connected the dots in a way that — to him — made for a compelling narrative, compelling enough that he would pitch it to his editor.
In the moment, I’m not sure I recovered well.
I tried my best, but I didn’t answer that simple, elemental question that should guide most — if not all — PR and marketing efforts.
Now, I ask “so what’s the story here?” all the time. To clients. To myself. If the story doesn’t sound compelling enough to pass on, it’s time to re-visit the storyline — with more research, with a different perspective, with different characters.
The time you spend developing a compelling story is a great investment toward getting your message across and changing minds.