It can be very challenging for internal marketing teams to come up with great stories for their executives to tell that are timely and capitalize on current news and trends. Spending most of their time working on the company’s marketing and sales objectives, switching to an external perspective can be very difficult.
Creating stories based on the company’s mission, the CEO’s vision and the problems the company is currently solving for clients is a great place to find good stories and many of the stories we see coming out of the marketing department spring from here. But this is only one of the four places that communication’s professionals can find good stories to write.
There are four common places the marketer can look for great story ideas. Together, they make up what we call the RGA Story Circle and it looks like this.
The first place to look, as we’ve already mentioned, is the company’s own internal efforts. These are all examples of the four types of stories that every business must tell: stories about where it came from (origin stories), stories about what it does, stories about its successes and stories others tell about its successes. These stories are found in quadrant 1 of the story circle.
In quadrant 2 of the story circle are stories that spring from recent news or marketing efforts from the company’s competitors. Often, a company will want to respond in some way to news a competitor has released in order to prevent an opponent from claiming a dominant position. It is unwise to allow a competitor to tell stories that suggest they are leading when they are not. In the event that they have moved into new territory, a well-placed story can divert attention from their accomplishment.
Taken together, the stories in quadrants 1 and 2 are primarily based on news. They are most effective when they are timely and novel. The stories in the remaining two quadrants are trend based and may be related to issues that have been bouncing around your industry for some time.
Quadrant 3 contains stories that are related to the sessions or keynotes that conference planners are scheduling for upcoming or very recent business events. These are generally lagging indicators of the condition of the industry and so are fertile ground for the opinions of company experts. Commenting on a session topic in advance of an upcoming show can even win company executives speaking slots at the show.
Finally, quadrant 4 contains stories related to articles the trade press has recently published or that reporters are currently speaking with sources about. Getting your company experts interviews with reporters is a good way to generate publicity, but writing in-depth stories about issues that reporters have simply touched on in their articles can be even more powerful.
Newsjacking can be very effective and is the process of writing a story that relates to a recently published article about a trend or issue and allowing your own internal experts to explain why it is happening or exactly what impact it is having on the industry.
With the story circle, corporate communicators will always have stories to write, generally far more than they have time to finish without outside help. Fortunately, there are experienced industry writers who are standing by to offer support, both in brainstorming new ideas and writing new company content.
Co-Founder and COO at Content Beacon + President at RGA Public Relations