Continuing on my storytelling kick from last week here…
Image by OrkyDorky
Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Ira Glass speak in Seattle about the history of This American Life and the masterful art of storytelling that goes behind each and every episode. Interestingly, one of the very first posts I did on this blog more than two years ago was about Ira’s storytelling techniques. Yup, here I am again.
I flat out love Americana. I also thrive on nostalgia and have a driving interest in exploring the hidden stories behind the people, places and things that we encounter each day. In essence, TAL is perfectly suited for me. The stories are somehow so simple and tangible and yet so emotionally complex and humorous.
Therein also lies the beauty of how Ira piques the interest of millions of Americans each week with his show. As Ira described this past weekend, his storytelling approach is actually quite simple and breaks down to one easy formula.
Ignore the fact that Ira happens to have incredible, tone, inflection and a unique sense of timing and think about the fundamentals here for a moment.
How often do PR folks spend time creating the perfect headline or carefully crafted quote in a press release only to hear reporters pass because of the bland topic being pitched?
A LOT. Thousands and thousands of times each day. So, what are folks doing that are captivating the eyes of morning show producers, feature editors and program directors to land stories? They’re casting away the superfluous BS and telling real, authentic stories that prompt real emotional reactions.
Far easier said than done but a much simpler process if you keep Ira’s formula in mind from the start. Whether you’re crafting that press release, drafting a pitch, writing a video script or recording a podcast, think about keeping your narrative short, sweet and poignant.
Need a good example of how to make this work? Hop over to Vimeo to check out this Moments spot. Seemingly mundane moments made incredibly moving. This is obviously an artistic piece but apply the same mindset to a client project with a final call to action and you’ve got a pretty powerful piece of content.
One thing is for sure. If Ira is visiting a city near you, you should attend. In fact, this should be required attendance for any PR agency and Ira’s marketing team would be smart to pitch agency’s on some private appearances. Just sayin’.