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Powerful PR: Be a Great Storyteller!


Guest articles > Powerful PR: Be a Great Storyteller!


by: Robert Deigh


Story telling is nothing less than the way in which organizations communicate their value and make themselves unforgettable. It's powerful PR.

Let me tell you a story. I like iced tea. There are hundreds of brands of bottled tea out there. One of them stands out and I tend to buy it more often than others. It's called Honest Tea. If you've heard of it, you may know it was created by a couple of regular guys in a kitchen, not in a food conglomerate's lab.

A story from their website: "[Business professor and, later, co-founder] Barry had just returned from India where he had been analyzing the tea industry for a case study. Among other things, he learned that most of the tea American companies purchased for bottling was the lower quality dust and fannings left after quality tea had been produced." Pretty interesting.

Here's another: Panera Bread comprises more than 1,600 restaurants. Five of those restaurants charge nothing for their food. People pay whatever they can. "Inside, there are no cash registers or set prices, only suggested donation amounts and donation bins. The foundation began developing these non-profit community cafes in 2010 as a way to help address the food insecurity issues that affect millions of Americans." Memorable!

So what does all of this mean for you and your business? How do you tell your story in a way that people will remember you?

  • Appeal to both head and heart - the analytical and emotional.
  • Imagine a single ideal recipient and speak directly to him or her.
  • Use context. How does this story help me understand why your service or product is better than your competitors'? Or, why I should want to do business with you? Your history can tell me a lot about your present and future.
  • Give just enough detail, but not too much. Get to the point quickly.
  • Be anecdotal and self-deprecating ("We learned the hard way by doing everything wrong; now there are no
  • more mistakes left to make twice.")
  • No jargon. Speak plainly.
  • Do some name dropping; it's OK. If you do great work for the U.S. Navy, the Smithsonian, high-profile opinion leaders, trade associations, banks, retailers, high-tech companies or great restaurants, you probably can do a good job for me.

How long should your story be? Fit it to the appropriate medium.

  • On a full web page, you have room to tell all the good stuff. But stay colorful and anecdotal. Don't bog it down with thousands of details. Save that for other pages.
  • Just a 140-character tweet? "Once again, we were named among the best places to work in the region. You will love working with our team! Find out why (add website URL)."
  • A presentation? Yes, you can use PowerPoint without shame. But don't be evil. Use slides only to emphasize photos and other graphics to tell your story. Use words only to support those graphics.

Here's my story: I have worked in communication since I was in college - for a dozen years as a news reporter and then in PR at places like PBS, AOL and even a few pre-bust dotcoms. I was a reporter/photographer in the Army. Started my own PR firm in 2000. I wrote a book, I play guitar in a rock/blues/jazz band, own a big dog, and live in Virginia with my family.

I love my work, helping my many clients get the local, regional and national attention they deserve in traditional and social media, making them top-of-mind with customers, beating their competition, and living happily ever after.



Robert Deigh is principal of RDC Communication/PR and the author of "How Come No One Knows About Us?" (WBusiness Books, available May 2008), the PR guide for organizations large and small that want to win big visibility. Deigh helps organizations increase their visibility and build their brands by creating strong and positive relationships with the press and other audiences. He is also a well-known speaker and trainer on media and PR topics. Want more free info to build your business? Subscribe to Deigh’s popular monthly 1-page online newsletter “PR Quick Tips” from his website at He can be reached via email at, or by phone at 703-503-9321.

Contributor: Robert Deigh

Published here on:

Classification: Sales



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