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Dominic Cox

Published on

March 8, 2024


media relations, PR, public relations

Successful PR campaign practitioners possess a keen eye for story clues, akin to Sherlock Holmes unravelling mysteries. We must emulate the observant nature of Holmes's investigative skills, diligently detecting the subtle story threads woven into everyday life and pulling on them until we unveil compelling narratives.

Unlock PR Success

With 25+ years of global experience, we know how to build lasting narratives through the power of skilled storytelling, strategically integrated marketing activations and tactical media relations initiatives.

The idea of PR professionals as storytellers seems to be the buzzword of the industry. While many explore the benefits and applaud those who do it. How do you generate the ideas? And where do you look for inspiration for a successful PR campaign?

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The answer to these questions is both simple and yet complex. Stories come from every part of our lives. Creative ideas and the foundations of a perfect angle often don’t come to you when you sit blankly staring at a word document, as I find myself doing now. Stories come to you on your morning commute, in the local pub, or while soaking in a bath.

To unlock this skill, PR campaign practitioners must embrace the subconscious hunt for stories in our everyday lives. This means seeing the world not just as it is but as a gold mine of untold stories waiting for its resources to be tapped and turned into bullion accepted by the news media.

PR experts must cultivate a keen eye for the overlooked details or the yet-to-be-seen trends that bleed out of every crack in our lives. There is a story in just about everything.

Through the Looking-Glass

Once the mindset shift has been achieved and the world is seen through a new filter, it’s the ability to translate those observations into compelling narratives that truly sets public relations agency experts apart.

A large part of our role is translating what a client wants to communicate into something that the target audience wants to consume. It’s about understanding the pulse of society, anticipating social media trends, and knowing how to tailor a story in a way that resonates with the target audience. To do this, we must consume more media than the competition; we must read more papers, watch more videos on social media platforms like TikTok, and play more games. Doing all of this while keeping one eye on the client and understanding the messages they are trying to deliver.

A public relations campaign’s success requires a blend of intuition and strategic thinking to identify which stories will have a lasting impression with the target audience. Once these stories have been unearthed, the real work begins shaping them into narratives that are not only captivating but also align with the values and objectives of the brands or individuals they represent.

Story Time

The journalistic mindset I set out does not just allow you to create fun stories and contribute an idea on your next WIP call. It truly drives success, especially in creating news on behalf of clients. I will provide you with an example:

On one January morning, I found myself sitting reading Jack Barnett’s Economics Colum in City AM, explaining how something has gone up again, when suddenly, a commotion broke out on the platform. A commuter was being escorted away by guards while continuing to shout at a member of staff. An occurrence that could have been washed away by the continuation of my journey to Pimlico. However, it sparked an idea deep inside my PR mind.

With a client as a digital customer service platform, whose main aim is to reduce the burden on frontline staff, I thought there could be a story in this. So, when I got into the office, I quickly filed a Freedom of Information request to TfL to find the number of abuse incidents by station. A month later the info hit my desk, broken down by station. After some conversations with the client, we had our story. One week later, in the same paper I was reading when the idea came to me, read the headline “King’s Cross worst tube station for TfL staff abuse.”

This is a prime example of how living life consciously and being open to the stories that surround us in our everyday lives can be translated into a successful PR campaign for our clients.

End Game

Public relations professionals must remain constantly curious. We must look at life through the lens of what makes a good story and makes a lasting impression. Observing the world and looking for clues, allows you to elevate your craft, and maintain relevance.

We can go further than pitching a corporate press release on World Whatever Day, instead on your next PR campaign, you should tap into real world stories and newsworthy events to not only boost brand awareness but also create impactful conversations. Ultimately, through this, we will transform clients’ visions into reality.

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