In August, I wrote a blog post questioning the desire of big business to tell stories about their brands on their own behalf, and without the help of the press. In it, I talked about Gap and its megadollar print campaign that took an editorial approach to telling stories. Although I applauded the fact that it makes its jeans in downtown L.A., I found—in Gap’s campaign and in others—that the very notion of brands telling their own stories can be inauthentic, if not decidedly self-righteous.
The most powerful tool in the whole box is still the press, and PR firms have a whopping opportunity to not just pitch the news but also make it, and finely craft it. We live in a time of newscrafting—with a potent mix of social media, bloggers and traditional journalists that don’t just tell stories for our clients but also allow us to participate in the mix.
Simply telling nowadays feels one-sided, dogmatic, out of step and just plain old news. That’s because “mass media” now includes the general public. By crafting news, it’s not only you, the press or your client telling the story; it’s also armchair journalists from Des Moines to Dubai expanding on that story, reposting it on Facebook and commenting on it on those ever-transparent message boards. Today’s model of being in and of the news is one of participation—and a well-crafted story.
News is happening all around us, at every moment, and being broadcast before a live (and decidedly social) audience day and night. Now more than ever, PR types and media mavens need to work together and focus on the 24/7/365 nature of newscrafting. It is PR’s answer to integrated or 360-marketing practices in adland.
If you’re still stuck telling stories, you had better start crafting them, celebrating our relationships with the media and getting collaborative, because the days of a one-way-mirror approach to getting the word out are long gone.