I love data. But, it’s time to get back to the source. Storytelling is simple. So why have we insisted on making it so complicated?
- It starts with an interview.
- That grows into a story.
- That resonates with a brand.
- And then we do our best work to share it in ways that will engage prospects, peers and press. And by best, I mean that we already know what we are doing, without having to consult Google. A good story is the best trench SEO.
At the very least, these stories engage and build a larger narrative. Sometimes, they set the foundation for multichannel campaigns. If we are lucky, we build things right. When the structure is sound, people will notice, and the metrics will corroborate. Metrics are vital, but sessions and open rates and CTRs are impossible without excellent stories. Paul Redfern, a friend of mine who also sits on the board of CUPRAP (College & University Public Relations and Associated Professionals) addressed this back in April in his Inside Higher Ed blog:
It’s our job to tell great stories that help support our brand strategy; to find a way to tie strategy and story together.
Paul nailed it. Our work doesn’t always have to start with an antiseptic analytics exercise. It should start with our people. We should tell their stories. They are the brand. They are the promises we keep, not the promises we make. The engagement will follow. So, as I venture into 2018 armed with an armada of analytics that allows my team to track everything, on every site, down to the granular level, I plan on closing my analytics dashboards for long enough to get some storytelling done. Google will let me know if the stories have legs. I’d just rather kill my own darlings.