Investing in storytelling

You think writers are the only ones concerned with telling a story? Listen to this.

Earlier this month three of six agency owners and recruiters interviewed by blogger Arik C. Hanson said the ability to tell a story was the leading trait they want to see in PR professionals. They believe storytelling reflects the facility to identify themes and execute a strategy. Yet when many of their peers screen applicants, they ask for experience that exactly matches the job they’re offering. They’re focused on the product, not the process, like the ability to build social networks, negotiate for information or get along with others.

For those in marketing communications, here’s the wake-up call: financial planners have discovered the power of story. In a column for MarketWatch, MIT’s AgeLab Director Joseph Coughlin said the traditional model of financial planning won’t work in these unsettling times. Neither will an appeal to reason through a recitation of statistics. He believes advisers who tell stories that elicit emotion and inspire people to act will achieve greater success–for their clients and themselves.

“We’ve got to be good storytellers to get that emotion, to make us relevant, responsive and realistic for what the consumer needs today to plan for tomorrow.”

Let’s hope the people who hire are willing to make that investment.

Readers get face time with authors

Simon & Schuster Digital has created a site where authors can respond to reader questions through webcam videos. Called Ask the Author, the site gives readers a direct way of interacting with writers.

As of March 7 the website listed 10 authors who are willing to talk with fans. They range from Brad Thor, author of The Athena Project, to Lisa McMann, author of Cryer’s Cross; Goodnight, Tweetheart‘s Teresa Medeiros, and music and sports author Chuck Klosterman.

Here’s how it works. Visitors click on the “talk to” button below an author’s photo and type their question. Then they check back for a response. No word from S&S on whether the system will offer live chat at a future date.

Writers with their own websites might consider doing the same in real time.

Ask The Author