This section is updated to address current state of affairs online.
"Ya gotta tell a story" is the internet's latest answer to the publcity issue. Empty advice, like predecessor "brand, brand, brand," that means the same thing, is impossible to apply. What does it mean and where are the directions?
This is the skeleton of an obituary story, not a business story that has to attract attention and inspire excitement.
- [third person]
- is known,
- has art in [private, public or both] collections,
- and has been making art since childhood.
- [Third person, last name only]
- earned [a list of real and faux accolades] for her work.
- She studied under [some artist],
- got a degree from [some school]
- and works in [some medium, or a whole slew of them.]
- She lives [somewhere]
- with [other persons] and [pet(s)]
- and enjoys [doing something].
- Sometimes [artist statement] provides a new paragraph in the copy and cause for head-smacking in the audience.
(Toward the bottom, you find out that she's a living person, indistinguisable from millions of other living people.)
What's the Alternative?
A business story is an unambiguous news story with a business purpose. Its first paragraph is a statement of purpose, tells what you offer, to whom, and what you want the target audience to do (the reason for telling them in the first place). People have to know that before they can decide to be your market.
You have to know it. Your statement of purpose is the crux of your business plan and the central driving force for all of your direct and indirect business activities.
In business, you have to focus on your own business objectives and ignore the objectives of other people, who will never be your customers, anyway. Customers expect to pay for your work.
versioning Your Story
Your private version is the chronicle of all your business activities, all your motives, all facets of your personal history that apply in any way to your business content and procedures. Its first purpose is to give you a "concrete" basis for analysis and evaluation.
Next purpose in line is to give you chunks of information to arrange in new ways each time you tell your public story. Pull together the parts that support the point you want to make or the tie-in you want to create. See an example. Hit home or backspace to return here.
Your story is a chapter story. You have more than one vantage point. My chapters are scholar, artist, business owner, geek. It's the same story, told from different points of view. Here is my geek story, updated and sanitized. Geek story example.
Slants, Hooks & Schedules
When you send a press release, you have an objective for it. You may even have a submissions calendar. Journalists have editorial calendars and series of articles in play, too. Chances of "hooking" them are greater if your copy (story) is from a perspective (slant) that is exquisitely relevant to their needs and interests at the time they receive it.
The value of having your story told by journalists is that it will be written well(!) and the audience will trust the information more than they might if it came straight from you. (Straight from you is advertising, even if you don't ask for a sale directly.)
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