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Using Stories As Sales Tools

I was recently talking with a potential client, who told me he wasn’t happy with public relations in general and specifically with his PR agency. I asked why and his response floored me.  “They got us coverage in the New York Times, but I’m a West coast business. I don’t need coverage on the East coast.”

Not only was I shocked by his response as the Times is read not just across the U.S. but around the world, but I think what I said next floored him as well. I asked, “Well, how did you use the coverage?” He looked at me as if I had six heads. The coverage he received was fantastic – the ultimate prize for a PR pro – but he had never thought of sharing the coverage beyond the edition of the publication. More important, it seems he felt that he was not allowed to share it.

That is the strength of public relations and how a story is developed, especially in today’s hyper-connected world. By sharing links and copies of the article, tweeting, posting or even quoting the coverage in emails, the story lives beyond the page it is printed on and helps sell the company, idea or person.

In our world, we refer to this as merchandising the coverage and it broadens the value of the story. This approach takes a basic measurement and ‘extends the playing field’ (to borrow a sports analogy) to assist sales support.

Sales can use coverage as an introduction to a prospect or as a follow-up. Additionally, it is another way for people to connect with an organization beyond the traditional corporate speak.

Now that you have read this post, pass it along to someone you know to help them tell their story.