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Stopping the Spin: Practicing Authentic Storytelling in PR

Largemouth’s Ryan Boger shares insights on finding your voice. 

Nowadays, it isn’t enough for brands to simply walk the walk. Millennials are driving companies to be more socially conscious and, through their skills navigating 24-hour news cycles and social media streams, these consumers have become adept at sniffing out insincerity.

With these dynamics in play, the art of authentic storytelling is as important as ever. A recent Adweek article explored the benefits of this practice, pointing to Lyft’s donation of $1 million to the ACLU and Airbnb offering free housing to refugees as notable examples of companies promoting their mission organically in context with the current state of affairs in the U.S.    

The notion of authentic storytelling extends to the work we do as PR professionals where every day we collaborate with reporters who are skeptic by trade. To ensure we’re forging a unique, honest voice forward on behalf of the organizations and clients we work for, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Know who you are

No company finds lasting success by doing the same thing as everyone else around them. Honing in on your organization’s mission and what separates it from the competition serves as a great starting point for authentic storytelling. With the differentiators top-of-mind, you can carve out a path for creating campaigns and stories that are aligned with organizational objectives.

2. Know who you aren’t

When a big advertising campaign falls flat, oftentimes it comes down to the believability factor. This is something we can take to heart in the PR world, where spin might get in the way of the story if we aren’t careful. Being stewards of accuracy helps build credibility and trust with reporters, so we need to drop those “groundbreaking” and “industry-first” qualifiers if the evidence isn’t there to back it up.

3. Value your people

Do you think more impact comes from a press release with carefully-crafted company messaging, or an article featuring insightful commentary from an employee or executive? It’s real people who serve as the backbone of successful organizations, so they must be trusted to be the ambassadors. Letting those thought leaders bring brand visions to life through earned media coverage ensures the type of quality third-party validation that makes PR so valuable.

These steps might sound simple and that’s exactly how it should be. The beauty of authentic storytelling is that it shouldn’t require a lot of effort. There’s a practical “stay in your lane” philosophy to it, which keeps us equipped in navigating the ever-evolving media landscape. Authentic storytelling helps us get to the heart of the message, staying true to the roots that support the organizations we serve.


Ryan Boger

Posted By Ryan Boger

Ryan is an outdoor adventurer and word connoisseur, so you might find him running a 20-mile trail run or engulfed in a new book for hours by contrast. As a loyal NC State alum and fan, Ryan’s proudest achievement might be converting his wife, a UNC grad, into a passionate Wolfpack supporter.