Article: Storytelling in the Digital Age: Q&A with CNN’s Corvaya JeffriesAuthor: Natalie Alatriste
Date: Natalie Alatriste
Standard press releases are out and press visuals are in, according to Corvaya Jeffries, a producer at CNN. Probably because visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, which is why image-focused apps – such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest – are among the most popular social networking sites in the world.
This preference is also translating into a changing media landscape. But what exactly are the notable differences between legacy and modern-age media?
We caught up with Corvaya to get her take on media dos and don’ts.
rbb: What are some common misconceptions–from brands and communications professionals–when it comes to working with media? How have those misconceptions changed over the years?
Corvaya: The most common misconception is that it only takes a phone call, e-mail or direct message on Twitter to get someone’s attention.
Companies, brands and firms should first make studying the audience of the media company (local or national) they want to woo a priority. From there, they should be prepared to tell a good story having realized which *part* of their story is most appealing to that audience.
When it’s time to pitch, do it creatively and don’t forget to confidently share what you’ve learned about the audience you’ve studied. Missed the mark? Follow up with questions you simply don’t know the answer to.
Pro-tip: When pitching media, always consider visuals and keep your text tight.
rbb: What are the key differences in how the media operate in the modern digital age vs. before?
Corvaya: This question makes me giggle. With the rapid evolution of technology and influence of digital platforms on media companies, the word “before” could mean yesterday!
However, what is different now vs. then is this: There are a million more ways to tell a story and absolutely anyone can tell it.
Media companies are getting pitches every day in countless creative formats — from eye-grabbing e-mails with emojis in the subject line to in-person press releases in the form of food spreads and mini performances to everything in between. Also, you can bet being up against lots and lots of video.
Pro-tip: Find inspiration in places you’ve never considered to tell your story—such as your home life, the kid who made you smile the other day, the color scheme of an Ethiopian dish you’ve tried. Go from there.
rbb: What advice do you have for a business to get both modern media and legacy media to care about their product/services?
Corvaya: Master the art of storytelling. It is the foundation of all your future deals and partnerships and is the key to wooing media. If you tell a good story and your pitch is not considered by a media company today, go back to the drawing board and figure out a new way to tell your story tomorrow.
There is no one way to do it.
Pro tip: You have bylines and other materials at your disposal. Use them.
There’s no formula to succeed in this constantly evolving digital world, but utilizing visuals to tell your story doesn’t seem to be going away…at least for now.
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