From Star Trek to Game of Thrones – the story of conflict
There is an old axiom of writing that you can’t create good drama without first having some kind of conflict.
Sounds logical, but take a step back and consider the bigger picture. We (ok, John,) recently watched a documentary about the early years of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Being a late 1980s sci-fi show, I was a key demographic for the show’s producers. Young. Male. Geeky. I remember, though, not being able to connect with the show, and eventually it became just a blip on my pop culture radar. The documentary (Chaos on the Bridge) explained to my older/PR wiz self what my 10-year-old self couldn’t understand. There was no conflict between characters ergo no drama ergo no emotional involvement. The reason for this was that the show’s writers were explicitly told to avoid conflict between main characters. That Gene “The Great Bird of the Universe” Roddenberry had decided mankind had overcome jealousy, pettiness and conflict by the time the show was set. So, the writers couldn’t use it. That made for a very dry show. We are talking cornbread without butter dry. But eventually, they found a way to make it work and Star Trek: The Next Generation became one of the most popular syndicated shows of all time.
So what does this have to do with public relations and the Upstate? A lot. A good press release/PR campaign needs to explain why something is important. Why it matters to the reader. It needs to address a conflict and give the reader an emotional tug to react. The end game is not always the media, but the person you want to influence. If they have no reason to care, then your PR campaign has failed.
How do you create drama in a release then without it being an episode of Game of Thrones? Easy, you write in a way that addresses an issue. For example, we work a lot with Habitat for Humanity. Our releases tell a story that explains why Habitat is needed and what it does. It is simple. The conflict is there are people out there who are struggling to make a better life for themselves. Habitat provides a solution/resolution to that. Thus, we have a story that is compelling and interesting.
We use this in telling the stories of other clients as well.
Liquid Catering was formed when owner Tammy Johnson saw a hole in the marketplace. BASF wants to create a better world through chemistry. The Woodlands at Furman is trying to better equip people for the aging process. The Insurance Source sees the trouble people face with ACA coverage. We can go on and likely should to make sure all of our clients are covered.
But we need to wrap this up.
What is the conflict you see in Greenville and what can you do to find a resolution? Is it the lack of an independent movie theater? Is it crumbling roads? It is the lack of an authentic Mexican restaurant? We added that last question to see who is paying attention.