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Key ingredients for successful storytelling

Susan Gardner, Publisher and CEO of Municipal World, recently joined Dr. Maria Church, CEO of Government Leadership Solutions, for a webinar around why good storytelling is essential for local government success.

The webinar offered a sneak peek for the learning lab the pair will offer at the Transforming Local Government Conference, set for Reno, Nevada, April 9-12, 2019. While that experience will focus on the seven key ingredients for good storytelling, the webinar offered up three of those essential elements to get people started.

Storytelling, as discussed in the webinar, is the fundamental human tradition. Storytelling is the most basic, and arguably important, human tradition, and is what allows for the creation of community. Whether stories were told person-to-person or across the internet through website content and social media conversations, the act of sharing individual experiences has always been quintessentially human.

Today’s media landscape has faced numerous challenges, particularly financial ones, which have resulted in layoffs, reduced newsrooms, and a general lack of attention on so-called community news. Those stories, whether in small towns or the largest cities, are being lost and so it has become essential for communities to share their own stories.

Stories can be told through local print media or an in-house magazine. They can be told through an audio podcast, a video blog, or a social media post.

The most important thing for all municipalities to remember is a media release is not a story. It might be the gateway to storytelling, but it isn’t the most effective resource in the corporate toolbox. At a time when the public is looking for ever-more content across their social media feeds – but while growing increasingly distrustful of every order of government – the opportunity to share information in a more meaningful way will only grow.

With all that in mind, the webinar focused on three of those seven essential elements of storytelling: Know your point; Know your why; and Know your audience.

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