February 11, 2019

by David Hertz

Think of the power available to Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest individual.

Think of the resources he can call upon at need.

And yet, when threatened by American Media Inc. and its publication, the National Enquirer, he took to his keyboard! He told a story. His story. On his terms.

Bezos posted his story on the self-publishing website Medium. And then he alerted the world of his actions – and his story – in this tweet.

Plenty of pundits have applauded Bezos’ surprising actions. The post obviously came at great personal cost.

But Bezos’ maneuver is noteworthy for far more than his taking on the National Enquirer. It illustrates the power of telling your story — a power available to any organization willing to be proactive and strategic in reaching target audiences.

Scrape away the obvious duress of the situation, and it’s clear that Bezos purposefully reached out to his target audiences: the public, regulators and the media.

Bezos leveraged key tactics and platforms: owned content that he wrote, shared content that he tweeted and finally earned content from media coverage.

First, Bezos wrote his story. He presented a difficult story on his terms and in words that he clearly felt would have the most impact.

Secondly, he made sure the world was immediately aware of his story. He sent out a tweet and waited for the ripples to turn into a tsunami.

Of course, the media reacted in the only way available to them. They covered the post, reported on every angle. Then they went back to square one and analyzed the post again.

Similarly, companies seeking to reach target audiences such as customers, prospects, current or prospective employees, the media and more have clear opportunities to be proactive with impact.

Seeking to improve recruitment? Make sure the media where you recruit understand your story and know what your company stands for.

Want to communicate to investors about your sustainability practices? Produce a Corporate Sustainability Report, and promote it on your website, social media and in targeted media.

Want to establish your company as a leader in your community? Create a number of thought leadership opinion articles that articulate your community vision. Make sure they are written with integrity, for impact. Offer the articles to local media. Tweet about them once they are published or posted.

These tactics should be implemented as part of a communications strategy. Bezos didn’t offer his post in a vacuum. He understands well the power of a proactive communications strategy.

Most organizations shouldn’t strive for a tidal wave of publicity. But telling your story with impact most often is a good thing. And with the earned, owned and shared communications tactics available, it most often is effective.

Do you want to conceive of a strategy to tell your story? Please drop me a note. I look forward to discussing an approach with you.