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Trans-Media Storytelling: Make Sure Your Audience Hears You

Remember in school when teachers said there were three types of learning styles? You probably took a test or quiz to figure out if you were primarily a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner. The visual learners do best with the use of visual objects such as graphs, charts or pictures and can learn by just watching lectures. Auditory learners retain information through hearing and speaking. Then there are the kinesthetic learners who need a hands-on approach to learn new material.

The same learning styles can be applied to how people view ads or consume the news. This is where trans-media storytelling comes into play. Don’t worry – it sounds complicated, but it’s actually really easy to understand! It means that we, as marketers, need to be using multiple media platforms to tell a story.Transmedia Storytelling photo

Why do we have to use multiple platforms? Think about it this way – you have your target demographic, let’s say females ages 25-34, but how are you going to reach them? Some might be stay-at-home moms who like to watch or listen to the morning news as they get their kids ready for school. Others may be working professionals who might consume the news on their way to work, whether that’s listening to the radio in the car or reading, either via the paper or their phone, while on the subway. Therefore, if you were just trying to get your story covered on morning television, you could be missing an entire section of your targeted audience. You must meet your audience where they hang out to tell your story, and more than likely that means different platforms. Now, which platforms are best for each type of learner?

Let’s start with television. By airing a commercial or pitching your story idea to a television news station, you are going to be reaching the visual and auditory learners. Those who retain information best by seeing or hearing it will likely pick up your message. The auditory learners will hear your message coming from the television, whether they’re actually paying attention and watching it, or doing something else and listening to it in the background. For the visual learners, make sure your story has an image or video associated with it so they can directly see something that the broadcaster is talking about.

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Next up, radio! This includes traditional radio and online radio providers, such as Pandora, Spotify or iHeart Radio. I bet you can guess it pretty easily, but this platform is going to be hitting your auditory learners. These multitaskers can be driving, working or at the gym and will still notice your message as they listen to music. They often notice different aspects of speaking (such as voice inflections) so make sure your story is told in a very engaging way to connect with them.

Now on to magazines and newspapers. Although some say the print news industry is dying, I disagree. There are still audiences that love reading the hard copies because they love flipping through those glossy pages or unfolding that newspaper. These consumers are primarily visual learners who do best by reading and memorizing things that are written down. Compelling writing is the key here. If you can’t hook them in the first few sentences, they most likely won’t keep reading the story.

And finally, the Internet. Now this one is where the lines get a little blurry. One could argue that the Internet is good for all three types of learners. It encompasses text and photos for the visual learners; auditory learners can listen to podcasts or videos, even the radio as mentioned earlier; and kinesthetic learners can engage with interactive infographics, social media where they must click on pieces and websites that require user input. Therefore, make sure you have a little bit of content that can appeal to all three learners. Distributing a press release? Consider adding a video or infographic along with the text.

So why not just go straight to the Internet since it can fit all three styles of learning? Well just because it can reach all, doesn’t mean the audience will automatically go to it. Those busy women might not have time to browse the Internet for hours each day. But they may be able to listen to the radio while they’re running errands or catch the headline in the local paper.

Therefore, go to your audience and make sure they hear your story! If you put it on multiple platforms, the chances of them learning about it drastically increase. Also, keep in mind that it takes most consumers three times to hear a story or ad before they actually remember it. So in this age where consumers might use all three, or only a few of the platforms, why not tell them multiple times just to be sure they heard you?


Previously published on The M/C/C Minute at Tweet us — @mccPR!

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