Telling Your Story: So What?


Telling Your Story: So What?

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel

Telling Your Story: So WhatBack in the days when I was committing journalism, we were told our stories should cover the five W’s — who, what, where, when and why.

But there’s another question that’s even more important: So what?

Telling me “what” provides information. But why should I care? That’s the “so what” of your story. And if you can give me a compelling reason to care, I’ll pay close attention to what you have to say — and maybe buy what you’re selling.

So cover the five W’s when telling your story. Otherwise, the rest of us may feel like you left us dangling without the information we need to fully understand what you’re saying.

But the money question — our reason for caring — is: So what? Include a compelling answer to that question in your story whenever you can.

That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?
Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 |

  1. Can “so what” ever be an objective fact? Like beauty, isn’t “so what” in the eye of the beholder?

    It’s always seemed to me the only “so what” that’s been important to reporters is when I’ve said, “here’s a story I think your readers would really like to know about,” but that’s never become part of the story.

    Jerry, can you give me an example or two of a “so what” that was picked up in a printed story? Thanks!

    • An example: Some doctors recommend you take a baby aspirin every day (what). It could save your life (so what).

      Reporters sometimes, though not always, include a “so what” in their stories. But my advice here is for the rest of us when we tell our story — in a blog, promotional material, an article, wherever. I’ll have more to say about this in upcoming entries in this blog.

      When pitching reporters, the “so what” of your pitch is why their readers/viewers will care about your story. It’s the reason, you hope, they’ll write the story.

  2. Some genuinely choice posts on this site, saved to fav.

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