Storytelling Tip: The 30-second story


Storytelling Tip: The 30-second story

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Consultant

Storytelling Tip: The 30-second storyIf I offered you 30 seconds on national television to tell your story, could you do it?

Or would you need more time?

Thousands of companies bet millions of dollars every day that they can earn a good return on their investments by telling their stories in 30 seconds on television and radio. It’s called advertising.

During last weekend’s Super Bowl, as you probably already know, dozens of companies spent an average of $4.5 million (plus productions costs) for 30 seconds of air time to tell their stories to an audience distracted by a football game, partying with friends and consuming food and alcohol.

It was a good investment for some of them. But not all. How many of those ads do you remember? Did any of them convince you to spend money on what the company was selling?

In business, most of the time we’re telling our stories to lure prospects into buying what we’re selling. Actually, most of the time we’re telling our stories to grab the attention of prospective customers interested enough to ask for more information.

So take 30 seconds – or less – to grab the attention of the folks who are actually interested in hearing what you have to say. Then take as much time as they want to tell them more.

If you can’t grab our attention in 30 seconds or less, most us have already switched our attention to something else.

Those 30-second commercials on TV either hit their mark with you or not. But when was the last time you said to yourself: “I wish that commercial had been longer. I wanted them to say more.” Okay, you may have wanted it to be longer if you needed a bathroom break or wanted to grab a snack or a drink. But you wanted more time to be away from the TV, not more time to listen to the sales pitch.

Your story is just one more of the thousands of marketing messages the rest of us will see or hear on any given day. Get to the point. Make it clear. And keep repeating it. Most of us missed it the first time you said it.

We all have stories to tell. Do you need help telling yours?


Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist who helps clients get their stories heard, understood and remembered. Need help telling your story? You can reach Jerry at 303-594-8016 |

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