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5 PR Lessons From The Oscars

By Hana Bieliauskas

Roll out the red carpet: The Oscars are less than two weeks away! As the stars gather in Los Angeles for the Oscar Academy Awards to celebrate the past year's film successes, communicators can learn a thing or two about storytelling from the nominees.

  1. It is all about the story. What do all of the films nominated for Best Picture have in common? They all tell great stories. A truly compelling story keeps people enthralled, engaged and on the edge of their seats, eager to know more. It sticks with audiences even after it ends and initiates conversation when people share their feelings about it with others. Combining words, images, audio and video to tell an amazing story is the centerpiece of Oscar-winning movies—and successful PR campaigns.
  2. Good writing matters. At the core of an Oscar-nominated film is great writing and highly-skilled writers. Nothing (we repeat, nothing) can make up for bad writing, even breathtaking imagery, stellar effects or celebrity actors. Star communicators are fabulous writers, and, even in an age where shorter is often considered better and 140-character updates are the norm, don't think sacrificing good writing will ever win.
  3. Know your audience. What's going to make the audience erupt into a standing ovation? Well, that depends on who exactly the audience is. So, when determining how to best tell a story, get into the minds of target populations, and consider what they want to know and how they want to learn about it. Remember: You can't, and won't, ever be all things to all people, but you can be something big for some, so figure out whom that "some" is and proceed accordingly.
  4. 4. Repurposing content wins—if done properly. It's been done before—can it be done again? That depends. When it comes to movies, some themes and topics have been repeated hundreds of times, with varying levels of success. Same goes for PR: We know what types of content to which audiences respond best. Come up with fresh approaches and new angles, actors and language that may communicate the same story but make people think about it differently.

Now, we want to know, what is your pick for Best Picture at the Oscars on Feb. 22?