Storytelling: Breaking News — and How to Fix It

Michael Dortch
2 min readMar 31, 2021
Source: Adobe Stock

Basic principles succinctly summarized in free news release template, below

EVERYWHERE, Now — Storytelling, it is said, is the best marketing. Now, a marketer and storyteller with more than four decades of experience has boiled effective storytelling down to four basic principles that can help anyone tell their stories more effectively. And he’s sharing that knowledge freely, in the form of this very news release.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a news release like this one, a slew of social media tweets, or an annual report. To tell the best stories most effectively, all content must do four things,” says longtime professional storyteller Michael Dortch. “It must engage a specific audience, inform them of something compelling, persuade them there’s more where that came from, and invite them to continue the conversation. Skipping any of these or doing any of them poorly all but guarantees your content will fail to move your desired audience.”

Dortch, also known online since 2009 as “@DortchOnIT,” has been an IT industry analyst, a business technology journalist, a senior product marketing manager, and a senior content strategist. He has helped numerous companies that sell and use business technologies, from international enterprises to startups.

He has been both a creator and recipient — and sometimes, a victim — of stories, told well and poorly.

“There are of course numerous other elements that help to determine the quality, consistency, and effectiveness of all storytelling efforts,” Dortch adds. “But every one of those efforts should begin with a shared mindset that focuses more on knowing and engaging your audience and less on whatever you thought you wanted to say about whatever it is you’re selling or promoting. Without engagement, nothing else is possible, no matter how wonderful your offering or fine-tuned your list of influencers, media contacts, or potential collaborators.”

A great start, Dortch says, is to start referring to “press releases” as “news releases.” “It seems like a mere semantic quibble, but it just might help you remember there should be no release without actual news. I admit it’s a small thing. But if I can help just one harried PR person avoid sending out a news-free exercise in client ego massage, I’ll be very gratified.”

To learn more about Dortch’s thoughts on marketing and storytelling, simply search for him online, connect with him on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, or visit his web site at Initial conversations are always complementary, and usually complimentary as well.



Michael Dortch

Translator of Bits & Bytes into Dollars & Sense. Ex-Trustero, Ex-Huawei USA, Ex-Ivanti, Ex-ServiceNow,… / @DortchOnIT