Storytelling Tips for Public Agencies

While some public agencies work diligently to keep the masses informed of their activities and campaigns, oftentimes their efforts miss the engagement mark. Amid tons of data, legalese and other required messages, people frequently don’t understand what agencies are saying. In addition to distributing confusing messages, there are also those agencies that under-communicate or don’t communicate with the public at all. This keeps the great work they do a secret from the people they serve.  So where’s the balance?


Take a page out of English 101. Storytelling has re-emerged as a popular technique to establish a rapport with target audiences. People do not want to be inundated with pushy sales verbiage, recycled campaigns or flashy gimmicks. Instead, the public generally wants a good, honest story from someone they know and trust.

Storytelling should be authentic.

It is increasingly important to share your mission and vision because people like to become vested with organizations and agencies who share similar goals and objectives. When shared properly, good stories produce a creative platform that unites agencies with the people they serve.

Stories need to connect with recipients on both an intellectual and emotional level. Stories help people visualize messages and ideas. They make data real and let the public know there are passionate people behind the data. Storytelling also puts your agency in front of the news cycle. Instead of the others telling your story and shaping it to their point of view, your agency can control what you say and how you say it.

Even though storytelling is not a new concept, it is just recently becoming a more widely accepted communication tool for many public agencies. Our team has created five tips to help you incorporate storytelling into your communication strategy.

Five Storytelling Tips

[tabs slidertype=”top tabs” fx=”slide”] [tabcontainer] [tabtext]Use Visuals[/tabtext] [tabtext]Engage Online[/tabtext] [tabtext]Get Creative[/tabtext] [tabtext]Be Human[/tabtext] [tabtext]Speak Clearly[/tabtext] [/tabcontainer] [tabcontent] [tab]Because many agencies are data-driven, condensing hard data into visual elements, such as infographics or flip books, is a great way to disseminate complex information in small bites.[/tab] [tab]Social media is a great way to keep the public engaged. Interactive tools like “Twitter Chat” allow the public to ask questions and gain a better understanding of your agency’s mission and purpose, as well as introduce new services or support initiatives.[/tab] [tab]Public agencies have distinctive voices that can sometimes appear stoic and uninviting. Pops of color, catchy slogans and even videos can assist with developing a story arc for people to follow.[/tab] [tab]Testimonials and narratives around your mission and purpose help build a strong rapport with the public and show the human side of your agency.[/tab] [tab]Share the facts in bite-size pieces with your audience. Communicate clearly and allow recipients the opportunity to learn more. Links on websites, in emails and on social media pages make it easy for the public to review additional information on their own time at their own pace. Refrain from dumping a load indigestible information in one swoop. Keep the information palatable and simple. [/tab] [/tabcontent] [/tabs]

Storytelling helps to strengthen your voice. Informative and engaging stories keep the public up-to-date and involved . Need help developing your story arc? At Impact, we work with words. We would love to work with you too. Email us at for more information.

Talk soon.

Cheryl McCants – Your Marketing Mama

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