Finding Stories Where They Are

SA-1076_76918737_SM

Mar 2, 2016 | Marketing & Branding

Running a senior living community involves countless processes and pieces, all of them moving in tandem. Ensuring your dining is up to par is a huge task. So is creating quality programming and drawing in residents to attend. And don’t even get started on safety, health and wellness! All of these are critical pieces, and everything needs to operate like a well-oiled machine in order for the community to succeed.

“With so many moving parts, it’s easy to understand why things like marketing and public relations, often deemed ‘non-essential,’ might get pushed to the back burner,” says Taigen Thorne, Director of Public Relations & Media at SageAge. “Unfortunately, that doesn’t make these pieces any less critical to your community’s well-being and future.”

Like everything else, it’s easy to complicate marketing and PR. What both these disciplines really boil down to, though, is good, quality storytelling. Your community, like others, is full of good stories. Those stories and narratives can be the basis for your communication with the outside world, but to do that, you have to find them first!

Why Stories and Narratives Matter

Hand someone a brochure with a list of features, fancy jargon and beautiful pictures and they may be impressed. They may even want to learn more, and might eventually buy what you’re selling them. And brochures, pamphlets, folders and other collateral certainly have their useful place.

Introduce that same person to an individual who can speak to the true value of your product from a first-hand perspective, though, and you’ve made a powerful connection, one that goes beyond bulleted lists and brochures.

That’s what stories and narratives do, and that’s why they are so important. At our core, we want to relate to others. We are social creatures, after all. By sharing a story with a prospective customer, you are putting them in the shoes of the protagonist in the story. You are showing them what could be possible, not just for your protagonist, but for them, too. It’s the planting of a seed that hopefully eventually grows into a positive action — like becoming a resident of your community! But how can you do that?

Put Your Journalist Hat On

The key to seeking out good stories is to behave like a journalist. The one quality that defines any and all good journalists? Curiosity. A close second is an avoidance of assumptions. Quality storytellers know that they must often close their mouth, open their minds, and listen in order to get to the heart of a matter. So, if you want to find the hidden gem stories lurking in your own community, get curious! Here are some other tips for uncovering stories that can make an impact:

Keep Your Ears and Eyes Open

As mentioned, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day operations of running a successful community, and all too easy to forget to stop and listen. Start cultivating a habit of joining in on resident activities, and avoid any tendency you may have to drive the conversation. Instead, listen to what others are talking about. Perhaps someone had a health-related breakthrough thanks to your wellness staff. Maybe someone decided at 80 years old to take up a new sport, and is excelling at it. Maybe two residents discovered some bit of shared obscure history, or perhaps you have a celebrity in your midst. Whatever the story, you have to listen in order to hear it!

Ask Open-Ended Questions

A common mistake when probing for a story is to ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. These types of questions stop a conversation flat in its tracks, and are a great way to leave your hidden gem of a story untouched. Instead, focus on asking residents open-ended questions that leave room for exploration and – this is important – avoid filling in awkward silences. Many of us have a tendency to fill pauses and silences, but if you just wait it out, often times your interview subject will keep talking, and may even reveal a nugget of a story that could be just what you are looking for.

Let Trends Guide You

If you’re looking for a story related to something timely in the news, it’s okay to steer the conversation a little bit. Perhaps you’d like to share something in your upcoming newsletter about the election. Asking around for some politically-minded residents who may be heavily involved in the political process, either now or in their past, could yield good results. Perhaps your local paper does a weekly feature on health and wellness and you know a resident who could be a great interview subject. As mentioned, keep your eyes and ears open for trends, and strike while the iron is hot to avoid missing an opportunity.

Use Data to Your Advantage

Get any large group of people together and you have an opportunity to gather some potentially interesting data about them. Exploring data is a great way to identify interesting story topics. You might discover that a large portion of your residents used to all work in the same field or profession. That could be a great way to create a new activity group, or it might be interesting to a local reporter looking to do a story on that profession. An aberration in the data can also lead to a story, like if you have just one resident with some unique talent. Others in your community – and outside it – might find that person’s talent to be a story worth hearing about.

Chances are, there are countless interesting stories lurking in the hallways and rooms of your community. After all, you have a population of people living there with their own unique experiences and history. There’s bound to be some gems to uncover. Follow these tips to find them, and then get in touch, because we’d love to help you use those stories to your full advantage!

SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that provides multiple strategic growth solutions. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / adrienne@sageagestrategies.com.

Contact Us Today!

What Are the Housing Restrictions for Facebook and PPC?

As we know, technology is always changing and adapting. It’s something many of those in the senior housing and marketing fields are used to. One of the most recent changes is making a larger impact on how we target ad audiences on Facebook and through pay-per-click...

The Rise of Senior Living Occupancy

As COVID-19 created a landscape of uncertainty in senior living facilities, experts knew there would be challenges and effects that lasted long after. Although the pandemic continues, many types of senior living communities and...

4 Ways TikTok Is Redefining Senior Living Social Media

Whether you’ve heard about it, tried it out, or use it regularly, TikTok is taking the world by storm. This social media platform, which focuses on short-form video, is seemingly on everyone’s mind in one sense or another, and more often than not, people are following...

The Benefits of Working at a Remote Company

Remote working offers many benefits to employees and businesses. Today, more people are working from home than ever before, offering many benefits to both businesses and employees. Remote positions offer employees flexible work schedules and autonomy while keeping...

The Future of Analytics: What Does Next Year’s GA4 Migration Mean?

Moving Forward with New Updates Whether customer needs, viewing habits or website journeys change – or a better reporting tool emerges – one thing is for certain: Technology is always changing, and the field must adapt as a whole. Among the most recent updates include...

SageTalks

Stories of a Lifetime Senior living residents have lived amazing lives. Now, SageAge is on a quest to share those stories with those in the senior housing and senior living industry, residents and their families, adult children and anyone who wants to be inspired....

The Moment We Have Been Waiting for Is Here

WE have been working hard on something new. Check out our new website today!

Pressing Play on New Possibilities | Seniors and YouTube

Putting You In Front-Row View Gone are the days when YouTube was simply for younger generations to view funny videos. In the era of rising senior social media usage and the high engagement of video content, YouTube is becoming one of the largest search engines and...

Seniors and YouTube | Let’s Get Rolling

Exploring the Possibilities of Pre-Rolls Almost 47% of older adults ages 70 and up use their smartphones for social media access, according to our most recent white paper on seniors and technology use. Which social media platforms are most used among the senior age...

Connecting with Seniors Through Facebook

Making an Impression, Enhancing Engagement For many of us, we’re no stranger to Facebook. From personal use and business to connecting with friends and family, Facebook is among the top social media platforms. In fact, did you know that there are 2.89 billion monthly...
Share This