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Tailoring a great story to the needs of your client – OR – Don’t get lost in the yummy details

My bad. It’s been a month since my last blog post. Thinking what in the world to write about, I remember a colleague telling me, “Sue, just write about what you’re doing right now.”

OK. I’m sitting outside my office in the plaza, where there’s a fountain and a nice late-summer breeze. The weather is perfect—so why be inside? Thinking about what I have to offer this time around. Craig Hospital is on my mind, because it’s my next big project to write about, yet I’ve got to wait another week to get all the information I need from client Randy Thorne, a principal at RTA Architects and team lead on the Craig project.

What I do know so far is all that’s special about Craig—the level of care and therapy they offer to traumatic brain injured and spinal cord injured patients.

I’ve gotten to know Craig over the past several years and have been impressed by the energy of everybody over there—from the patients and families, to the therapists and nursing staff—and on to Craig’s administrative staff. All of them are living and working their passion—and it shows. It’s one big happy family over there—quite a feat given the level of trauma that brings its members together.

In order to expand and renovate the hospital in keeping with its philosophy of patient-centered care, RTA matched Craig’s commitment to its patients with its (RTA’s) commitment to the project– and spent two week in full 24-hour immersion, spending ample time with every stakeholder group at Craig. The design planning process alone took over a year, while RTA and its partner team members from Smith JJR spent long weeks and months with every group at Craig who will use the building: Patients, Families, Doctors, Nurses, Therapists, Administration, and support staff. No stone was left unturned, ensuring the newly designed Craig Hospital will mirror the level of care the hospital is known for worldwide.

In an interview with young film student Jamie Taves, Randy explains, “It’s remarkable that Craig has retained such a level of success, given the building they work their magic in is so below-par. RTA Architects aims to give them a building befitting the world-class care they have delivered since the hospital’s beginnings in 1954.”

I look forward to learning much more next week when I meet with Randy and proceed with a feature-length article for publication – about the partnership between RTA and Craig…and the collaboration among all stakeholders.

This is a juicy story and has all kinds of offshoots that appeal to various levels of emotion. As a PR specialist it’s important not to get too emotionally hyped up lest one forget the purpose of the story and the media that will want it. There’s a newsey aspect to this story…that Craig spent years raising capital for this long-awaited  renovation…and their search for the best architectural firm to implement it. It was largely the Denver community that supported the effort, dug deep into its pockets, as it were…and rallied out of home-town pride. Then there’s a very personal story from the viewpoint of a patient who made a remarkable recovery at Craig. What audience wants to hear that story? It has broad geographical appeal with perhaps a narrow segment of the population—families and caregivers dealing with brain and spinal cord injury. But how does that fit with MY client’s needs? Surely, this will be a story aimed at the national trades in the healthcare and construction verticals – and that’s the most suitable from the vantage point of my client, who deserves recognition among possible buyers of architectural design who want a firm that specializes in healthcare facilities and will go the extra mile to deliver a building design that surpasses client expectations.

Before I begin the writing process, I’ll list our target audiences and build media lists for each. With audience front-of-mind, I’ll be less likely to lose the key messages I want to convey about RTA Architects. Once I have my lists ready, I’ll create a synopsis of the story that will fit each of those markets. Each list will likely have a unique story, although I’ll start by writing an inspired-but-long account.

I’m likely to write between 2000 and 3000 words before I start cutting and tailoring different angles for the various lists. It will take as long as it takes…and once I pitch all the media outlets, there will be a month-long process of following up by phone and email, and then following up on the follow-up. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Credit: RTA Architects



About Sue Rose

Sue Rose has run Rose Public Relations for over 16 years. Her work in the communications field spans over 25 years, including early days running an award-winning advertising agency. She has served in the promotion, marketing, and public relations fields in corporate, nonprofit and agency settings.
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