Regardless of whether you consider yourself a member of Bachelor Nation, you’d have to be living under a rock to escape the hype of the popular ABC dating show.
Each new season brings a flood of social media buzz, non-stop advertisements and climbing ratings. As a communicator, I’m giving my colleagues full permission to watch this guilty pleasure program without any guilt, and this is because “The Bachelor” is a textbook case in storytelling.
The show is a well-oiled machine that churns out successful content year after year while presenting the same scenario and similar characters. But every season, the producers somehow make it seem shiny and new.
Believe it or not, there is a method to the storytelling madness of “The Bachelor.” And the secret is that, as “real” as this reality series looks, the stories don’t come to life without airtight strategy.
How do the producers make it work, and what can you learn from one of America’s longest running reality shows? Here are some Bachelor-approved storytelling concepts that you can apply to your content:
If the show’s concept is so popular and repeatable, then why not just write scripted, fictional versions of it? Because it’s more dramatic if it’s happening to a real person.
The audience knows that every year, the Bachelor (or Bachelorette) is an actual human being trying to find real love. Does it always work out? Of course not. But by giving audiences a real character at the heart of the story, viewers become invested in seeing out the story and hoping things go well (or poorly!) for the character they’ve come to know.
As communicators, we should take the same character-centric approach with our content. When crafting our stories at MediaSource, for example, we find and focus on a real person who is impacted by the topic we’re featuring in a brand’s story. While a CEO or brand executive will likely appear somewhere in the story, we’ve learned that the audience is drawn to the story of a real person. That’s why our producers script the brand’s narrative to prominently feature that real character.
It’s surrounded by drama, arguments, romance and more, but ultimately the Bachelor’s main storyline follows a simple problem/solution formula that your team can emulate.
The problem? The ultra-eligible Peter needs a wife. The solution? Beautiful women from all around the country spend several weeks competing for his heart.
It may sound overly simple, but most of the best content — especially for PR professionals — follows that very same format. Think of almost any successful PR campaign, and that problem/solution formula is likely involved.
If you’re trying to market a product or service, then this method is often the most effective. Create a storyline that features a real person with a problem that your audience can relate to. Then once they’re invested, show them how your brand is the solution.
Even with a marketing machine behind the show, “The Bachelor” wouldn’t be as successful if it weren’t created by a professional production team. Not only is the show filmed in gorgeous locations on high-end equipment, but it’s written, produced and edited by an experienced team of producers who are trained in how to tell stories that appeal to target audiences.
Your PR content may not have the backing of a network like ABC, but it can still benefit from a professional production team during writing stages, behind the camera and when developing a strategy.
Audiences can tell the difference between poor craftsmanship and well-produced content. If your goal is to market a product or service to a specific group, then you’ll need more than a catchy premise to draw them in. Be sure to use the expertise of a creative team, or your content could suffer.
Today’s communications environment is almost as competitive as the women who are vying for Peter’s affection on the show. It’s not enough to produce your brand’s story. You also need to “sell it” so that it gets in front of your target audience.
No matter what type of content you’re producing, you need a way to entice viewers, especially when that content is related to the same topic, which is often the case for “The Bachelor” and many PR teams who deal with a narrow scope of material.
The show’s producers are masters at teasing storylines, leaking information for publicity and promoting upcoming episodes. If something “dramatic” is going to happen in this week’s episode, then you can bet the show will have host Chris Harrison tweeting about it.
This kind of promotion and outreach is an important example for the PR world. You can create fantastic content, but if no one sees it — whether an outside source or your C-suite — your brand won’t get a return on its investment. So between social media, traditional media relations and other avenues, remember to always promote your content to your target audience.
With so many storytelling tips and tricks that communicators can learn from “The Bachelor,” the educational possibilities make for serious, guilt-free viewing.
Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, an award-winning communications agency that specializes in video production, public relations, social media and strategic insights, constantly securing national exposure for major brands. Connect with Lisa on Twitter: @LisaArledge
Image courtesy of ABC