Crime documentary shows and programs are popping up all over the internet, radio and television as of late, and the recent release of Netflix’s crime
documentary, “Making a Murderer,” is no different. It’s success however, has come greatly in the form of
online commenting and theorizing from fans on various platforms. In addition to consuming the lives of many binge-watchers, for PR pros, the series—which
follows the story of Wisconsin’s Steven Avery, who was charged with what many are calling an unjust murder in 2011—brought to light a few lessons in
storytelling. Here’s how Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” relates to public relations.
Take all the time you need
“Making a Murderer” wasn’t created by Netflix on a whim; rather it was filmed over the course of ten years by
writer-directors Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi. By following one of the most
in Wisconsin’s criminal history for more than a decade, these filmmakers proved that in some cases, strong storytelling really does take time—and it pays
off. A public relations campaign is
very similar; it often takes months or even years to see noticeable results or experience a change in public perception.
Create a hook
The name of the show is a bit misleading but does the trick for piquing viewer’s interests and teasing them to watch further. From the title, you are led
to believe there is some sort of education or teaching to turn the main character into a murderer. This is not the case. The show is an episodic trip
several famous criminal cases in Wisconsin
revolving primarily around one man, and the arguably suspicious police work involved.
RELATED: How to create a consistent message across multiple internal platforms.
Create a hook to draw your audience in. Use a teasing headline or ask a
thought-provoking question. By fascinating and intriguing your audience early on, you’re likely to get them to pay attention until the end.
Add a human element
The most riveting aspects of “Making a Murderer” are the personal interviews and narration from the voices of Stephen Avery and his family. This window
into his personal life gives the viewer a first-hand account of the intense emotions and impact the trials had on the families involved. As there was so
much information to absorb surrounding these cases and the people involved, that desire to know more made it nearly impossible to stop watching.
Add a human element to your public relations campaign and show your audience a piece of your world. Social media is a great way to reach your customers and
include them in contests, comments and polls.
Have you seen Netflix’s new documentary series, PR daily? What other PR lessons can you gather?
Beth Adan is senior publicist at Three Girls Media. A version of this story originally appeared on the firm's blog.