PR’s ‘Money Shots’: Zoom In, Zoom Out

In movies, my favorite scenes tend to be close-ups and panoramic shots.  Close-ups are intimate; they help me see details that I might otherwise miss.  Panoramic shots take me out of the moment-to-moment action and provide context.  Both make me stop in my tracks and think about the story from a new perspective.

Like movies, the best public relations programs use lens adjustments (zoom in, zoom out) to capture audience attention.  They zoom in to focus on a single data point.  They zoom out to put the story in larger context.

A frequently-used zoom-in technique is the personal story.  Stories humanize products and make them engaging.  Most media articles and broadcast segments are structured around close-up stories – stories of individuals, companies and teams.

Zoom-out techniques provide a big-picture view.  In PR, these are our surveys and round-up stories.  They offer perspective and help us understand where we’ve been and where we’re going.

Used together, zoom-in and zoom-out techniques make hard-to-grasp topics more interesting.  They also help audiences see clearly and feel deeply.  As communication professionals, we have many popular zoom-in and zoom-out techniques at our disposal, including:

Zoom In

  • Stories and case studies
  • Contests
  • Testimonials
  • Qualitative research
  • Threaded conversations

Zoom Out

  • Surveys
  • Meta-analyses
  • Infographics
  • Indices
  • Benchmark data
  • Rules-of-thumb

How often do you use zoom-in and zoom-out techniques in your communication programs?


Connect with Meg:

Phone:  212.840.0095
Twitter: @megwildrick
LinkedIn: Meg Wildrick