How this one thing I learnt from working in radio can help you write content for your audience…

I used to host a radio show several years ago.

Alongside a couple of friends/co-hosts I’d present a 2-3 hour program every week.

It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, and I still miss it today.

In real life I talk a little fast sometimes, and when I first started talking on air I was a little hard to understand.

But soon there was no stopping me – same with my co-hosts.

Presenting became easy for us, we didn’t even need to think about it – we just automatically began to adapt our speech so the listeners could follow.

We often used to have guests – musicians, local people of interest and even students who wanted some work experience.

After a while I began to notice that some of them struggled to talk to the mic. They’d stare at it intently and change the pitch of their voice as they tried to imagine this invisible audience that they were talking to.

Sometimes talking too slow, other times talking too fast.

It didn’t make for good radio.

So, after a few shows, I began to think to myself – how did I first overcome this problem?

Part of it was through practice, but the other part of it was due to me looking across at my co-host as I spoke.

So, rather than talking blindly into a mic, I was focusing and talking in a conversational tone to someone opposite me.

For me that was the key. Simply visualising someone and talking to them.

So I began to tell the guests to look at me as they spoke, rather than talking into the microphone.

It worked.

Nerves ebbed away and confidence skyrocketed.

It’s the same with writing.

If you’re writing for purpose don’t just blindly write – visualise the person you’re writing for.

Wrap and direct your words at them.

Seems obvious, but time after time I read posts and articles that just don’t connect or flow.

Maybe even print off a picture of someone who looks like your audience demographic and blu-tac it to the wall in front of you.

I promise you tone and flow becomes easier when you’re looking at who you want to talk to.

(that’s me in the middle of the featured image in case you were wondering)

by Ashley Brown age 27 and 3/4 2018

Don’t make the mistake of being the loneliest whale in the world…

Somewhere along the Pacific north-west coast of North America lives a whale who has been given the name ’52 Hertz’ by the scientists who’ve been studying him for the last few years.

Whales, like many of us, spend their days looking for love. They market themselves to appeal to their perfect partner.

While we use Tinder and Grindr, they use a more traditional method. That of the mating call.

To attract a mate a whale will sing out in its distinctive tenor and then wait to see what happens.

Regular blue and fin whales sing at about 15 to 20 Hertz – whereas our friend, 52 Hertz, signs at a frequency of…52 Hertz.

This has made him something of a celebrity in the scientific world.

It’s a sad story though, due to his unusual voice, he hasn’t been able to attract anyone.

In a sea full of voices, his is too distinctive – it’s too out there and, as a result of this, no one can connect with it.

As storytellers and marketers we should keep the unfortunate ‘Hertz 52’ in our minds.

Because, while it’s good to be different, you should also make sure that you’re not too different.

Your audience needs to be able to resonate with you to a certain degree…or else you can’t hope to have a connection with them.

The sad thing for ‘Hertz 52’ is that he doesn’t seem to be able to change his unusual voice…but you can change yours. You can adapt your words and writing style for your audience – remember that!

It worked out for Bridge Jones in the end…so I’m sure that, one day, ‘Hertz 52’ will find his significant other.

(Photo credit: National Geographic)

How old Tom & Jerry cartoons can help you tell your brand’s story

When you were younger, did you ever watch the old ‘Tom & Jerry’ cartoons?

Or, any of those other old school cartoons from that time period?

If so, you may remember an old gag they used to do.

Usually it involved a newly born baby duckling (or baby bird in general) who would mistake one of the characters (usually Tom) for its mother.

It would then follow him round for the majority of the episode.

This harks back to a phenomenon that animal experts call ‘imprinting’. So, when a baby duck is born it usually sees its mother right away and then never forgets her.

However if the duck sees someone or something else first it can often think of it as its mother.

When it comes to branding, if you’re to tell your story and make it stick in your potential customers’ minds it’s worth thinking about your unique selling points.

Is your business a world first? Do you do something that’s never been done before?

How can you imprint yourself in someone’s mind to make sure you’re the first thing they think of?

Think coke…which brand do you think of? Think fast food burgers…who comes up? Think low cost airline…who do you think of?

And so on.

Your answers to these questions could be marginally different to mine…but I bet that we’re very close.

Telling stories is all about being unique and, when you can be, being a world first.

By Ashley Brown

This article was inspired by “Positioning” by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Sports, marketing & moolah: is everyone a winner?

 

At around 9PM yesterday evening the eyes of the world were fixed on the glitzy smorgasbord of sin that is Las Vegas.

In perhaps the most hyped up boxing match of our lives Floyd Mayweather took on Conor McGregor.

The media had been building it up for weeks and weeks. Both fighters were very high profile and very outspoken – meaning that there was constant content to be harvested. A sports editor’s dream.

Boxing has always been full of big characters and drama – it relies on promotion, so mountains are made out of molehills as much as possible.

But there was something unique about the fight.

Floyd Mayweather has been called the best boxer of his generation, and as he has now retired with 50 wins and no losses, you could argue that that’s fair comment.

However his opponent, Conor McGregor, wasn’t an actual boxer. He’d never competitively fought in a boxing ring – yet he’d called out Mayweather, and Mayweather had answered.

Crazy isn’t it? Most people would go out of their way to avoid clashing with an unbeaten professional boxer.

But, not McGregor.

He was a professional MMA fighter, which is very different to boxing.

But, there he was!

Calling Mayweather out and telling anyone who would listen that he’d beat him.

The media lapped it up. Crazy headlines all round. Some even told us that medical experts had warned McGregor, telling him not to compete for the sake of his health.

None of it stopped him.

He managed to last ten rounds but eventually Mayweather clinched it. Much to the relief of the bookies.

Both men survived and then went their separate ways. McGregor back to his native Ireland, and Mayweather to enjoy his retirement.

McGregor lost. Technically. But he also pocketed $30 million for the fight (with Mayweather taking away $100).

cash

Previously the most McGregor had ever won was $3 million. Now he can times that by ten. So, really, neither man lost. Or at least not in a coventional sense.

I mean, would you feel defeated if you received 30 million dollars after a really bad day at the office?

Is money in sport (and other big industries) changing the meaning of the word loss?

Sure, McGregor maybe disappointed that he didn’t win (that is if he ACTUALLY believed he would), but just imagine what he can do with that 30 million.

Mayweather said after the fight: “If I see an opportunity to make $300m in 36 minutes, why not? I had to do it.”

That says it all, it was a fight made from marketing more than anything else. Yet people bought into it, they paid to see it and they betted on it. All of them clinging on to the slight hope that this underdog might just prevail.

Back in the day I used to captain a six-a-side football team in a Sunday league. Each week we paid a few quid to play. On many of those weeks we lost.

It built character and comradeship between us, and each week we’d come back with a new determination.

I wonder if we’d have been quite so bothered by a loss if we received a big cash injection afterwards. As we were students back then, I highly doubt it…

Take professional footballers for example, imagine if they were only paid for the games they won – how different do you think things would be?