Category Archives: Storytelling

Video Book Review – Brand Against The Machine by John Morgan

No joke – this is an amazing book! I took nearly 5,000 words’ worth of notes on it and could have easily just transcribed the entire thing. It’s that good! Reminds me a lot of The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk, but with apologies to Gary V I think this book is even better!

Six “Sticky” Tips for PR/Marketing Success

Just started reading Made to Stick and have to say its 6 Principles make for a great PR/Marketing/Social Media strategy:

SIMPLICITY: Proverbs are ideal – a one-sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to follow it.

UNEXPECTEDNESS: Violate people’s expectations/be counterintuitive. Generate interest and curiosity.

CONCRETENESS: Explain in terms of human actions and/or sensory information. (NOT abstract concepts!) Example: Ice-filled bathtubs, apples with razors. Use concrete language.

CREDIBILITY: Idea has to carry its own credentials. “Ask yourself if you are better off today than you were four years ago.”

EMOTIONS: Make them feel something. We are wired to feel things for people, not abstractions.

STORIES: To get people to act on your idea, tell a story.

Video: Longtime TV News Director Scott Libin Shares Game-Changing Secrets to Getting Your PR Clients on TV

Scott Libin has spent more than 25 years in the TV News business.

Scott Libin spent nearly three decades as TV News Reporter, Producer, Anchor and News Director. I can’t think of a better expert when it comes to finding out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to getting TV News coverage for your company/client.

Scott and I had a great discussion this week (video below), and I was really impressed with his honesty and candor when it came to getting inside the head of a typical TV Reporter/Producer. He shared some great insights and advice on what will (and will NOT) work when it comes to getting the TV News coverage your company/client wants.

I was also fascinated/excited about his take on whether or not PR people should use the controversial strategy of “reporting on the reporter” during interviews. This is where you (the interview’s subject) capture the entire exchange with the reporter on video, and then (if you need to) put out a copy of the video online as a defense/explanation for a quote you felt was taken out of context, bias demonstrated by the reporter, etc. (Skip ahead to the 8:25 mark of the video to hear this exchange.)

Social Media and the ability to easily capture and share video online has completely changed the TV News business. Think about the strength and leverage you or your client now has when agreeing to sit down for a potentially controversial/difficult interview! In the past, you were at the mercy of the TV Reporter to represent a fair and balanced report on air. Now, you can film and then release your own record of the conversation to prove to your core stakeholders/audience/critics/etc. that what you said was taken out of context or misrepresented.

Game-changing stuff, and I’m glad guys like Scott Libin are here to help PR pros and journalists alike sort through it all!

Here’s our discussion:

QUESTION: Would you advise a PR client to use this “report on the reporter” technique? Why or why not? And if you’re a journalist, would you refuse to conduct an interview if the subject told you he or she was going to tape the conversation and possibly release it later online?

Video: TV Producers, Talk Radio Hosts and PR pros share their story pitching secrets

Longtime TV Producer Gregg Litman, Talk Radio Host/Author Kim Ketola, PR pro Jon Austin and Attorney/Lawyer/Political Savant Dave Bateson all joined me this week for a great Google+ Video Hangout to talk about the best story pitches we’ve ever given/received, what the “Occupy” movement needs to succeed long-term from a PR/JOUR perspective and more! Check out the conversation below, and join us every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Central time for great conversation and networking!

Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge – Chapter 15: Wow.

If you will simply read the gospels without bias, you cannot come to any other conclusion but that religion is the enemy.

(NOTE: This is part of an ongoing, “real-time” review I’m doing on the book. My thoughts on other chapters are here.)

The best way I can describe Chapter 15 of Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus is that it feels like a modern version of Jesus clearing the temple.

In short, this chapter is a beautiful beat down of all the religious silliness human beings have attached to simply knowing and loving Jesus Christ.

John Eldredge attacks what he calls this “religious fog” head on, and points out that it is actually “the source of most of the debris keeping people from Jesus.”

He starts with an important distinction: “There is Christianity, and then there is Christian culture. They are not the same.” Think about that for a few seconds.

And what really resonates with me is when Eldredge discusses the crazies out there who portend to speak on behalf of Jesus and all Christians (I’m thinking especially here of politicians or certain TV preachers): “A wing nut talking about Jesus does far more damage than fifty atheists.”

I also love this as a litmus test for any church you are currently attending: “If you can’t take your church culture and language and drop it in the middle of a bar or a bus, and have it make winsome sense to the people there, then it’s not from Jesus. Because that is exactly what he would do. That’s what made him the real deal.”

If you grew up in a religious system or school (as I did), what Eldredge speaks of in this chapter will ring very true.

He outlines in beautiful detail some of the ways the religious fog continues to operate inside our churches and schools today:

  • False reverence replaces loving Jesus
  • Knowing about God substitutes for knowing God
  • Power displays are confused for intimacy with Jesus
  • Religious activity is confused with commitment to Christ
  • Christian service substitutes for friendship with Jesus
  • The holiness of God is taught by making him “unknowable” or unapproachable
  • Holiness is substituted with rule-keeping
  • A trivial morality prevails
  • The system operates on the fear of man
  • There is safety in distance (from God)

This chapter is so rich, so full of truth, and so sure to make our modern-day Pharisees mad, that I cannot put into words how beautiful it is. And so long overdue. I’m grateful for the courage of men like John Eldredge to stand up, tell the truth and clear the temple!

Must-see TV: This is what 75 years of newsroom experience/insight/advice sounds like!

If you missed this week’s Google+ hangout, below is a chance to hear from some of the most experienced Public Relations and Journalism experts I’ve ever met on everything from people using Social Media to “report on the reporters” to the chilling impact advertising can have on how a station/newspaper covers controversial stories and more! This group – which included talk radio hosts, investigative reporters and former TV news directors – has a combined 75 years(!) of newsroom experience. I for one was amazed at how fast the 30 minute chat flew by thanks to the great insights and spirited discussion we shared.

Want to join us? We’ll be doing this every Tuesday at 10:30 AM Central time. Join us!

3 ways proper lighting can improve your next video

With more and more PR pros needing to know how to shoot and edit their own video, thought I’d share a tutorial I found helpful regarding how to do proper lighting when filming someone. Enjoy!

Steve Jobs’ best speech ever?

By now you’ve heard the news about Jobs. I found this video of him talking to students at Stanford in 2005 gave me great insight into the life experiences that made him who he was.

Teach this! Here’s a video trailer for an upcoming U of M class I’m teaching on Labor Unions and Social Media

If you work in PR or Communications for a Labor Union here in the Twin Cities, I’d love to see you at a new class I’ll be teaching on October 25, 2011 through the University of Minnesota’s Labor Education Service! Here are the details: “Successful Social Media Strategies for Labor Unions” with John Nemo, Dir of PR and Social Media for the Minnesota Nurses Association. $25, Tues, October 25, 6-9 p.m. Contact John See at 612-624-6039. Registration info available at the LES website.

Here’s a video trailer I made promoting the class:

Why being a mainstream media reporter just got a whole lot more dangerous

This video from the Occupy Wall Street protests has been burning up the Social Media landscape and I’m sure will continue to do so. In a nutshell, it’s a great example of how the tables have completely turned on reporters in 2011.

Thanks to Social Media, reporters are now being reported on. (Here’s a longer piece explaining the blow-by-blow of the video below and how it came to life.)

For now, though, I’m fascinated to hear what my friends in the mainstream media think about this, and whether or not it will impact how you do your job in public. (I can’t help but think it’s going to give you pause if you’re a reporter. We/they are not used to being put on the spot in an interview like this and having things flipped around!)


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