Thursday, April 28, 2005

Reverb Marketing: What Is It?

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP International Business Speaker

What are the latest trends in marketing?

Well, reverb marketing is the latest buzzword amongst the marketing community as customers get harder to reach because of what I call the three c's are on the increase:

1. Chaos,
2. Clutter, and
3. Competition

Chaos - Our lives are getting busier and busier and more and more chaotic as we sift through the masses of information coming at us.

Clutter - This mass of information is getting held up, like grains of sand in an hourglass, and the sheer volume is cluttering up our lives and decision-making processes.

Competition - It is an increasingly competitive marketplace now, with me too brands, look at me brands, and global brands dominating the marketplace. It is increasingly difficult to be truly unique and standout from the crowd.

It is worse in the online marketplace.

For example, eMarketer points out that many Internet users already use multiple forms of media at once. Even as I write this I'm listening to a motivational CD in the background.

Larry Chase says "Smart marketers will synchronize their messaging so the end user hears and sees complementary messages at or near the same time. This will be the new definition of what media planners call "Road Blocking". Since the end user's attention is split between different media, it will be essential that messages reinforce each other."

Chase believes visual images on TV spots or simply showing the 800 number on screen won't be as effective, because a significant segment of people won't be watching the screen. "Even today we're starting to use TV like radio," he says.

Source: Larry Chase's Top 10 Trends for the Next 10 Years, Larry Chase's Web Digest For Marketers, May 28th, 2005.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Media Training Tips: Maximising Your Media Moment

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP, International Business Speaker

Media training prior to dealing with the media is essential for business leaders, executives and company spokespersons. Discover the insider secrets of media interview training in this article. If you want to perform better then these tips from our media relations training course will help you get your message across via the media.

Media training is a 'must do' professional development program for any serious leader or manager.

Media interview training provides you with the skills to effectively deal with the media.

Media relations training, with a specific focus on media presentation training for television can be seriously nerve wracking for first timers.

Here's why you should consider doing a media training course and some essential tips from our media skill training courses.

If you go to the archives of any commercial television station and pull out footage from a news bulletin from the 1960s and view that footage with a stopwatch, you will find the average length of the quote (known as a sound bite or news grab) from the person being interviewed for the story is around 60 seconds.

If you watch commercial television tonight with your stopwatch at the ready, and measure each sound bite or news grab, the average length will be seven seconds.

This is why its being called McNuggett News! Its quick, slick, fast and tasty, but not very satisfying.

There are three reasons for this shortening of length.

1. Increased competition for our ever diminishing attention spans,

2. Increased choice, noise and clutter in our lives, and

3. The merging of information and entertainment dressed up as news.

So how do you get your message across about a complex, detailed issue through the media in seven seconds?

Well, you need to work out your key message and deliver it flawlessly as a media friendly quotable quote.

Remember, you have only one chance to get it right. The professional TV news crews I work with are constantly telling me about people who ring them after the interview and say "can you come back, I forgot to say this and that?"

Of course, the media are so time poor and deadline driven they never come back.

So you only have one opportunity to maximise your media moment.

How do you do this, especially for TV? Here are my Top 10 Tips:

1. Dress Well.

In the powerful visual medium of television you will be judged by your appearance. Clothing patterns and colours will contribute to the impact of your on camera interview. Avoid clothes with lots of designs or patterns. A dark jacket (blue, black, charcoal or navy) with a white shirt/blouse always looks good on camera. Take your cue from what TV newsreaders are wearing. Heed my mother's advice: "it is better to pay the extra and buy one really good suit than have many of inferior quality."

2. Warm Up Your Voice.

Tiger Woods wouldn't go and play a championship round of golf without warming up. You, as a professional communicator and official spokesperson should never engage with the media without warming up your voice.

3. Speak With Increased Energy.

Speak at a higher volume, range, tone and pitch than you would normally. Imagine having a conversation with someone and speaking at a slightly more animated level than you would normally.

4. Anchor Your Feet and Slow Deliberate Movements.

The more you move around the more your body language will distract from your message. Doing interviews standing, even radio interviews, will change your whole physiology and give your more energy and authority. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and firmly anchored to the ground. It is hard to sound credible standing on one foot.

At the book launch of Understanding Influence For Leaders At All Levels, I learnt from co-author Des Guilfoyle that slow, fluid and deliberate movements will give you more referent power, charisma and personal magnetism.

TIP: Watch your interviews with the sound off to get a better idea of what your body language is doing in the interview.

5. Keep Calm.

Assertive, aggressive, even angry reporters will fire off questions at you quickly, like bullets spitting from a machinegun. Their speech patterns will be intense and fast. Do not get drawn into mirroring and matching these patterns. In these situations, take a breath and speak more slowly than the interviewer.

6. Memorise Your Three Key Points.

You must be able to deliver these flawlessly without reading notes. Firstly, write them down. Writing things down helps fix them in the mind and seeing them written down also helps. Then compose a visual picture of the actual words. Visually place them in the top left part of your brain. When remembering these points, look to the top left hand part of the brain and they will come to you instantly like magic.

In technical terms, brain experts have shown the left-side of the prefrontal cortex (just behind the forehead) experiences increased blood flow as new information enters our episodic memory. In fact, the brain's thesaurus is dispersed in many separate parts of the left cerebral hemisphere (Source: The Odd Brain by Dr Stephen Juan, Harper Collins, 1998).

7. Never Say No Comment.

Journalists will believe 'where there is smoke there is fire'. Say no comment, but back this up with a valid reason.

8. Drink Plenty Of Water.

Keep hydrated and avoid caffeine and milk prior to an interview. Milk gums up your saliva glands leading to a dry mouth. This manifests itself in the common nervous habit of licking dry lips.

9. Get In The Moment.

Elite athletes talk about and practice getting in the zone to achieve peak performance. You need to do the same.

Try this: Relax, close your eyes and take three deep breaths, focussing on clearing your mind. Then visualise a moment in the past where you felt very motivated and very confident. Capture this moment in your mind and anchor those feelings. Place this mental picture inside your right hand and clench making a fist. Cover this fist with your left hand. Repeat this process until you can instantly put yourself into a state of peak performance.

10. Review, Evaluate and Improve.

After each media interview always review:

What worked well?

What could be improved?

What will I work on for next time?

Want media training? Look out for our next course near you here.

Thomas Murrell MBA CSP is an international business speaker, consultant and award-winning broadcaster. Media Motivators is his regular electronic magazine read by 7,000 professionals in 15 different countries. You can subscribe by visiting his website. Thomas can be contacted directly at +6189388 6888 and is available to speak to your conference, seminar or event.

Effective Public Relations Writing: The Ten Commandments Of A Great Lead Paragraph

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP, International Business Speaker

If it bleeds it leads is a famous saying amongst news editors on why certain stories are on page one or first up in a TV or radio news bulletin.

With so many big news stories breaking recently, such as the Pope's death and the Navy helicopter crash in Indonesia, how can you make your media release stand out?

Well, the success of a news release being followed up by the media depends on the all important lead or first paragraph.

After the headline, this is the first message an editor or journalist will read and it is one of those critical moments of truth when you either win over or lose the media.

The first paragraph sets the structure for the whole of the media release.

Take this example of a very poorly written opening or lead paragraph that was actually sent out from the office of Northern Territory Opposition spokesman, Richard Lim on March 9, 2005.

Shadow Minister for Employment Education and Training Dr Richard Lim says that private registered training organisations which provided vocational education and training for Territorians are struggling to survive because over the last two years, the Northern Territory Government has a policy of using the Equipment Grants for government providers only, they being the Charles Darwin University and Batchelor of Indigenous Tertiary Institution.

(Source: D.D. McNicoll, The Diary, Media Section, The Australian, Thursday march 17th, 2005, pg 22.)

What is this person trying to say?

As a media and communications specialist working with clients, I find I spend at least half my writing time working on that all important first paragraph. It is were all the value is.

Here are my Ten Commandments for writing a great lead paragraph. A good lead paragraph must:

1. Summarise The Whole Story.
This is the sharp end of your message and the reader must understand what the whole story is about just by reading the first paragraph. The most important and critical information must come first.

2. Answer The Five W's.
It must answer the who, what, when, where, and why of the story.

3. Grab Your Attention.
Like a good headline, the lead paragraph must grab and hold the attention of the reader.

4. Make Every Word Count.
Aim for brevity and word economy. Less is more. Edit out words to increase impact.

5. Make Sense.
Write for meaning.

6. Be Accurate.
Always stick to the facts and be truthful, no matter how bad the news. Avoid fluff and hype. Remember it has to be newsworthy.

7. Keep To One Sentence.
Simplicity is the key to great lead paragraphs.

8. Provide Context.
If you are introducing an organisation or person for the first time, put this in context by providing descriptive, detailed and meaningful words immediately prior to the company or individual name.
For example:
Thomas Murrell - poor, no one knows who he is!
International business speaker and co-author of Understanding Influence For Leaders At All Levels, Thomas Murrell - better and puts person in context.
Different descriptions can be used, depending on your objectives and the context of the release.

9. Be Precise.
Precision is vital. Out of all the information you could get across what is the most important? This must be communicated in a precise way.

10. Edit, Check and Proofread A Minimum of Three Times.
Nothing will shoot your credibility down like a typo or error in the lead paragraph. First impressions count no matter how good the story is. Professionalism is essential. Get someone else to check and read your release.

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Effective Public Speaking and Media Presentation: How Do You Process Information?

By Thomas Murrell MBA CSP International Business Speaker

How you process information makes a big difference on your performance as a public speaker, professional communicator or media performer in an interview situation.

It all depends on what is going through your head in the preparation and delivery phase of these usually high pressure situations.

Research has found 40 per cent of the population prefer Visual (pictures), 10 per cent prefer Auditory (sounds), 40 per cent Kinesthetic (feelings), and 10 per cent Unspecified or Self Talk.

Which approach, known as a Representational System, do you prefer when you have to complete these tasks?

More importantly, how do your clients, colleagues or key stakeholders prefer to communicate & process information?

You can create instant rapport by matching and mirroring how others think.

For example, if you are able to identify how others think, feel and act and then feed back information and communicate in that way, you can connect with people in a deep and powerful way.

You will instantly notice how well you are able to get your message across and create rapport.

How do you identify these preferences?

Well, visual people think in pictures and words like see, appear, look and view are trigger words. They get bored easily, like diagrams, charts and models, and plan using mind-maps. They have trouble remembering long verbal instructions because their mind wanders. If you were like me, traditional lecturing-styles at school and University were not effective learning techniques. They are interested in the big picture and how something looks.

Auditory processors of information hear, listen and are often into music. They are typically easily distracted by noise. They learn by listening and can repeat back what they've been told. They are good on the phone and tone of voice, pace and language used are important triggers.

Kinesthetic learners like to feel, touch, grasp and get hold of objects. They respond to physical rewards and touching. Gut feeling and intuition are important. They memorise by walking through a task, rehearsing and doing.

Unspecified or self-talkers are sensitive to trigger words such as sense, experience, understand and think. They spend a lot of time talking to themselves. They love steps, sequences or processes to memorise and master tasks. They want to know if an idea makes sense and often use other types of learning.

Want to know how to persuade and influence others through the media or public speaking? We have a range of services to suit your learning style from hands-on, practical workshops, to personalised coaching to books and audio CDs. Visit our website for more details.

Source: Adapted from the eZine NLP Tips #16 Predicates/How we think, April 15th 2005.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Search Engine Optimisation: How Much is Enough?

By Thomas Murrell MBA CSP, International Business Speaker

How much is enough when it comes to keywords and search engine optimisation.

You know, finding those keywords that people are punching into search engines like Google.

Well, according to Internet marketing expert Cory Threlfall you need a minimum of 15,000 searches per month to have a viable market searching for information in your specialised niche or area of expertise.

So how do you find out?

Well, use the Overture keyword research tool
located here.

Simply type in the keywords related to your target market
in the form provided.

This will give you a detailed history of how many searches
have been made in the last 30 days on the keywords related
to your target market.

If it is under 15,000 searches per month, don't pursue this market because there isn't enough demand.

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