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Archive for December 2012

Merry Christmas | Jerry’s Christmas Rant

Merry Christmas

 

Decembrrr 2012

Merry Christmas. Or, Merry Cliffmas if we don’t make it to the 25th. Keep reading. I’ll explain.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Christmas is a sneaky holiday. It sneaks up on me every year. And it’s done it again.

Every year is the year I’m going to get everything done early — presents bought and wrapped, cards addressed and mailed, Santa tied up and threatened with a shave and a stricter diet until he agrees to give me whatever extravagant thing is on my current wish list. Sorry. Skip that last item. I didn’t mean it, Santa. Got carried away.

But every year I wake up one day to realize that, despite my good intentions of getting everything done early, I’m late once again and frantically trying to catch up.

One consolation this year: There may not be a Christmas. We’ll be celebrating Cliffmas instead as we all go over the Mayan Cliff on December 21. Of course, I’m posting this on the day we’re supposed to go over that cliff. So, if we did go over, I think it went more or less unnoticed.

There are two ways of looking at this (more, really, but I’m trying to keep this letter reasonably short or at least not too unreasonably long): I don’t have to rush to get all those Christmassy things done by Christmas this year since there won’t be one. On the other hand, with the Mayan Cliff looming, maybe that means I have to have it all done four days earlier than usual. Maybe I’m even later than I thought.

Some may say my own procrastination and avoidance are to blame for Christmas — and now Cliffmas — sneaking up on me every year. But, since I refuse to accept any responsibility whatsoever for my perennial lack of readiness, I choose to place the blame where it clearly belongs: With Christmas itself. Part of the reason I’m comfortable doing this is that I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who experiences the whole Christmas-is-here-and-I’m-not-ready-how-could-that-have-happened thing.

But I’m a PR professional. So, I’ve decided to put my expertise to work providing some professional help to raise the visibility of Christmas so it can’t sneak up on us again next year. I’m going to start a PR campaign for Christmas.  (Note: I’m a professional. Do not try this at home.)

We’ll start with a parade. I’m thinking Thanksgiving Day. Something to watch while the turkey’s in the oven getting ready. Or getting ready to go in the oven to get ready. New York City. Big balloons. A major department store as the sponsor. National TV.

Lights. Lots of lights. Bright, festive. We’ll put them on houses. Offices. Government buildings. Everywhere. I like lights. This will be really cool.

An official Christmas-shopping-season kickoff. We’ll do it on the day after Thanksgiving. We’ll call it Black Friday. But we’ll actually start it on Thanksgiving Day, which means it should really be called Blackout Thanksgiving Thursday. Over time, we can move it up more and more. Eventually, it will happen early enough that all the adults on their way to bang down the doors of their local stores in a frantic rush to be the first in line for the annual Christmas buying binge will push the kids out trick-or-treating right off the sidewalks. They don’t need all that candy, anyway.

TV specials. Lots of TV specials, including a bunch of corny tear jerkers we’ve all watched before but always put a lump in our throats and a tear on our cheeks near the end.

Ads. We need lots of ads. From stores, online shopping sites and Lord knows who else. Some of them could even tell us there are only __ (fill in the blank) shopping days left until Christmas. That way we’ll all know exactly how much time we have left until Christmas. The reference to “shopping days” will be a quaint reminder of the olden days when stores actually closed on Sundays even during the Christmas shopping season. Of course, stores don’t close at all anymore. In fact, they’ve gotten to where you can order stuff up until about seven minutes before Christmas begins and still have it delivered on Christmas Day. I’m waiting until they get it to the point where I can order things a couple days after Christmas and still have it delivered on time. I think that’s just a couple years away.

We’ll give the kids a couple weeks off from school. Another reminder for those parents who still have jobs and can’t get time off that they need to learn to keep more balls in the air because Christmas is coming.

Well, you get the idea. There’ll be more to our PR campaign, of course. But those are the highlights. It’ll be so successful that Christmas won’t be able to sneak up on us next year, assuming we haven’t gone over the cliff before then.

If you’re still reading, you’ve probably had about all you can put up with.

So, let me wrap this up by saying all my grandkids got bigger and smarter and cuter again last year. I won’t bore you with the details here. If you care enough to really want to know, you probably already know some of the details. If you want more, give me a call (303-594-8016) and let’s chat. It’s friendlier than me including it in my annual Christmas rant. And my children (who aren’t children any more) continue to do well. So, do the women they married. I’m grateful for everyone one of them.

The coming year? Will there be one? We do have the Mayan Cliff to worry about. If there is a New Year, I predict my grandchildren will continue to get bigger, smarter and cuter (how do they do that?). I’ll continue to be boring as a stump. But my life will continue to be interesting because of all the interesting people I’m lucky enough to spend time with.

Merry Christmas. Or Cliffmas. Or whatever else you celebrate.

Jerry

Storytelling Tip: 5 ways to get your story remembered

 

Storytelling Tip: 5 ways to get your story remembered
Today’s tip from JerryBrownPR’s Tips for Telling Your Story on the Experience Pros Radio Show
Listen to the Radio Version

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Storytelling Tip: 5 ways to get your story rememberedWant your story to be remembered?

Here are five things you can do to make it easier for the rest of us to remember your story:

Surprise me. We’re hard wired to notice things that surprise us. So, finding a way to surprise us will grab our attention. And the more interesting the surprise, the more memorable it is. A common mistake people make when telling their story is to make it too predictable.

Make it about me. Everybody’s favorite subject is me. One of the things I learned during my 20 years as a journalist is that news is about people and things that affect people. The more people affected, the bigger the story. That’s why a big storm hitting your city always leads the six o’clock news. It affects everyone. And the biggest story of all, no matter how mundane, is one that affects me.

Trigger my emotions. Emotional responses are stronger than purely intellectual ones. Find a way to tap into our emotions and we’re more likely to remember your story. But don’t overdo it. We don’t want you playing with our emotions simply for your personal benefit.

Keep it simple. The simpler your story, the easier it is to remember.

Make it concrete. Concrete examples are easier to remember that abstract ideas. So, if your story involves abstract ideas, using concrete examples that show what it means or how it works will make it easier to remember.

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Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros Radio Show on KLZ 560AM in Denver or at www.560thesource.com on the Internet. Missed it on the air? Listen to the archived tips.

Storytelling Tip: Have someone else tell your story for you

 

Storytelling Tip: Have someone else tell your story for you
Today’s tip from JerryBrownPR’s Tips for Telling Your Story on the Experience Pros Radio Show
Listen to the Radio Version

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Storytelling Tip: Have someone else tell your story for youSometimes the best way to tell your story is to have someone else do it for you.

If I tell you I make the world’s greatest pizza and you ought to buy one, you’re probably a little skeptical.

But if I tell you Joe makes the world greatest pizza and you ought to buy one, you’re more likely to believe me and do what I say — unless you know Joe’s my cousin and I’m trying to help him sell more pizzas.

We’re all more credible when singing the praises of someone else than when we’re bragging about ourselves. That’s why word-of-mouth is so powerful when it comes to telling your story.

So, look for allies, supporters and friends who will help you tell your story. The less likely they are to be biased in their opinion, the more credibility they’ll have.

And I hate to admit it, but your skepticism about my pizza is probably well founded.

That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?

————-

Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros Radio Show on KLZ 560AM in Denver or at www.560thesource.com on the Internet. Missed it on the air? Listen to the archived tips.

Tell Me a Story. Make it About Me. Keep it Simple.

 

Tell Me a Story. Make it About Me. Keep it Simple.
Listen to the Radio Version

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Tell Me a Story. Make it About Me. Keep it Simple.Tell me a story. Make it about me. Keep it simple.

That’s everything you need to know to get your message heard, understood and remembered.

Tell me a story

A story is nothing more than a narrative designed to help the rest of us remember your message and whatever facts you share with us to explain what you’re telling us and make it credible. A list of facts by themselves? Boring. And quickly forgotten. A list of facts pulled together within the narrative of a good story? More interesting. And more readily remembered.

As far as anyone knows, people have been using stories to share information since whenever humans developed the language skills to do so. Want your message heard understand and remembered? Then tell us a story that focuses on your message.

Make it about me

Everybody’s favorite subject is me. So, make your story relevant to your audience by making it about your audience. The simplest way to do that is to tell the rest of us something we care about or how you can help us. That part of your story that’s about you and how wonderful you are? That’s your favorite part of your story because it’s about your favorite subject — you. For the rest of us, it’s the least interesting part of your story. We want to know what you can do for us.

Keep it simple

The simpler your story the more likely it is to be remembered. It’s easy to take a simple story and make it complicated. People do it all the time. It’s harder to take a complicated story and simplify it. But that’s what you need to do with your story if you want the rest of us to hear it, understand it and remember it.

That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?

————-

Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros Radio Show on KLZ 560AM in Denver or at www.560thesource.com on the Internet. Missed it on the air? Listen to the archived tips.

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Contact Jerry

Jerry@JerryBrownPR.com | 303.594.8016