JerryBrownPR
303.594.8016

Archive for the ‘Messaging’ Category

Selling is an important part of your story

 

Selling is an important part of your story
An ECO Operations Team Business Tip

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

Selling is an important part of your storyIf you’re in business, a major reason — often the major reason — for telling your story is sell what you sell.

That should be easy, right? Just brag about yourself and how your version of what you sell is better than everyone else’s. I make the best pizza in the world, for example.

Not so fast.

Without some evidence to back it up, my claim that I make the world’s best pizza isn’t all that credible. Am I telling the truth? How do I back it up? What do I mean by “best”? Your version of best might be different than mine. And you may want the cheapest pizza, not the best. Or your primary concern may be prompt delivery because you have a house full of hungry teenagers.

As Chuck Crenshaw pointed out in last week’s ECO Operations Team (ECOops) article, you have three choices when it comes to positioning yourself within your market. You can be:

  • The price leader,
  • The one who provides the best product, or
  • The one who provides the best service.

Where you position yourself within your market matters when it comes to telling your story because different segments of the market are looking for different things.

So, you need to know what you want to be known for before you’re ready to tell your story effectively. And you need to know whether there’s a receptive market for your version of what you’re selling and how you’re selling it. Positioning yourself as the cheapest Mercedes dealer in town and competing solely on price probably isn’t a winning strategy.

Make sure your story speaks to your customers’ needs. Give them a reason to buy what you sell from you instead of one of your competitors by telling them why you’ll do a better job of meeting their needs.

Customers who are looking for the leader in a segment of your market that’s different than the one you’re focusing on probably will take their business somewhere else. That’s okay, as long as the value you offer will attract a big enough portion of the market to make you successful.

The point is that it’s important to understand the segment of the market you’re targeting. And to focus your story on that segment of the market.

If you try to be all things to all people, chances are your story will miss the mark across the board.

Look for next week’s ECOops article by Linda Hughes, founder and social media maven of the Entrepreneurial Community Online (ECO).

————-

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.

Use your nut graph to give us a reason to stick around

 

Use your nut graph to give us a reason to stick around
Today’s tip from JerryBrownPR’s Storytelling Tips on the Experience Pros Radio Show
Listen to the Radio Version

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

Use your nut graph to give us a reason to stick aroundYou’ve grabbed our attention with your lead. Now what?

Give us a reason to stick around to hear the rest of your story. That’s the job of your nut graph — your nutshell paragraph, where you summarize the main point of your story and give us a reason to care.

As one observer put it: “It allows readers to understand why the heck they were invited to the party and why they should seriously consider attending.”

Nut graph is a journalism term. So, unless you’ve spent time in a newsroom, you probably haven’t heard it before. Sadly, many people who work in newsrooms haven’t heard it, either. And their writing often suffers as a result.

Once upon a time, most newspaper stories began by telling you something happened today or yesterday. Just the facts. No need for a nut graph. The lead doubled in that role — grabbed your attention and told you what the story was about. The rest of the story just filled in the details. And why should you care? Well, it was “news.” That was reason enough.

But stories — news stories and your story — don’t always begin with those just-the-facts leads followed by filling in the details.

You have to grab our attention so we’ll pause long enough to consider sticking around to hear what you have to say. That’s your lead’s job.

Then you need to hook us with a paragraph that gives us your story in a nutshell and gives us a reason to read or listen to the rest of what you have to say. That’s your nutshell paragraph, your nut graph.

As blogger Michele Rafter puts it: “A story without a gut graph is like a walk in the woods without a path: you know you’re going someplace, you’re just not sure where. The nut graph supplies that direction. It tells readers, ‘This is what this story is about, this is why you should care, this is why you should keep reading.'”

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.

Storytelling Tip: Focus on a Single Idea

 

Storytelling Tip: Focus on a Single Idea
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: Focus on a Single IdeaFocus your story around a single topic, preferably one you can put into a single sentence.

In school, we were taught our paragraphs should have a topic sentence summarizing the main thought of that paragraph.

I encourage you to take it a step further. Organize your story around a single topic sentence as well.

As a young journalist, I was taught to start my stories with a single sentence — the lead — that told the reader what the story was about. And then I was supposed to make everything else explain or elaborate on my lead. Parts of the story that didn’t explain my lead were strong candidates for being edited out.

Focusing on a single topic is a good storytelling formula because it forces you to be clear about what you have to say.

What if you have five tips about how to [fill in the blank]? Don’t you have five things to talk about in that case? Yes, you do. But they all focus on the single topic of how to do whatever goes into your fill-in-the-blank space. And each of those tips will focus on its own single idea.

Movies and novels often have multiple subplots. It can be part of what makes them interesting.

Doesn’t that violate my single-topic rule? Yes. And no. You’re going to spend 90 minutes or longer watching a movie and more time than that reading most novels. All those subplots help keep you interested along the way. But those subplots usually flesh out the main plot of the story in some way. And most of those movies and novels can generally be boiled down to a single topic that serves as the unifying thread of the story.

If your audience will be spending 90 minutes or longer on your story, you may need a subplot or two as well. But in the business world we’re often lucky to get 90 seconds of their time. So, stay focused on a single thought.

Put what you want to tell us into a single sentence — your lead. And then use the rest of what you have to say explaining or elaborating on your lead.

————-

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.

Selling Requires Telling (Your Story)

 

Selling Requires Telling (Your Story)

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

What's your story?“Ultimately you have to sell whatever it is you sell to stay in business.” And successful selling requires telling your story well.

The quote about selling what you sell to stay in business comes from an article last week by sales professional Chuck Crenshaw of RevenueMaxSalesSystem.com. The article lists the three basic options, including sales, for generating more cash for your business.

As Chuck pointed out, if you’re not generating enough cash to grow your business — or even stay in business — you’ll probably want to focus on selling more.

How do you that? One place to start is by making sure you’re telling your story properly.

What problem do you solve for your customers? What need of theirs do you meet? How do you make their lives simpler, happier better? How do you make their businesses more successful?

Coming up with the answers to the questions in that list is a good starting point for your story.

Ultimately, of course, you want to tell your story in a way that benefits you. But the surest way to make sure your story benefits you is to tell us how it benefits us.

Chuck and I are part of the Operations Team of the Entrepreneurial Community Online, better known as ECO. In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll be tag-teaming one another with blog posts designed to help you be more successful.

Chuck will offer sales tips. I’ll focus on messaging and branding — telling your story. Linda Hughes, ECO’s founder and social media maven, will share some insights about using social media to spread your message and attract customers. She’s up next week with some thoughts about using social media to target your audience. We have other team members you’ll meet later.

We hope you’ll find our advice helpful. We invite you to offer comments, ask questions, join the conversation. And, of course, we’re available to work with you if you need help from one or more members of our team.

I’ll be back with another storytelling tip as part of this conversation in a few weeks. In the meantime, watch for Linda’s article next week and tips from other members of our team in the weeks ahead.

————-

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: Anticipate problems

 

Storytelling Tip: Anticipate problems
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: Anticipate problemsWe all know it’s important to say the right thing when telling your story.

But it’s also important to anticipate problems so you can avoid saying the wrong thing — and so you’ll be prepared to rebut skeptics, competitors or enemies who challenge what you say.

I suggest asking — and answering — five questions as you prepare your story:

  • What’s your objective? What do you want to happen because you told your story? Be specific. And don’t skip this step just because you think you know the answer.
  • Who’s your audience? Who are you trying to reach with your story?
  • What’s your headline? What’s the one thing you want the rest of us to hear, understand and remember if we forget everything else you say? This is the main message of your story. Make it clear and simple. And be able to say it in 15 seconds or less.
  • Do you have other messages you want to include? Okay, you probably have a dozen. But limit yourself to no more than three messages anytime you tell your story. Save the rest for another day. If you hit us with too many messages, we won’t remember any of them. Having too many messages is the same as not having any messages.
  • What message(s) do you want to avoid? This is a question that often gets overlooked. But it’s extremely important. What will your competitors say? Be ready with your answer before you tell your story. Are there politically sensitive issues you need to avoid so you won’t offend your audience? Does your audience have misconceptions you need to debunk? Saying the wrong thing or failing to address misconceptions your audience already has can destroy your story. So, don’t forget to ask yourself what can go wrong. And then know what you’ll say — or avoid saying — to make sure it doesn’t.

————-

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: Keep it fresh

 

Storytelling Tip: Keep It Fresh
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: Keep it freshHas your message gotten stale? If so, it’s time to freshen it up.

My favorite bread gets stale in a day. Bananas are pretty dicey after a week. And, despite jokes to the contrary, even Twinkies had a shelf life. So does your message.

Good storytellers pay attention to how their audience reacts. They want to know which parts of their story resonate with their audience and which parts don’t. And what works today may not work tomorrow.

The fact is most businesses evolve, including yours. Your audience is evolving. And what you say about your business needs to evolve, too.

Some businesses update their messages weekly or even daily. This week’s sale will be old news by next week. For others, once or twice a year may be often enough.

How often do you need to change your story? That depends on you, your business — and the people you’re trying to reach.

If your business changes quickly and often, your message needs to change quickly and often. If your business doesn’t change, or the changes happen slowly, you probably don’t need to change your message very often, either.

But, just like Twinkies, your message does have a shelf life. Don’t let it get stale.

————-

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.

Get Your Story Heard, Understood and Remembered

 

Get Your Story Heard, Understood and 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

Get Your Story Heard, Understood and RememberedI often describe what I do as getting your story heard, understood and remembered. But what does that mean? And what do you need to do to get your story heard, understood and remembered?

Get your story heard

It doesn’t matter how good your message is if the people you’re trying to reach don’t see it or hear it.

There was a time when getting a story published in your local newspaper or advertising in your local newspaper and on the three or four local TV stations blanketed your local market.

And national advertisers could reach most Americans by advertising on the three national TV networks.

With the Internet, hundreds of cable channels, video games and all the other entertainment and information outlets competing for our attention, it’s a little harder today to reach everyone. And you may not even care about reaching everyone. You want to reach those of us who are potential customers for what you’re selling.

Another challenge in getting your story heard is that we’re all bombarded daily with thousands of marketing messages. So, we’ll tune your message out unless you deliver it in a way that’s interesting enough for us to pay attention to it.

To get your story heard, your challenge is to figure out who your audience is, how to reach them and how to deliver your message in a way that they’ll be interested enough to pay attention.

Get your story understood

Do you know what your message is? Can you say it in about 15 seconds? If you don’t understand your own message how do you expect the rest of us to understand it?

The 15-second rule is about making sure your message is simple enough for the rest of us to understand it. The longer it takes you to explain your message, the less likely the rest of us are to understand it.

Keep it simple. Sounds easy. But it isn’t. It’s easy to take a simple idea and make it complicated. People do that all the time. It’s much harder to take a complicated idea and explain it simply. That’s your challenge when crafting your message.

Get your story remembered

You reached your audience and they understand what you had to say. Congratulations. But it won’t do you any good if they don’t remember it. Giving us a reason to care about what you said will make us more likely to remember it. Making your message visual and concrete (instead of abstract) also makes it easier to remember.

Having a message is easy. We all have at least one. Getting it heard, understood and remembered is the challenge.

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.

Storytelling Tip: Your message is more than the words you say

 

Storytelling Tip: Your message is more than the words you say
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: Your message is more than the words you sayThe words you use when developing your message and telling your story are important. But your message is a lot more than the words you use.

Your message also includes:

  • The optics of your story. That includes photos and other images you use in telling your story. We’ve become a very visual society. Limiting your message to words alone will limit its visibility and its appeal.
  • The tone of your story. What do you want to emphasize? Your professionalism? Your friendliness? Trustworthiness? The fact that you care? Your prices? Two companies in essentially the same business may tell their story quite differently because of the tone they choose.
  • Who you are and what you do. If you’re in business, the words you use to tell your story are usually about attracting our interest, getting us to check out what you do or what you sell. But who you are and what you do are equally important to your message. If our experience in doing business with you doesn’t match your words, we probably won’t be back. And instead of recommending you to our friends, we may warn them to stay away.

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.

Storytelling Tip: Just Do It

 

Storytelling Tip: Just Do It
Today’s tip from JerryBrownPR’s Tips for Telling Your Story on the Experience Pros Radio Show

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

Storytelling Tip: Just Do ItYou want to tell your story. But you’re having trouble getting started?

Just do it. Start writing, even if you’re not quite sure what you want to say.

Sometimes putting words on paper — even if you go back and change them later — can help you clarify in your own mind what you want to say.

I’m talking about this tip on the Experience Pros radio show this week.  And it’s inspired by Angel Tuccy of the Experience Pros.

If you’re a regular listener, you know Angel and her business partner, Eric Reamer, have written several bestselling books on business.

Angel’s advice to other aspiring book authors: Just do. Start writing.

That’s good advice. And it’s good advice if you’re struggling to put your message into words, too. Just start writing and see where it goes.

One additional piece of advice. Before you’re done you want to know the answers to three very important questions:

  • What’s your objective. What do you want to happen as a result of telling your story?
  • Who’s your audience? Who do you want to hear your message? Why? And why will they care?
  • What’s your message? What’s the one thing you can tell your audience to improve your chances of achieving your objective?

Ideally, you should know the answers to those questions before you start writing your story.

But sometimes you don’t. If you’re stuck, just start writing. But be sure you know the answers to those questions before you’re done. And by the time you’re done, make sure your message speaks clearly to the audience you’re trying to reach in a way that will help you achieve your objective.

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.

Storytelling Tip: Skip the Spin

 

Storytelling Tip: Skip the Spin
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: Skip the SpinHave you ever listened to someone flawlessly deliver a perfectly honed message — and you don’t believe a word they say?

We all have. Chances are they’re practitioners of “spin.” Skip the spin if you want the rest of us to believe your story.

You’re entitled to a point of view — and to express it without presenting the other side. And it’s okay, when appropriate, to try to persuade us to buy what you’re selling.

But skip the spin. By that I mean don’t alter or misrepresent the truth to make your story sound better than it is.

As a public relations practitioner, I sometimes come across people who think my job is to make stuff up or bend the truth to convince the rest of you that stinky stuff smells like roses.

Not so. My job is to help my clients tell their story clearly and credibly to the audiences important to them. My job is to help them get their stories heard, understood and remembered.

But I prefer to skip the spin. Because it doesn’t matter what you say or how well you say it if the rest of us don’t believe you because we don’t trust you.

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.

Denver PR Firm, APR Credentials
JerryBrownPR member of South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce

Contact Jerry

Jerry@JerryBrownPR.com | 303.594.8016