Inspiration Leads to Engagement

This morning I was listening to The Feed, the official Libsyn postcast hosted by Elsie Escobar.  This episode features an interview on branding with Jessica Kupferman.

Right about the 35 minute mark Elsie talks about calls to action and how to measure them. She remarks that you would have to provide a download or giveaway where the url is only provided to listeners of the podcast (ie not on the website or social media). The download would be a “reward” for the podcast listeners and would also be a measurable call to action as a result.

I was thinking about how I could apply this to my podcast. Each week I interview an author and give away one book to a member of the podcast mailing list.  But there’s a gap between the interview and the audience who have yet to read the book.  A downloadable giveaway could act to provide valued content to the audience, give me the engagement I seek and give the publisher added promotional benefit.

One of the publishers who sent a review copy and press kit recently also sent a sheet with interesting facts from the book. I thought that would be perfect to repackage as a pdf to give away as an exclusive download to the audience. The question was would other publishers be willing to do something similar for the other authors and books I featured?

I set out right away to contact three publishers with my proposal. Here are my results:

Publisher 1 – I caught her off guard just calling up on the phone. I explained that I would love to have a one page pdf with facts or profiles from the book. I explained that not only could it be used for my show but she could re-use it for other purposes and events. This publicist is with a small university press.  She liked the idea but was concerned about being able to get it to me in time since they have limited staff.  She is moving forward, though, to see if she can make it happen.

Publisher 2 – This publicist works for a major New York publishing house. I gave her the same pitch as above. She basically said that the responses they get from large broadcasters (ie NPR, etc) don’t warrant going to extra any effort. She felt their current marketing efforts were enough and wouldn’t spend the time to create a one page promotional pdf. Yes, I admit I felt the sting of rejection. I shook it off and moved on to the next one.

Publisher 3 – This publicist was also from a large New York publishing house. The advantage was she had provided me the fact insert in the press kit that inspired my idea. I only had to ask her to repackage the existing content into a pdf that could be shared. We talked about copyright, audience engagement and metrics. She was open to hearing my suggestions and thoughts on marketing and promotion.  She gave me a tentative green light pending approval from her superiors and the author.

Inspiration can come in unexpected places. Elsie and Jessica’s discussion lead to an idea that I was able to formulate, develop and act on immediately. Was I uncomfortable calling the publicists and pitching my idea? YES! But the ultimate gain to my show and my audience outweighed the discomfort.

Be open to ideas where ever you find them and figure out how you can transform them into actionable success!

Storytelling for Success

I love storytelling. Storytelling is the foundation of successful business, entertainment, interpersonal relations. Everything really. The better storytellers we are, the better we can get our point across and in a more memorable way.

I strongly believe that storytelling is the key to business success. Many people are talking about this being the age of content marketing. The basis of much of content marketing is clearly and effectively telling a story.

This past week there was an excellent example of storytelling in one of the most unexpected places – an ad for Chili’s restaurant.  The commercial shares the stories of three different groups of people at one table during the course of a day.  The focus is on the stories of those people rather than the restaurant. The stories of the people, and their lives reinforce why Chili’s is the place to be. The message – Life Happens at Chili’s.

Here’s the ad:

Some quick online research reveals that Chili’s has started a new campaign called More Life Happens Here.  They have a website and videos on YouTube. The focus is on life happening at Chili’s as well as giving back to the community.

It’s an absolutely brilliant campaign that utilizes storytelling at it’s best to connect with their current and potential audience.  I will be very interested to see what they do with future ads.