(By Bob McCurdy) I recently read a podcasting article that quoted someone as saying, “Good storytelling will always be heard.” It got me thinking about our role as storytellers in promoting our medium and positioning our media assets. We often talk to clients about what a great medium radio is for telling their “stories,” but as the representatives of the radio industry, is our storytelling up to snuff?
Weaving a great story requires one to be part archaeologist, digging up key information to share, and part Mark Twain, taking that information and weaving it into a cogent narrative. Our stories must be based on reality and can’t be a fairytale. Fairytales lead to dissatisfied clients.
One of the keys to successful storytelling is developing the discipline to continually be on the lookout for information that enhances the story. Great storytelling doesn’t happen by accident, so developing a system for retaining important information is critical.
Below is an example of how I store information that has enabled me to craft a few good stories over the years. I simply cut and paste any information and store in the appropriate file, any information that I believe might bolster my story today or in the future. It can’t get any easier than simply cutting, pasting, and storing what you read in Radio Ink and other trades. I have 127 separate files that have been kept updated since 2006. So easy a caveman can do it!
If data is the new “oil,” as seems to be the case in 2018, then “stories” are the refineries that transform that oil into gasoline. We lose sight of the importance of the “story” at our own financial and professional risk. Successful storytelling is flexible, ever-evolving, and whenever possible, highlights “customer” successes/quotes. Radio Ink publishes success stories weekly. There are dozens of good quotes and powerful insights in these articles that can be easily woven into any client discussion. A few of these quotes follow; I pulled them from Chapter 1AB above:
Michael and Frankie Street/The Vapor Shak: Be patient, it doesn’t happen overnight. It may take a few months to see results, but when it’s done right, you will definitely see them.
Penny McDowell/Merlin 200,000 Mile Shops: Direct mail is great for couponing and getting people through the door, but radio really builds the brand.
Walt Blasberg/North Hero House Inn & Restaurant: We probably had a 25% increase in the Pier bar that year. It has grown every year.
Bob Disinger/Disinger’s Jewelers: I feel to be successful we have to have a balance to our marketing plan. Radio is very important to the success of our business.
Bob and Kim Yacone – Owners of Forghedaboudit: It has been the best advertising money we have spent in a long time. I truly believe that radio is an amazing tool.
Tricia Campero/Boston Lawnmower: As soon as we start advertising on the radio for our pre-season sales, or for specific events, we can see through our sales that things are happening.
Shawn Matian/The Matian Firm (Attorneys): I think radio gives me the direct response that no other form of advertising has given me.
Roy Spencer/Perma-Seal Basement Systems: Radio’s been key. Radio gives us an affordable medium that we’ve been able to stay on consistently. That builds name recognition, which drives everything else like the search engines.
Our “story” should not be long. In fact, each station and cluster should have an elevator pitch that’s continually updated and recounted by all involved within sales. David Lubars, the much respected Chief Creative Officer of BBDO North America, has said, “If you can’t tell it in a tweet, you don’t have a compelling story. Brevity is any story’s rocket fuel, as we need to deliver the message without losing the audience in the weeds. The more we leave out, the more we highlight what we leave in.”
We are marketing our medium in a time when we need to tell our story more professionally, more consistently and more effectively, requiring us in some ways to be the media campfire storytellers of 2018. Thankfully, our stories are not constrained by any laws of physics and are only constrained by the discipline required to search, cut, and paste, and persistently communicate.
Rudyard Kipling once said, “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Substitute the words “our pitch” for “history.” What’s your story?
Bob McCurdy is Vice President of Sales for the Beasley Media Group.
This article was previously featured in Radio Ink