13 April Storytelling imageThere are people who have the ability to tell a great story; those who can spin a great yarn and hold an audience. What is about their story telling technique that’s grabs your attention and makes you want to listen to what they have to say?  What is it about them, and what they say, that allows them to easily engage others?

Clearly the subject matter has to be of interest but even if it is not, some people can engage you even if you have little or no interest in the topic.

I have had the opportunity of working with media personalities in small and large markets across a number of continents and in many different languages.  Whilst there are cultural differences, there is one quality that seems to flow through all of them. Authenticity.

Any media personality who wants to win audiences will have to have an ability to engage their audience. There are many aspects to engaging audiences but for the purposes of this article I’m going to concentrate on being able to create authentic content.

Creating lots of content.

Let’s look at a typical radio breakfast show. Three hours a day, five days a week.  You and your team will be looking for content to fill 15 hours of airtime each week. Assuming four pieces of  “content” each hour that comes to 60 pieces of content each week.

The aim is to take all those pieces of content whether unique or recycled and present them in a way that is authentic to you.

Being real on air.

The example I often use when working with on air teams is Valentine’s Day.

Imagine the scenario, you’re onto your umpteenth Valentines Day in your career. Once again you have to come up with a way of recognising the day for your audience.  Ask yourself (and your team) the question, what do I think/feel about Valentine’s Day? Note down those thoughts.

Most responses I get are “but I hate Valentine’s day!” Fine, note it down, but don’t stop there, what else do you think/feel about it?

What is it about Valentines day that make me feel that way about it?  Note those thoughts down too. Don’t stop at the first thought, dig a little deeper into understanding what you think. That way you can tap into a richer vein of thoughts and responses.  Try to keep asking why and get some more reasons. Keep writing down your thoughts and feelings..

Take those notes and then think about which ones spur ideas of content for the show.  When you land on one topic that seems to resonate most, then decide how this might get produced for the show.  Maybe a talk topic,  a Facebook and Twitter activity, a video viral campaign?  It’s a whole new opportunity to connect with your audience across a variety of platforms so take advantage of these distribution platforms to get to audiences who may not even listen to you that day.

Emotional connections.

If you do all this, the difference here is that by digging into your emotional connections to Valentine’s Day your content is rooted in you and how you think and feel about it.  You and the team will come across to your audience as more real and authentic.

It’s a numbers game.

Do the maths.  You need 60 pieces of content a week. If most of it is presented with no real connection, you will likely present it in a way that comes across more like ‘selling’ rather than creating real moments on the air. And, your audience will sense it.

Listen to the very best personalities on radio and take the time to deconstruct the elements of their content. You’ll almost always find their content is rooted in some way to their personal connection to it.

Being real is something everyone has access to, like any skill it needs practice and a desire to win.

If you’d like to dig a little deeper, please drop me an email or call.