Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You Don't Have To Be Boring

Now and then you read something that simply says everything you wish you could have said, but only better.  Mike Elgan did that for me and in the last few days, I've been chopping his points into small, easily-digestable pieces while also showing how it all relates to creating content on radio.

The technology and tech culture writer offers these tips for doing what you have to do so often on the air:  provide facts and information that are either in the station's interest or an advertiser's is such a way that it doesn't drive your listener either to change stations or put you on ignore, which is almost as bad.

Here's a much better idea: put as much of the information as possible on your blog, podcast, the station or the client's website.  If you're at a live remote broadcast, have a handout on paper with all the special prices and items the client hopes to move today and use your time on the air talking in entertaining, fun ways about the benefits to the listener of coming by to see you right now.

You'll want to add a bit of that information to your liner or live read, but only to make an impression, not to convey specific facts and figures.
Elgan:  "To understand how this works, deconstruct Apple announcements, for example. They show numbers not so you'll learn the information, but to leave you with impressions. (Fast growth! Big sales! More apps than other phones!)"

The words you say -- should be focused 100% on making people interested in you and your message and on creating a positive impression.

Communicate the nitty-gritty details in a lovely website or social networking page so that people you interest can do get what they need to know.

Don't be boring there either. Add video, or at least pictures. Tell stories with both them and your voice. And sprinkle emotion throughout.

And finally, says Elgan: "Any writer will tell you that words matter."

Follow these basic tips on language to make your talk powerful:
  • Use short, basic words. (Isn't that sentence more powerful and memorable than "Utilize diminutive elemental units of language"?)
  • Use the active voice when you can. (Passive is the worst. Imperative is the best.)
  • Be specific and avoid vagueness. (It's impossible to be too clear.)
  • Avoid cliches and jargon. (If you've heard or read a phrase several times before, don't use it. Just talk plainly in your own words.)
  • Cut everything you can. (If any picture, point, story or other element isn't absolutely necessary for what you're trying to communicate, get rid of it.)
Most radio personalities are repetitive and sound the same (boring).

But you don't have to be.

Props to scribe Mike Elgan for this week of very useful reminders.

You can grab an audience's attention and build lasting memories by thinking like a writer.

1 comment:

Chuck Taylor said...


Big fan of the blog, but especially this week, what a great series on thinking like a writer! I plan, not only on reminding myself every day to think that way, but to share this with my air-staff as well!