July public workshops: you choose

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melbourne media training workshops

Chalk and talk.

Hootville will be running two more public workshops in Melbourne during the week of July 18 to 22. But which ones?

Choose the two you’d prefer by ticking the boxes above the workshops that take your fancy and press Choose at the bottom:

Which two workshops do you most want?

Find more about all our workshops.

Domestic violence campaign is correct. Politically.

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Australian domestic violence campaign commercial

What a piece of work he is.

By now, you and most of television-watching Australia have got your share of the $30 million awareness campaign aimed at curbing domestic violence in Australia.

The Let’s Stop it at the Start campaign is another in a long history of taxpayer-funded television commercials created – allegedly – with the intent to create social change.

We have blogged at length about this governmental go-to tactic before. Suffice to say that Hootville believes that there are many ways to create social change in 2016 and television advertising would be far down our list of tactics. Particularly so if the campaign comes with a $30 million price tag that could be directed at services or other social awareness options.

Television commercials, along with fridge magnets and mass letterbox drops risk being criticised as guilt-easing governmental expense motivated by the desire to appear to be seen to be doing something.

TV campaigns have their supporters. Many people point to anti-smoking and anti-drink-driving television campaigns and credit them with massive improvements in both attitude and behaviour.

These people are often the same people that have commissioned such campaigns or profited from their creation. These boosters forget that it is legislation and enforcement which made smoking expensive, inconvenient and often illegal. No doubt anti-drink driving and speeding commercials help shape driving habits but we dare say they don’t have the same pre-emptive impact as booze buses, speed cameras and demerit points. Fines may have played their part too.

So to our new taxpayer funded anti-domestic violence commercial. Rewatch it before you read on.

A few observations:

We like that this commercial exists. We really like how the commercial focuses not on broad attitudes but on small everyday, changeable behaviours. Rather than asking people to evolve to a higher level of being it demonstrates specific ways to combat everyday aggression and sexism showing phrases such as: “Don’t throw like a girl” in a negative light. Likewise sexting or being too quick to forgive a young boy’s aggressive behaviour towards a girl.

This is good advertising aimed as much at parenting as it is aimed towards curbing domestic violence.

One of the biggest mistakes any campaign can make – and we see it often – is to make the audience feel guilty or accused. People of all persuasions reject environmental doomsdayism and resent being told that their meat-eating, car-driving, central-heated lifestyles are to blame for rising sea levels and Indian summers.

Rightly or wrongly, many men – the prime target of this campaign – feel offended at the suggestion that they are inherently violent or sexist. They are inadequate idiots but we probably need to reach them with the message this commercial contains the most. Could humour / irony help? We think so. And yes, you can tackle any issue with humour.

This campaign risks offending a lot of people beyond just men. After all – when was the last time a parent took kindly to your feedback on their parenting?

We don’t like the very first lines  in the commercial.

When people are sympathetic to an argument they can easily overlook some miscalibration. The Let’s Stop it at the Start commercial opens up with a curious line of dialogue with the mother saying to fallen girl: “You’re OK. He just did it because he likes you.”

Is this really something that mothers tell their daughters after they have been the subject of some little bastard’s behaviour? It struck a strange note with us and we suspect that the oddness of it will create a convenient distraction for people who should be absorbing the commercial’s message. “He’s tired.” “He didn’t mean it.” “Did you do something to Tom?” may have been preferable.

Another distinct criticism we have of Let’s Stop it at the Start is that it is utterly Anglo-centric.

We hope that the many critics of our Anglo-centric media landscape waste no time in protesting the mono-faceted cultural palette on display. (We don’t think many will though.)

We have witnessed with increasing discomfort a ‘party line’ in the domestic violence debate that is at pains to present DV as everybody’s problem. It is everybody’s problem but just like other problems -  illiteracy, unemployment, pay day lender debt, diabetes – this problem does not impact equally across the demographic smorgasbord. No problem ever does. Not even in death are we equal – rich folk live longer.

The 2015 Dropping Off The Edge report by Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Social Services states that those living in the least advantaged 3% of NSW postcodes have a 300% higher than average experience of domestic violence. Indigenous women are 34 times more likely than average to be hospitalised due to domestic violence according to Professor of Indigenous Studies at University of Melbourne, Marcia Langton.

Does the commercial reflect this? Nope.

Though this commercial is aimed ultimately at targeting domestic violence, in the short-term it is a commercial aimed largely at parents. We should be aiming at parents from all cultures particularly those – and this will lose us some friends – who have grown up in cultures with different social norms around gender, violence and parenting.

Those groups in the community need to see themselves represented in this commercial. It’s difficult to see how the creators of this commercial overlooked that point. There’s not an indigenous, Southeast Asian, sub-continental, Chinese, middle-eastern, African, Eastern European or Maori face to be seen. All of these groups are huge components of contemporary Australia and they need to see themselves in such commercials along with those who look like they belong at Summer Bay.

Is political correctness getting in the way of an important social message? We wouldn’t be surprised. Sometimes a diverse display of people is politically correct. At other times an all-Anglo display is just as politically correct.

This recent anti-gambling commercial failed to show key cultural groups with a proven penchant for betting. What a wasted opportunity! And that scene in the park! And that music! Oy vey!

To pretend that only Anglo-celtic people need to consider their attitudes is a great disservice to us all. It also tends to tar a great many innocent people with a brush we’d rather avoid.

Note: the campaign website has content in non-English languages for those keen enough to seek them out. There’s also an Indigenous-themed radio commercial.

To be 100% clear – we understand that domestic violence happens everywhere. It is a cancer on our community and should be stopped everywhere. Priority #1. Everyone needs access to education and services but those services and awareness campaigns need to be targeted at those who need them most. The problem is too wicked to let political correctness stand in our way.

anti violence commercial


Response from Citizen Clare McHugh:

Thanks for your blog. Interesting analysis but I can’t let it go without a quick response. What follows is a personal view.

No ad can be all things to all people. I’d love to see—and hope the government plans—subsequent ads and strategies shaping messages for particular groups and communities. However the poverty/cultural dynamic that you correctly identify as missing could make this ad a melange that does not penetrate with any message (and which you more than likely would analyse for its failure to send a clear message).

I suspect the pitch is deliberate (notwithstanding the much commented on middle-class Anglo-ness of our massmedia generally) so that ‘average’ citizens can’t let themselves off the hook. The ad does a good job in identifying how our own innocuous comments justify small incremental attitudes and acts of violence.

The people who want to be part of the change in society may recognise their own everyday comments and begin to think about their influence on children. By the way I don’t think the ‘prime target of this campaign’ is men. I think it’s trying to show how all of us, even well-meaning non-violent people, contribute to a community problem.

The ad does seem to target parents and parenting. What would an adult really say? See this six year old’s birthday party to hear what adults do say to children and each other in real life. Unfortunately it is still pervasive that too many adults care about their own social standing with other adults than about intervening positively or stopping something terrible.

The Royal Commission into sexual abuse of children tells us this in too many painful stories, repeated over decades across multiple institutions in society. This is what happens when adults do not want to look like they’re interfering, are worried what people think about them or their parenting or worried that their child’s behaviour reflects on them ie  looks sooky, will rock the boat or looks badly behaved.

My other major project at ECA is Start Early. Respectful relationships for life. You can see ECA’s Start Early site here or the modules themselves, which are aimed at educators of young children.

Love your work. Don’t always agree. But obviously it got a reaction!


“Hi. I’m Troy and I’m a bisexual”

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human resource conference emcee

Pro tip: unbutton one’s jacket before picture opps.

Have you, with your professional reputation on the line, ever asked a room full of strangers to turn to the person next to them, extend a hand and introduce themselves with the line: “Hi I’m Troy and I’m a bisexual.”?

Thought not. But that’s exactly what happened at yesterday’s Future of Work conference. That’s quite an audience participation exercise wouldn’t you agree? We’ll explain it later.

Over the last six weeks or so Brett has been working with three speakers – Varina Paisley, Sylvia Roux and Bamini KPD Balakrishnan- who yesterday shared a session at the Future of Work event at Melbourne’s Federation Square. Each is an emerging leader in their field, with experience in more formal and academic presentations though mainstream conference presentations on this scale were newer to them.

The Future of Work event is quite a big deal with international speakers drawn together by the Centre for the Workplace Leadership, which is part of the University of Melbourne. Lots of smart high-powered, good-looking people gather to discuss people, place and technology as it relates to our working lives. Brett was fortunate enough to emcee the conference last year and this year was tapped to help the trio of speakers make the transition from academic to mainstream conference presentation.

Here are a few observations:

Big improvements happen: it is remarkable how deliberate investment in your presentation skills improves performance. The difference between our first and second session, held over two consecutive days six weeks ago, was remarkable. The best public speakers are those who are willing to deconstruct their presentation and prioritise the experience of the audience. A willingness to try new things – such as polling the audience or launching immediately into your presentation – is vital.

In the last six weeks however real life intervened. Our ‘dress rehearsal’, held less than 24 hours before showtime, was invaluable. Performances were, we all agreed…underpar.

Two of the presentations, planned to be 22 minutes in duration were suddenly completed in 12 minutes. Close to 50% of the content had been forgotten! Unprecedented. Without the dress rehearsal, this could have happened in front of a live audience. Some rust had settled in and so it was a prime opportunity to get back into the right headspace.

public speaking trainer

Would this shirtless big- haired man lie to you?

Listen to Andre: You will find few sporting references in the Hootville canon. Andre Agassi is an exception. His advice – to train at an intensity as close as possible to the intensity required on match day - is valuable. It is easy to get comfortable with rehearsing at a low energy level and stopping for any mistake or interruption. Get used to delivering your presentation at 100%. Get used to recovering from a memory lapse and delivering your presentation in your fancy clothes as opposed to your pyjamas. Get used to pausing to allow your audience some white space and speaking at a volume and pace different to those you use every day. By the way Agassi’s autobiography Open is one hell of a good read.

Apples and oranges are different: There is a significant difference between presenting in more homogenous environments such as academia and a broad, mainstream event such as the Future of Work. It is not an easy transition to make for speakers who have had their noses in data and dissertations for years. It takes a willingness to try and fail and change KPIs.

public speaking tips

Consider some dot points or flowchart.

Working without a script is tough: all three speakers chose to work without any notes whatsoever. This was not on Brett’s insistence. While being note-free is the gold standard, working without so much as an index card in one’s hand does force speakers to devote a lot of energy into simply remembering their script. It is totally acceptable at any level of presentation to have notes. No audience will hold this against you, though reading a speech word for word is utterly unacceptable. Of course visual presentations can act as a jog to your memory, inspiring you to recite a passage of your presentation confidently but not word-perfectly.

Foreshadowing: anyone who has ever watched a movie, read a book or listened to a skilled storyteller knows the power of foreshadowing. It builds anticipation, maximises attention and gives the speaker control.

Foreshadowing is a particularly showbiz characteristic. It does not come naturally to people who present in a very straightforward and linear manner. Here’s an example of foreshadowing:

“I spent two years researching 800 workers in one financial services company investigating why some workers truly believed in their employer’s mission and others frankly saw their job as nothing but a means to an end. I could talk all day about how to create a positive, resilient, passionate culture but with so little time I’ll simply share my top three tips to dramatically improve your organisation’s culture. But before I do that, can I ask you a question? Are you even measuring how your workers perceive your corporate culture?”

You have already created an appetite for your top three tips even though you might not share these for quite some time. Regardless, when you get to them your audience knows that they are your top three tips and you will have gained the maximum amount of attention for them.

Leave a little whitespace: every graphic designer knows about the value of whitespace. Leaving some space uncluttered gives a sense of calm and ease. The more upmarket the publication the more whitespace we see. It’s no different with spoken presentations. Give people time to consider what has been said, imagine a scenario or simply absorb information. Deliberate pacing and the occasional pause conveys confidence – whether you feel it or not. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve felt anxious and as a result prattled on without cessation. Try not to repeat this on stage.

Time is limited so cut to the chase: our Future of Work trio were allotted 22 minutes each with some question time after all three presentations were complete. Brett recommended that all speakers leave their opening thankyous and acknowledgements to the end. The opening minutes are when you have the maximum amount of attention from the audience – don’t blow it on thanking the organisers or your public speaking trainer.

Time is limited so prioritise: our speakers could have spoken all day – such was their knowledge of their various fields. There was no way to do justice to everything they had to say in 22 minutes, particularly when you subtract the amount of time required to simply explain some of the key concepts and background that gave context to each presentation. Brett emphasised the need to deliver the audience some value and take-home messages at the expense of other content. All three speakers obliged in spades.

Keep it simple: it’s not cool to say so but if there is one presentation software that every venue can run it is erstwhile PowerPoint. Alternatives to this industry standard can create complications for you. Complications that tend to arise at the very last minute. Similarly, running presentations directly off your laptop or from the cloud creates awkward challenges for the tech staff. Yes, it’s annoying to have to prepare and send your presentation in advance but it a gets the job done and minimises technological dramas. Some tips on PowerPoint above.

Observations for dress and earring wearers of all genders: we take pride in not telling speakers what to wear but two unusual dramas made themselves felt in our 90 minute session. One speaker wore a dress with no belt or pocket which meant that she was not able to hook her microphone battery pack onto anything. This meant that she had to hold the pack throughout her presentation with her other hand holding the clicker. All three speakers wore Madonna headsets which tapped against two of our speakers earings which was a percussive distraction we had not anticipated.

The show must go on: is the fundamental showbusiness tenet.  Regardless of the size of the audience, technological breakdowns or lack of sleep one must do do one’s voodoo. Varina, the first speaker in our trio, proved herself a trooper when she calmly waited for the wrong presentation to replaced with her own. This awkward interruption could easily rattle any speaker. Don’t let any interruption interrupt you. That’s showbiz.

Set-ups matter: One of our speakers twice asked the audience to spend a minute considering a question and jotting down their thoughts. We worked specifically on how to best explain what our speaker wanted the audience to consider. It underlined to me that any exercise you give the audience has to be clearly explained if it is to be effective. In our case it was.

media and marketing training in brisbane

A good voice is a real career booster.

Voices matter: it pains us to admit it but all things being equal a good voice is an advantage. Note that voice concerns matter only when you’ve got your content, audio-visual, audience engagement and stagecraft in order. We can’t all be Morgan Freeman but we can all pace ourselves, speak clearly and deliberately and work on keeping our pitch a little low. Rightly or wrongly a voice that is pitched high can begin to grate on audiences. Readers who wish to add another level of complexity should try to vary volume, tone, pitch and pacing. Please note this is the absolute icing on the cake. You would be better off honing your stories, examples and means of audience engagement.

Refer: A couple of our trio referred to points made by previous presenters from earlier in the day. This is always a great move as it shows you are as interested in the content as the audience. It shows you give a damn.

Test everything: no matter how obliging or negligent the technicians on site appear, ensure that your microphone, audio-visual and other practical concerns are met. Don’t just try the clicker and microphone while standing next to the technician – walk the stage with them and see if they work at a distance. Go through the slides of your presentation to make sure that they all show and that your groovy transitions are grooving as expected.

Flick the switch to vaudeville: we have spoken repeatedly about the need to engage audiences with an exercise, a poll, a hypothetical. It’s only fair to audiences and it keeps the energy high. Academics do not traditionally do this. Brett was delighted to see his speakers take the opportunity and engage their audience.

Varina, addressing diversity in the workplace, gave us a fictional case study of ‘Troy’ a middle-aged executive who is bisexual. Varina wanted to challenge the notion that being non-heterosexual in the workforce is straightforward in 2016. We decided that she should conduct a quick piece of audience participation by having audience members turn to a stranger and introduce themselves with the line: “Hi. I’m Troy and I’m bisexual.”

The little exercise served several purposes: it created a giggle in the audience, it showed that it is a big deal in 2016 to explain that you are not straight and as a result gave more control to Varina. Varina had progressed from telling to demonstrating.

Our thanks to Varina, Sylvia and Bamini for being so willing to try something new on the advice of someone so less educated. Our gratitude too, to the Centre for Workplace Leadership, particularly Angus Blackman for the opportunity.

Need some training for your staff, event speakers or yourself? Find out more.

Are media releases still relevant?

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Are media releases still relevant?

The one thing non-communications professionals know about the world of public relations is that you write media releases. Those who are unfamiliar with how media coverage comes to pass, see the media release as the be all and end all. It is not. The media release is to media coverage what the Hallmark invitation is to the party – just the beginning.

Sadly your boss may not have a nuanced understanding of how stories are made.

Can you write a media release about our new program / campaign / product / milestone?” she asks / commands.

What she really means to say is: “Can you get me lots of media coverage through whatever means necessary?

Some media trainers still offer full day workshops in the art of media release writing. We kid you not. When Hootville delivers our Media Savvy workshops we devote about 30 minutes to the gentle art of media release writing. We minimise our time on this topic because the impact of the media release has been minimised in the digital age during which millions of words appear on screens competing for the attention of journalists’ hearts and minds.

A radio producer once told me that she receives around about 140 media releases a day. In an environment as crowded as that don’t be so arrogant as to think that your media release will make an impact. Far more impactful will be your telephone call which is why we devote time in our media savvy training to the art of the telephone pitch.

So why write a media release?

At some point in the journey from pitching a story to publication you will have to provide the journalist some information in writing. This may well be your media release or it may be a simple email giving more background and detail. Make sure you use this to influence the way the journalist understands your story and have it ready in advance of your first telephone contact.

Media release vs the telephone pitch

The phone is mightier than the media release. Why? Well no journalist has ever said that our story idea was dull, had been covered before, was two weeks too late and is irrelevant but that because the media release was so well written they decided to give the story a run anyway.

On the other hand most of the 1000 stories we’ve successfully got up for clients was initiated and essentially sold via a short telephone conversation.

The phone call has more impact with journalists and takes less time for the publicist. Talking to each other can also help develop a working relationship.

media release writing

Don’t waste time perfecting releases with no impact.

Your superiors like media releases because it gives them the opportunity to correct something. This is old school. The amount of time devoted to writing, then perfecting a media release is a wicked waste of time that could be spent on packaging a better story, finding more prospective media targets and working the phones.

By calling first and sending your written information later you don’t have to provide a word-perfect media release. Instead, you can supply an email. It will still have to be well written and full of interesting information but it doesn’t have to have the headline, the logo in just the right spot and the three quotes. This will save you time – maybe a few hours by the time approvals are factored in. If you do this 20 times across a year you’ve got the best part of an extra working week up your sleeve. Use the time sit by your company pool with the daiquiri of your choice.

media release writing

Mention them and they will be notified.

Other alternatives to the media release: Twitter. Along with politicians, journalists are the most passionate users of Twitter.

Consider using Twitter to gain attention of individuals in the media. A-list journalists will rarely be moved by a mention in a tweet but less well known journalists and producers may be. Certainly a Twitter mention will gain more attention that another email. Be sure to use an individual’s Twitter handle, not the media outlet as a whole.

How to improve your media releases.

You can improve your media release writing by concentrating on a few key factors:

An attention getting headline. Extra points if your headline is funny, punny or a witty play on words. The secondary headline, called the strap, has the job of more soberly explaining what your media release is all about. Get that right and  you’re 20 per cent of the way there.

are media releases relevant

Short but effective.

This example from the Property Council of Australia is straight to the point. When we wrote a release for a well-known Victorian charity facing financial ruin our headline was:

Elderly Victorian Icon $2 million in debt. We were happy with that because it created the thought that the icon was a famous person – few journalists could resist clicking to read who the debtor was.  

Next; the opening paragraph has to be all encompassing and continue to hold the interest of the journalist. Summarise the situation and explain why it’s important.

Are your quotes boring? Probably. If your quotes can be read and pretty much make sense without the quotation marks, your quotes are too similar to ordinary text. Quotes have to sound like a real person really spoke to a real journalist with real passion. Again the Property Council example is good and real.

Conclusion: So yes, media releases still belong in the PR world though their status is far diminished. Tell your boss.



What to wear on stage. Spoiler alert: whatever the hell you want*

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Some thoughts on appearances, class, gender, age and ethnicity…

I was recently delivering public speaking training to a group of high-performing young people who had been earmarked as future leaders. The aim of the day was to turn them into gun public speakers. Of the 14 or so participants six expressed their desire to become Prime Minister.

“Fine,” I said. “But take turns.”

public speaking workshop sydney

Notice anything? Nor did we.

At one point I showed them a TEDx talk to demonstrate several of the possibilities and variables of public speaking including storytelling, the importance of the opening minutes and the value or otherwise of taking on stage a prop.

Immediately upon asking for their observations, a young woman in the front row embraced her inner Joan Rivers and criticised the speaker’s appearance.

“Those colours are all wrong. People won’t respect her. She should wear…”

And so it went. So much for the sisterhood. I noted that the fashion police officer was of a gender, age and ethnicity that many people find easy to stereotype and limit. Her dress sense would be the least of her concerns.

For the record I had never noticed anything noticed anything peculiar or off-putting about the TED speaker’s appearance and I certainly hadn’t put her on screen to discuss fashion.

We took a turn in the course of our discussion towards an age-old question many inexperienced public speakers consider: What should I wear on stage / on camera? This is what I told the young fashion critic:

Where whatever you want. Where whatever makes you feel your best but be aware that no matter how you expect your appearance to be interpreted and appreciated there will always be some people in the audience who view you unexpectedly.

public speaking workshops

Suit and tie for this edgy young up and comer.

Offering myself as an example I explained to this neophyte that some audience members might be sub-conciously reassured to see a man walk on stage in a suit while the person next to them might be thinking: “Oh God. Not another man in a suit.”

In another mood I may present myself to the public in jeans, red loafers, argyle socks, spotted shirt and linen jacket in the hope that I will fit the bill as a hip, free-thinking cultural creative. I know, of course, that 50% of the audience will simply respond to my stylings with: “What a tosser.” Another quarter won’t notice what I wear. That’s showbiz.

Dressing up can make you look insecure. Dressing up can make you look supremely confident. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. So are most things – gender, class, age and ethnicity among them.

A lot of public speakers go to a lot of effort to appear as attractive as their genetic limitations will allow. Some members of the audience might take this at face value and find a speaker very appealing. Other audience members will note the speaker’s attractiveness and hold it against them. Others won’t notice a thing. (This final group is deeper than the rest of us.)

public speaking training

We guess she’s kind of pretty. If you like that kind of look.

All things being equal, being attractive is a big fat help to your career. There have been studies to back up this claim. That said; you can be Cate Blanchet or Benicio del Toro and for a few minutes have the audience in the palm of your hand as a result of your supernatural good looks. However the impact of high cheekbones and husky foreign accents will quickly diminish if you do not deliver the goods.

Similarly I have seen some unprepossessing speakers slowly take their audiences by the scruff of the neck due to their knowledge, storytelling and dry humour.

This is a politically incorrect piece of advice but generally speaking audiences do admire someone who is dressed up for the occasion and if you can throw in a little flair all the better. Of course this does not preclude the shabby and shambolic from having a place in the spotlight. Nor does it mean than you can prepare for a presentation by going shopping as opposed to doing research.

website developers

Have your tailors run something up.

I do like the old one level up rule which for men in particular this is very simple. If you can get away with wearing a T-shirt level up to a collared T-shirt.  If you can get away with a collared T-shirt level up to a short sleeve shirt. If you can get away with a short sleeve shirt opt for a longsleeved shirt etc.

To summarise: dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident on stage, secure in the knowledge that even the most conservative or outlandish of ensembles can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. Such is life.

what to wear when public speaking

Is this woman (Lucy Perry) cool, credible and colourful or just plain attention seeking? Probably all of the above.

The bigger issue and harsher truth that I kept from my opinionated student was that your dress sense will be a minor influence on how people respond to you. Far more significant is the influence one’s gender, age and ethnicity. Once again this can play out in a myriad of ways. One person’s voice of experience will be another’s smug baby boomer. One person’s young go-getting woman is another’s inexperienced, entitled pain in the backside.

I’m not sure what the answer to all this is except to ignore it and do your best. And don’t bitch about other people’s looks, age or race. Content and intent however are grounds for comment.

What is vital is that you don’t rule yourself out as a credible speaker / interviewee / expert because you fear that your age, appearance, ethnicity or gender make you somehow implausible. Just get out there and give it your best shot, letting the critics carp. Often their response is more telling them than it is of you.

*Just be prepared for people to grumble regardless.


Digital marketing workshop feedback

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online marketing training


Last week Brett delivered Online Savvy to 15 or so souls from the age care sector brought together by Aged and Community Services Australia. Here’s some feedback:

Training was very specifically focused on the issues that community aged care organisations are facing. Concepts very clearly explained and workshop clearly structured. I [now] have a more in-depth knowledge of how to formulate/ revise our online marketing strategy. Some very relevant insights. Made all participants feel comfortable to ask any questions.

Would recommend? Yes.

Zoe Angeli, Fronditha Care

Clear information and direction re what is important and where the focus should be in terms of effectiveness. Felt confident and able to go back to management with a plan for marketing direction and emphasis. Very valuable. I could ask questions without feeling embarrassed of any ignorance. Brett is familiar with the resource restrictions, both human and financial, in the not for profit sector.

Would recommend? Yes.

Suzanne Russell, Olivet Aged Persons Home





Hey CEO – is your website incontinent?

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Is your website incontinent?

Yep – your website is leaking this much good stuff. It needs a CEO to stop the flow.

 Not an everyday question yet a worthy one for any CEO who considers herself worthy of the acronym.

An incontinent website is one that leaks. The chief concern of online marketers is whether their website leaks money but websites can leak all manner of other things: bookings, support, donations, job applications, media coverage, membership renewals, corporate partnerships.

Anytime your website has the chance but fails to deliver these to you it is leaking. Chances are your website is downright incontinent. Let me explain it in human terms.

CEO websites

This guy is leaking your sales. And doesn’t even care.

Let’s say you employed a receptionist. Let’s say that that receptionist let phone calls go unanswered, greeted incomers with indifference, pointed people in the wrong direction and displayed no passion about your organisation. She’s a leak.

Let’s say you employed a lead salesperson (left). Let’s say that your lead salesperson held no knowledge of your products, knew nothing of how your product bested the opposition product and regularly wandered off in the middle of a transaction to check his Tindr account. He’s a leak.

As CEO you’d recognise that these people were not fulfilling their jobs and were indeed costing you money. (They’d also be costing you reputation and future business.) Action would be taken so your organisation could flourish. Well it’s the same with your website. Right now, it’s likely to be leaking money and donations, volunteers, job applicants, partnerships, bequests and clients. As CEO you need to stop this.

Last week Brett trained 15 or so communications people from various aged care service providers, some of them well-known, others small. One thing they all had in common was the need for their website to perform exquisitely for people considering placing themselves or their loved one at their nursing homes. This is a clear and reasonable objective.

nursing home website

Is this enough to persuade them?

Yet few of the websites featured well produced videos of the facilities, the staff or happy residents. It was possible for browsers – likely to be highly motivated and hungry for advice - to come to a website and be seduced by nothing more than a still image and some plain text. This is unlikely to satisfy a ‘shopper’ at a time when he is desperate for information and reassurance. This is utterly insufficient for somebody making a life-changing decision.

Every time someone comes to such a website and leaves without so much as making an enquiry, leave alone a purchase, the website has leaked money. The CEO must mandate action.

website development advice

This site is leaking students, money and reputation.

We recently looked at the course information page of an RTO (left). Entire diploma courses  were described with 50 or so words of text with no information about course structure, costs or future career options. We ‘met’ none of the lecturers or current students. We did not see the facilities or get a sense of the philosophy of the institution.

In a hyper-competitive world of vocational education it is unlikely that a prospective student will take it upon herself to call up the RTO and request more information. (Perhaps a nice brochure.) Instead she will do what we all do – Google away and find someone better. Once again we have a website leaking money and students and opportunity.

Every CEO – corporate, nonprofit or government – aims to measure the performance of her organisation through data analysis and reporting. While it is possible to measure customer satisfaction and the quantity of incoming telephone calls it is impossible to measure the money, bookings, support, donations, applications and partnerships that your current website is costing you. But we can guess…

Stop right now and take 10 minutes to assess your website. Write down five of your important, distinct audiences then visit your website and see how well these audiences people are catered for.

Can they find a part of your website that is designed especially for then? Does it have enough information to satisfy their curiosity? Does it answer the frequently asked questions regarding costs, structures, waiting times, quality of your service?

Do you try to seduce people with only words and still images or are there videos, eBooks and webinars? Do you charm and empathise? Do you illuminate and simplify?

Place yourselves in the audiences’ shoes and Google what they might Google – will they find you at all? Why haven’t you done this before?

website advice ceos

You shouldn’t even need these!

There are dozens of other ways your website is leaking. Whether it be potential email subscribers, media coverage, renewals, donors, volunteers or staff every leak is costly and makes your job more difficult. The right communications person recognises this and is willing to call a halt to proceedings and ask the question: “Are we doing enough to turn browsers into buyers or are we leaking?” That question applies no matter what you’re selling.

Websites are not brochures on the Internet nor are they tools at your disposal. They are 24-hours-a-day employees and they need to work for you as only they can – endlessly, at virtually no cost and in more roles than any human could ever fulfil. It’s time to performance manage your website and deal with its current incontinence.

A long time ago we created and edited the website for Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria. One day Gareth who then worked for us (now happily shivering in Canada) realised the website was leaking not money but volunteers.

great nonprofit website

A simple leak-stopping device.

People who were inspired to donate their time to the organisation after office hours were told on the website to call the next day. Gareth suspected that many good intentions failed to rise with the sun the next day so he created a simple web form allowing people to express their interest when they felt the inspiration.

In a month we had over 140 completed email forms; a total which dwarfed the number of phone calls the volunteer coordinator usually received in three months. Plugging leaks isn’t always so easy nor are the results always so dramatic but there is no excuse to not identify what your current website and online communications are costing you.

How many high quality job applicants are failing to submit their CVs because the employment section of your website fails to sell them on the idea of working for you above the competition? When we created the website for Inner South Community Health we were pleased that the client took the opportunity to promote its values, its benefits and supports for employees along with testimonials as a way to make sure people were encouraged to spend the time to apply online. Leak plugged.

online marketing course

The Internet isn’t just a phase we’re going through.

To dramatically improve your online communications book a place at Hootville’s online savvy workshop book your own anywhere anytime. Every day you don’t is another lost opportunity.

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Website developing advice

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website development tips

Many feel this Facebooker’s pain.

We recently saw a Facebook post in which a clutch of nonprofit communications professionals commiserated with each other over a shared experience: developing a website.

“Honestly,” some may ask. “There are a million websites. How tough could developing a site be?”

Let me put it into perspective. Have you given birth? To sextuplets? Have you climbed Mt Everest? On horseback? That’s the level of challenge we’re talking about.

But why, in a world with so many websites and so much advice is it so often so painful? We think the blame lies evenly between web developers and their clients.

Too many web developers promise too much and neglect to explain the mountain of work a website build entails for both parties in a bid to get the business. Then they try to minimise the development hours to maximise profits. Many developers don’t care about your search engine results or the user experience as they are long gone by then. They simply try to build a website that looks good, meets the brief, has some functions and doesn’t fall over. Few are great communicators. Fewer still come to the project from a marketing perspective.

The clients on the other hand are obsessed with cost, glacially slow to make decisions, start from a position of blissful ignorance and lack a clear vision of what they want.

how to choose a web developer

One’s quite enough thankyou.

Thus, in our longest ever blog post we present to you our advice on how to make your website development (relatively) painless and result in a site worth visiting. Please note – building a website is still on par with giving birth to a solitary child or climbing Mt Everest on foot. Everything here is based on our experience building sites for clients in the real world, for real money, with real deadlines.

Set your sites high: your website should be your best performing employee. Don’t even bother to develop a new website if it’s not going to be a dramatic improvement on your existing website.

Your next website should: take donations, payments, bookings, memberships and queries. It should act as a tour guide, giving visitors thorough tours of your facilities programs, staff and clients.

Your website should act like a spruiker drawing people to you via great search engine optimisation that lands you on the first page of Google. Suddenly strangers are calling.

Your website’s resources should act not just as a library or archive but be an instant demonstration of your authority and expertise. Get blogging.

A comprehensive media page with media contacts, spokesperson bios, media releases, key policies and platforms, imagery and video will help your website act as a publicist.

Many nonprofits struggle to recruit well. How well do you present your work culture to prospective employees on the employment section of your website? Are all the jobs listed and described? Are your benefits, policies and procedures there? Will I see testimonials – preferably on video – from happy existing staff members? Can I apply effectively online? Get this right and suddenly your website is an HR assistant.

When you build a website that is more than just a brochure on the World Wide Web it extracts more value from the time and effort you’re about to invest. It also justifies a greater investment in the first place. You will never hire an employee that can do as much for you. And your website does it for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the next five to 10 years. Keep that in mind as you hold your breath to assess the developer’s quote.

Consider a suite of websites. Rather than creating one website that captures everything you do consider creating a series of sites, allowing you to group and highlight one aspect of your business at a time. This is particularly important if you have a complex offering to the world. Some clients we had offered everything from child care to aged care, ESL classes to STD testing.

Like humans, Google would like to understand exactly what your site is all about and that’s difficult if your site contains everything from the 2005 annual report to the results of the recent car raffle. Spin off some big campaigns or services.

We followed this advice at Hootville by creating standalone websites for our six training workshops. We did this to maximise the search engine optimisation for each training workshop as well to give us the opportunity to promote the hell out of one particular service at a time.

Relax – six websites does not equal six times the budget if a common structure and design is maintained.

designing great websbsites

Maximise visual appeal to win hearts, minds and wallets.

Pictures tell 1000 words: we are highly visual animals and only becoming more visually-orientated in this online world. What we are trying to say is your website has to look hot. Taylor Swift hot. One Direction hot. Dame Helen Mirren hot. George Clooney hot. Puppies playing with kittens hot.

Invest in photography that will make your website shine. You probably don’t have that on hand so you’ll have to invest in fresh photography, stock photography or a combination thereof.

It is easy to mock the stock but increasingly there are images available that look like real people in real situations. Stock photography has the advantage of allowing you to know what you’re going to get before you get it. That said, authenticity is pretty hard to beat so if you can invest in a photographer to capture your essence your website will be the beneficiary.

Similarly any great website will utilise high-quality, brief videos. Use them to provide testimonials from clients. Use them to give a tour of your school or aged care facility. Use them to allow prospective students to meet their future teachers. Video works.

how to find a website developer

Meet with prospective developers and gently quiz them.

Questions to ask your prospective website developers:

How long have you been developing websites? Call us ageist but don’t hire someone without real experience in developing websites and managing projects. Your nephew is NOT the right person for this job. Nor your niece.

best CMS for nonprofits

Used & recommended by Hootville

Do you have a preferred content management system? We’ve blogged about this before but all our websites are developed using WordPress as the content management system (CMS). The CMS is the software that allows one to build and update one’s website. It’s the system through which you will add words, pictures, new pages, navigation. Many developers are very attached to just one content management system and we do not present ourselves as experts on all of them. We will say this however – we have never needed to do anything for any of our clients that WordPress would not accommodate. No matter what you want your site to look like, whatever you want it to do, someone working from their mother’s basement has created the technology that will work beautifully with WordPress. For every problem someone has published an answer.

WordPress is so sophisticated it is actually simple to use. We regularly meet nonprofits that use antiquated, second-rate CMSs which makes simple updates so frustrating and time-consuming that they rarely bother.

Warning: if your prospective developer says that they have their own special content management system that they and they alone have developed, pack up your possessions and back out of the room slowly. That is a deal breaker.


website developers nonprofit

Page one baby. Page one.

How will you ensure that we get good search engine results? Ultimately search engine optimisation (SEO) is your responsibility but there are many things a developer can do to create a strong foundation for great Google results. This might be beyond developer’s skills or interest. It will certainly add to the time they will need to devote to your site so don’t be surprised to be presented with this is an optional extra.


What features would you recommend? As noted at the top of this (outstanding) blog post your website should be hard-working with features and functionalities to lighten the load for the humans in your organisation.

Unless you are particularly web-savvy you need a developer with ideas suggestions and the ability to communicate them.

A good developer has thoughts on what you might need. He or she should not be prescriptive but they should have ideas and recommendations. Don’t expect them to be au fait with every plug-in / app you mention – there are too many to be familiar with them all.


website development tips

Something sexy seemed appropriate.

Do you provide the graphic design for websites? While you may have to supply some key aspects of your website’s aesthetic such as logos and colours, it is desirable that the developer work with a graphic designer with whom they have worked before. This makes the process smoother.


Do you provide copywriting? Usually our clients provide the words to their website. Usually these words are not optimised for websites in terms of search engine results, objectives or tone. If a developer can recommend a copywriter or editor it may lift the quality of the user experience. That said, be sure that that person is the right one for you. Unlike graphic design it is easy for you to hire your own gun copywriter and have them work with the developer.

website develop advice

The bone structure of a great website.

Can you help us develop the sitemap? A sitemap maps how your content / information will be categorised. It’s crucial if you want your site to be logical and predictable to visitors. Some developers are very passive and work with the sitemap provided by the client. This is unlikely to be the best possible sitemap.

As always, you want your developer to suggest improvements to your sitemap. These suggestions might be small – suggesting you create a section called Publications in which all your newsletters, annual reports, brochures will reside rather than have them scattered across the site.

The suggestion may be a smarter way to present the array of services that you offer, perhaps grouping them according to audience or geography. An experienced developer who cares about the user experience can come in very handy.

Do you work alone? There are some very clever clogs out there but it would be unusual for one person working alone to develop a great website for you. He or she properly needs a team of people to deliver you a great site. That said, you need one person who can take responsibility for this long, complicated undertaking.

How long will it take? We generally take between 12 to 16 weeks to build a site. Certainly it is possible to develop a website faster but that takes a firm commitment from both client and developer. Do not think that you make yourself a more appealing client by suggesting a six or 12 month timeframe. This immediately suggests to the developer that you are not urgent or serious and creates the real likelihood that you will be placed on the back burner.

We all know that we leave things to the last minute, so by giving yourself 52 weeks to develop a website you’re really saying let’s do nothing for 40 weeks and then have a rush to the finish line. You need your new website now so get on with it.

how to find the right website developer

Great trainers are hard to find.

Do you provide training so we can update our own website? A good developer should be able to provide training for your people so that you can take over the day-to-day running of your site. We go to great lengths to avoid creating dependency with our clients which is another reason we use WordPress. It is so simple clients are able to make 92% of the updates themselves and choose between us and 100,000 WordPress-savvy developers for the remaining 8%. Once again, if your developer tries to lock you in to working with them for the rest of time fake a severe illness, change your name and leave town.

We mentioned at the outset the blame for website development lies equally with client and developer so…

Here’s how to be a perfect client thus placing 100% of any blame at the foot of the developer:

Go the whole hog: have you ever eaten at a new restaurant, found the service to be perfunctory, the food mediocre, the experience unmemorable and then returned six months later to see if it had improved? Of course not. Who has time for that? It’s the same with your website – it needs to impress people from the first visit.

Many nonprofits are presenting themselves to the world with a website that is third rate. It is time for a dramatic upgrade, so do not waste your time and money by opting for a site that is somewhat better than your current site.

Don’t kid yourself and tell the developer that you want a new site with some improvements and that you’ll get around to the rest of it in a year or two. You won’t. Your visitors need your site to be fantastic now.

And yes going the whole hog creates more work, more decisions and potentially more headaches. That’s showbiz.

Develop clear briefs: some of our prospective clients come to us with nothing in writing about what they want. Others seem to have borrowed a brief from NASA. Ideally you should have a draft site map, a list of features and functionalities, some key search terms for which you would like to rank well and a short list of exemplar websites that can be used as a guide. That’s a good start.

The exemplar sites do not need to be in your sector or even in English – they just have to embody some traits that you would like to see on your site. Note – this should be beyond simple aesthetics. Perhaps they have a fantastic homepage design you want to emulate. Maybe their booking system is A+.

Explain in writing the key audiences and priorities. Eg: “we target 18-24yo school leavers looking for vocational employment. We need the site to encourage them to book a phone appointment with our sales team.” This should influence design, copy and technology choices.

Spend some money: do not in your first telephone call with the prospective developer, ask her how much it costs to develop a website. At the very least, resist this because it makes you look like a rube. It is also a very difficult question to answer as the developer has no real idea as to the scale or size of your prospective site. It also signals to the developer that you don’t give a damn about quality only budget. And while we’re talking money – and yes we are biased – your website will be the best investment you ever make in a staff member so don’t scrimp.

If you have a tiny budget – anything with only four digits – be upfront with the developer. In all likelihood he or she is self-employed and doesn’t have time to waste on proposals that will amount to nothing.

website development melbourne

This is how you look to your developer.

Hurry up: nonprofits are notoriously slow at making decisions. They are collaborative by nature and very risk averse. Creating a website is the culmination of hundreds of decisions big and small. To run each decision – about the template, the features, the functionalities, the words, the imagery, the colours - past a dozen people at a weekly meeting is entirely unrealistic. 100% of our clients have promised us the materials we need to build their site by a certain deadline and 92% of them have failed. Another reason to hurry up? Your current site is bollocks.

Stop caring about everybody else’s opinion: decisions should be made by the smallest number of people possible, ideally people with some idea of what is possible from a website. Asking random colleagues, competitors and consumers for their opinions will simply solicit opinions – not knowledge. It won’t make your site any better. You don’t need 12 people debating whether a button should be green or blue.

website development advice

Bolt on this 3rd party donation technology to your site.

Do your own research on third-party applications and providers: this is a little technical but consider this: let’s say you drive a Honda. How nice for you. If you stop to think about it you understand that while Honda might make the panels for your car, the engine, the steering and the transmission it probably doesn’t manufacture the radio, the windscreen wipers, the tires and other lesser components that add up to your Honda. Honda executives had to choose the radio, the windscreen wipers, the tires from an array of third-party providers. As you drive to yoga in your Honda, you don’t care. It’s a Honda. It’s the same for your website.

Many third party providers can provide donation-taking technology. We love GiveNow. There are many email marketing options. We love MailChimp. You’re going to embed videos onto your new website (we hope) and we recommend using YouTube or Vimeo.  These are all third-party providers.

Choose the right third-party providers and you’ll provide your visitors with a seamless experience and your website editor with high functioning mental health. Choose the wrong ones and your website will be clunky to use in a nightmare to manage. Of course your developer will make recommendations but it’s up to you to independently research every choice. There are plenty of fora and sites on which nerds gather to bitch so you shouldn’t be short on information.

Stay in touch: the erstwhile client and faithful developer should talk twice or three times a week. More than that and you will be a pain in the backside. Much less than that and you risk being lowered on the list of priorities. Note: clients understandably judge a website based solely on what they can see from the user’s perspective. That’s the tip of the iceberg and developers work very hard behind the scenes to make a website look and perform as a website should. Some aspects of web development are simple but others can take painstaking hours. Visible progress can be slow, especially at the start of the project.

updating websites

Moss garden in Kyoto. Est 687. (Pre-internet.)

After launch: a new website is a bit like a well tended garden. For a while you can sit back and enjoy the view but if you don’t maintain it your oasis soon becomes a jungle. You might need to do some simple tasks such as raking leaves and watering plants but eventually you will need to prune and replant. Here endeth the metaphor. What we’re saying is you need to monitor your website’s performance, constantly add new content, kill the old, and ensure that the website is reflecting your status quo and meeting the expectations of visitors.

What your new website needs more than anything is traffic. There are two ways to do that: 1. Google and 2. email.

Of these two traffic drivers by far the more important is email. While Google will direct people to you once, email has more chance of bringing more people to your site more often for repeat visits. Whatever day you send out your email telling people that there is new and interesting content on your website will be the busiest day for your website. We promise.

To summarise:

Be ambitious for your new site – it is your window to the world. Give it the time, money and attention it needs to be a knockout.

Select your developer well. As with romantic relationships, your fate is predominantly in their hands.

Dive into the digital world. There is no shortage of advice, information and reviews out there. Become an informed client to get the best result.

Employ your website. Think carefully of the role your website fills, the tasks it can complete and the business objectives it can help you achieve.

Peruse some of the sites we have developed. If you like the look of them you know what to do. Call Brett and arrange a meeting: 0414 713 802.

online marketing training

Websites, SEO, social media and email marketing.

Get the skills you need to make the online world your own at our Online Savvy workshop.

And please – share this post with others if their website act needs improving.


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Books for marketers: The Small Big

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the big small marketing books

Expand your sphere of influence with this little book.

The Small B!g: Small changes that spark big influence by Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini.

Recommended? Should be mandatory.

We were initially sceptical about The Small B!g. It seemed like just a moneymaker for co-authors Martin, Goldstein and Cialdini.

Not only was the title was annoying (that stupid !) the promise seemed ambitious. Can tiny differences in the way we speak, write, present, pitch or behave really yield such positive results for marketers and persuaders?

However its authors have rare pedigree. Cialdini is the author of Influence and Yes among other best-sellers which justified the pre-flight purchase. By the time of my arrival I was a smarter communicator. (Or it might have just been the high-altitude wine and crackers.)

If you are a marketer, fundraiser, public speaker, copywriter, salesperson of any variety you need to read this. It will make you richer, more successful, more influential. What’s more, it will make you reconsider how you communicate.

There are 52 pithy chapters in this upbeat book each highlighting a small change to business-as-usual that can yield great results. Chapters are short and sweet, referencing scientific experiments proving the hypothesis. Some readers, like us, might find the experiments less than scientific in nature.

Can two groups of 21-year-old sociology students really represent the population more broadly?

review the big small

Co-author Robert Cialdini. Warning: this man is enviably manipulative.

Indeed too much of the advice in The Small B!g is based on twee, artificial, campus-based social experiments. You know the deal – a researcher fed one group chocolate chip cookies and another group salty crackers before giving them all 20 hypothetical dollars to give away to random strangers before drawing a long bow and declaring that feeding people sweet foods makes the more philanthropic than savoury.

We are far from the only grumps to have had enough of ‘experiments’ that are supposed to inform the way we market and live. Many social experiments have recently come under criticism for not being replicable – one of the fundamentals of science but we digress

Many of the findings in The Small B!g are counterintuitive. Why would any marketer chose not to highlight the full range of benefits on offer? According to the authors, science tells us that consumers devalue your offering when confronted with a litany of benefits. They subconsciously “average out” the benefits diminishing the perceived value of their favoured benefits by considering the lack of appeal of the least favoured benefit. Perhaps throwing in those extra steak knives isn’t so alluring after all.

There’s a lot to learn in the books 250 or so pages. Concepts such as the “peak-end effect”, “duration neglect” are worth knowing. There are chapters on creating greater customer loyalty, staff motivation, creative thinking and negotiation.

Every fundraiser should read chapter 40 titled: How can the small act of unit-asking make a big difference to your appeals? It’s one of the chapters that contains real world evidence.

If you face a challenge of getting people to turn up to their appointments (community health services, VET providers et al) turn straight to chapter 8: What small bigs can persuade people to keep their appointments with you?

If you’re tired of chasing people for overdue payments (tell us about it) you can learn from the often-told story of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs cunning copywriting approach which led to the collection of over $1 billion unpaid tax revenue. That’s just chapter 1.

We read an awful lot about leadership these days – most of it amounting to little more than a picture and a quote. This book can give people techniques that will help on a daily basis. It is very practical. Whether it lives up to its promise of small change / big impact remains to be seen.

The Small B!g certainly gave us pause for thought and will influence some of our upcoming copywriting and Facebook advertising.

freakonomics books for marketers

Read it. Think it.

The Small B!g shares a sensibility with another book we’ve reviewed here: Freakonomics. Put simply, the authors believe that people’s behaviour is not set in stone but instead can be influenced by the triggers you pull, buttons you push and incentives you offer.

The Freakonomics series, like this book, will have you excited at the possibilities that thoughtful adjustment to your words, presentations, work habits and interactions can make, whether that be on a personal or global scale.

And don’t forget our review of Talk Like Ted.

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2016 media hit target reached by mid January.

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What’s your target for media coverage in 2016?

getting media coverage

Nice hit. Could have been yours.

United Way Australia wanted to double its coverage to 120 or so media hits. This is ambitious for a tiny organisation, that’s complex to define, with no dedicated publicist and no particular media profile. Very ambitious.

Still, we recognised United Way Australia’s media potential when we trained them on December 16. They had some projects on the ground, a fresh approach, a range of experts on staff and a passion for childhood literacy. The day was divided between Media Savvy (to gain more media opportunities) and Speak Savvy (to train spokespeople to make the most of each media interview).

You know that ambitious media target for 2016? It’s already been hit.

Since our workshop on December 16 United Way Australia has scored hits with ABC Radio National Breakfast, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian. Oh – and 139 local papers nationally.  Hits with Lateline, Daily Telegraph and other News Corp publications are en route. Opinion pieces have been drafted, new media relationships have been forged.

What would that be worth to you?

So what’s behind the spike in coverage?

  • Recognition that media coverage could help United Way Australia in its mission.
  • Realisation that what they knew and what they had to say was media-worthy.
  • Courage to get into the media fray.
  • Prioritisation on how time would be spent.
  • Strong opinions backed with real world experience.
  • New skills and perspective from our training along with regular use of our free follow-up coaching.
media training melbbourne

One day, much coverage.

We may have created a media monster. Good.

You should be getting more media coverage too. No more excuses.

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