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Bookings open: NEW eMarketing Savvy workshops in Sydney and Melbourne

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eMail marketing – eMarketing – holds tremendous potential for anyone wanting more bums on seats, dollars in coffers, campaigners in action. Much of that potential however is going to waste.

email marketing advice

Whether you are getting started or sharpening your act, this workshop is for you.

That’s why we’re staging eMarketing Savvy workshops in Melbourne and Sydney in February and March 2015.

The workshops, delivered by Brett de Hoedt come with notes, an assessment of your eMarketing strategy, follow-up coaching and a 110% guarantee.

It will be high-energy, practical and fun. Yes, fun. These sessions are equally aimed at NFPs, government and small businesses.

If your boss thinks that sending out the occasional email demonstrates mastery of the medium consider:

  • how many ways do you have to build your database? (six or more?)
  • are you A/B testing? (regularly, one element at a time, then making changes)
  • have you optimised your sign-up page? (don’t let them escape)
  • have you created series of emails for subscribers? (to keep front of mind, for longer)
  • what knockout confirmation emails do you currently send to new subscribers? (they are showing their love to you, is it being returned?)
  • how do you try to reinvigorate lapsed subscribers? (if at all?)
  • have you considered what expensive, slow, unaccountable print communications you can swap for fast, free, email?
  • when was the last time an outside expert assessed your communications?

If you don’t have answers you need this workshop.

Learn more, book now, be smarter soon.

 

 

 

Ask Brett: boosting your email open rates

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marketing speaker Brett de Hoedt

Pondering his answer. Hard.

We recently spied a nonprofit marketer’s query on Facebook and decided to turn it into the first Ask Brett in which Citizens are invited to ask Brett a marketing question which he’ll do his darndest to answer. Send your question to hootville@hootville.com

The perplexed marketer requested anonymity but her query ran a little bit like this:

I work for a [insert private sector website serving the nonprofit sector that sends 64% of you weekly emails] and we’ve seen a dramatic and sudden drop in email open rates. We’ve investigated technical issues but that’s not the problem. Any suggestions to boost open rates?

Plenty.

Here’s a bold statement: for the overwhelming majority of organisations, in the overwhelming number of circumstances, email is the best communications medium available with which to promote, campaign and communicate.

Using mass email ain’t sexy like social media but it works. That’s why QANTAS, LinkedIn, Ticketmaster, ASOS and the like never stop emailing you. Even social media giants use email to communicate with you. If they stopped emailing they’d stop making money.

Most organisations using mass email could significantly improve their open rates, which we define as the percentage of recipients who, having received your email, open it.

So let’s get to it.

boosting email open rates

Experiment a little with your email habits.

#1 Be willing to A/B test by which we mean that you divide your database into two random segments (Groups A and B) and send the same email to both groups with just one element changed (perhaps the subject line) and monitor which group had the higher open rate. It’s a simple experiment but potentially revealing.

Most of us rarely test anything. We’re happy enough just to get the monthly eNewsletter out and check the stats page. That’s not OK.

You can always split your database into more than two segments but only test one element at a time. Then re-test to confirm your original findings and make changes to your usual practice.

The best marketers are forever testing, tweaking and boasting about every improvement they gain. “Hey sending on Thursday scored us an extra 34 opens!” Smart organisations reward this, most don’t but we digress…

Hootville specials

Time is of the essence.

#2 First thing to A/B test is send time. The email in question was being sent out late on Thursdays. This is madness. Our hunch is that the best open rates will be achieved by sending early in the day so as to arrive just before the subscriber’s first download of email for the working day. People get busier and more pressured as the day unfolds, so get in early. You should be able to schedule your email to be sent at any time. As for the day of the week, we avoid Mondays and Fridays but don’t take our word for it – test it and see.

If you are being read by working adults, office hours are the best time to send (even if the email content is personal, not professional) but your readership might skew towards retirees or students. Testing will reveal all. If you test something inspired by this post, let us know the results.

eMarketing advice

Where is the drama in this?

#3 Subject boxes – every eMarketer will tell you that they understand the need to create interesting subject boxes. They know they need to be daring so as to grab people’s scant attention as they scan their inbox, yet many still roll out stuff like above.

Oh c’mon! Subscribers already know the email in their inbox is from you – tell them something they don’t know.

Try: ACME Christmas party photos + 12 we can help you.

Once again, split the database randomly into two or more segments and try different approaches to subject box copy from dry to cryptic to punny to funny and see what works.

#4 Have some content that only appears in your email – not your website and make prominent mention of this. When a subscriber sees your email you don’t want them to think, “Oh – I’ll visit their site” which they might fail to do. You want them to think “better open this email to see what’s in it”.

The email-only content doesn’t have to be words. It could be a video. Australian marketer Richard Hanson told us that The Wilderness Society included a beautiful user-submitted photograph in each email to inspire more openings. Nice idea.

email marketing advice

Enough already.

#5 Have less content. Are there emails that inspire this thought in you? “Oh good…I must get back to that later when I have the time.” That’s not a thought you want to inspire.

Don’t overwhelm people with long emails; particularly as 40% + will be reading your email on their tiny phone screen. Be short, sharp and sassy with links to your ever expanding website.

We received this compliment recently re the Hootville Lowdown from workplace communication coach Narelle Hanratty:

When I open the newsletter, here’s what it says to me: “You can read this now because it’s real easy and quick.

That warmed our cold, cold hearts.

#6 Serialisation of content. We recently received one email with the content: 7 ways to create a more collaborative workplace. It may have been wiser to expand on each of the seven ways and drip feed these across seven emails. If you have a particularly interesting topic to write about ensure that you get the maximum value from it and keep subscribers opening.

Book your place at our 2015 eMarketing Savvy workshops in Melbourne or Sydney.

#7 Have better content. This is so obvious but it is equally obvious that too many organisations don’t consider what their subscribers are really looking for. If you send people emails of jobs think twice about padding the content with broader employment sector news. Subscribers may just want the list of jobs. We’ve seen mental health service providers write loooong emails full of policy analysis when their subscribers might prefer practical advice on helping their adult children with psychotic disorders off drugs and in employment. Be helpful. We try to be.

#8 Sex it up. A boring looking email is less likely to be opened than a better-looking email. Enough said.

Mobile telephony is all the rage these days.

Don’t worry, get appy.

#9 Mobile friendly design. 40% of Lowdowns are opened on mobile devices. Do you know your mobile opening percentage? Your mobile readership may be higher depending on demographics. Your email template must display well across the plethora of devices. You don’t want recipients to think: “Oh good – I’ll read it later when I get to my desk / laptop.” They won’t. They’ll be busy doing other stuff by then. Turncoats.

#10 Special edition for non-openers. If you have a large group of non-openers it’s worth taking the trouble to send just them a special email. The subject box should be something along the lines of:

Hey stranger – was it something we said?

The copy should acknowledge that they haven’t opened your emails in a while and re-explain the benefits of actually opening and reading the emails you send. You may win back some hearts and minds. This will work best if you can include the recipient’s first name in the subject box.

How to use MailChimp

You don’t win friends with salad.

#11 Buy their love. Never, ever underestimate the power of a bribe. Especially if the bribe has an i in front of it (as in iPad). Or is alcoholic. Or sweet.

If you really want to boost your open rates offer a random prize to someone who opens your email. Simple as that. Is it worth it? Depends the size of your database, how expensive the prize and how much you value an additional person opening your email.

#12 Place a value on each subscriber. This point is crucial. In fact none of the previous tips will be actioned unless you do this. Fundraisers know what they are willing to pay to acquire a new donor based on the average value to the organisation of that donor. Similarly, how much are you willing to pay /do to have someone extra open your email given that the email may inspire them to use your service, donate, attend an event or refer a friend to you?

Grown up eMarketers have a figure in mind.

If you are willing to pay 50c for a Facebook advertisement click-through you may well be more than happy to spend this much to get a non-opening subscriber to double click for a change.

Let’s say you spend $50 to deliver a bottle of Champagne to one lucky opener. Let’s say that offer gains you 200 extra opens. That’s 25c per extras open. Bargain!

We reckon that the following edition will also enjoy a boosted open rate even without the Champagne. Bigger bargain!

If you have a big but disengaged database you may score 1000 more opens in which case you are on a big fat winner. Huge bargain. Use this tactic and thank us later.

Now check out our eMarketing Savvy training workshops in 2015.

Don’t forget to share any results you gain via these tactics and email us your Ask Brett questions. 

2015 Board Builder conference officially declared open

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2015′s biggest and most practical day devoted to nonprofit and community sector board members is open for registration. Board Builder 2015 is set for February 23 in Melbourne. It’s the brainchild of the Institute of Community Directors which is the offspring of Our Community.

It is very difficult to resist a pun on the word "board" when writing this caption.

It is very difficult to resist a pun on the word “board” when writing this caption.

Brett will be speaking – he’s been a part of the event since year one. So too will be:

Greg Nance CEO, Surf Life Saving Australia
Jocelyn Bignold CEO, McAuley Community Services for Women
Trent Youl CEO, Fraudwatch International
Wendy Brooks leading philanthropy and fundraising consultant
Brett de Hoedt Mayor, Hootville Communications
Libby Klein and Catherine Brooks Principals, Moores, Not-for-Profit Lawyers
Kaye McCulloch Community Resource Education & Development Manager, 3Bridges Community
Patrick Moriarty and Natalie Bramble Institute of Community Directors Australia.

Lots of concurrent sessions covering director recruitment, securing funding, managing your CEO and workforce and I.T security.  The event attracts directors from big and small organisations, from across the country and across the sectors. Come along.

The price for all this? Ridiculous. Especially if you swoop on the early bird pricing.

Details and registrations here.

Social media sharing: length, depth and looks matter

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Are you getting shared around enough? Probably not.

There are no “copywriters” anymore – just content creators. And those content creators are judged in large part by the degree to which their content is shared. Getting lots of shares and retweets (going viral) feels good and spreads your message. Not getting shared feels more akin to having a virus.

So how do we increase the chances of being shared on social media? Here are some advice based on a study by BuzzSumo of 100 million pieces of social media content.

1. Length matters: here’s a big important counter-intuitive fact – longer posts get shared more than shorter.

Yep – we all say we are overwhelmed with information. We all have too little time and too much to read but this data – based on people’s real behaviour not their answers to a survey question – is very revealing. It seems that when the right people are reading your content they want MORE information, not less. And the more content your provide in a single post or tweet, the more likely it is that the reader will share your work.

how long should a blog post be?
More words = more shares. Get thee to thy keyboard.

As BuzzSumo’s investigation of what gets shared via social media shows, the longer the content, the higher the chances of getting a share / retweet / link. Think 2000 words minimum. Yep – you read that correctly.

Why does this make sense? Well, when we are mildly interested in a topic a short sharp piece of content may suffice but for those readers with genuine interest in you or your issues, the longer, the better. Longer posts win by a country mile.

how to increase social media shares

This guy knew what he was talking about when he talked about talking.

Remember what Aristotle (left) said: good speakers establish their ethos (high moral standing and pure motivations) before delivering the logos (facts, figures and information) while remembering to create pathos (to stir emotions whether angry, sad, patriotic etc).

That’s hard to do with a 150-word post. Of course not all posts are conceived equal. Some pieces of content need nothing more than the usual pith – others though need planning, writing and enhancement. Go long on content that really matters.

This works for Hootville – our most shared and enduring content is always our longer and angrier pieces.

 

Thumbnails on Facebook creates more sharing.

A picture is worth 1000 shares. Use them.

2. Pictures help too. On both Twitter and Facebook content with pictures were shared much more frequently.

Finally: Content creation is hard work but if you want to create a bond with your reader you need to persuade them of your bona fides. Valuable, relevant, practical, freely available information goes a long way to securing that bond. And it also inspires people to share your work.

Read more about the sort of content that gets shared at BuzzSumo.

PS: this post include 460 or so words.

Tone deaf multinationals should know better

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One of the things we teach in Hootville’s copywriting course Copy Savvy 101 is that tone matters. By tone, we mean the vibe, the manner, the impression you create with your words.

One golden rule: choose a tone. Never let your default tone become your tone. Consider what will work for you in relation to your key audiences audiences. And for Pete’s sake – stand out.

How formal will you be? How sophisticated will your language be? How specific or obtuse will your references be? Will you sound jaded, knowing, ironic? Will you be angry, friendly, outraged, caring, urgent?

Will you presume that your reader has some insider knowledge or that they are a newcomer to your issue?

Do you engage the reader with direct questions? Do you write more words or fewer? Do you tell stories and use humour? Did you notice that we’re using this tone as we speak?

Tone is created by more than words. Headlines, images and captions go a long way to establishing your tone. People who will never be paid to write for a living can detect a tone within a paragraph or two.

Of course your choice of what to write about and the priority each issue receives is a key way to convey your personality. Do you focus on changes to legislation and regulation – or focus on a client’s story? Are you deeply detailed or short and sweet?

There’s no one right tone. Just the one that works best for you in relation to your key audiences for the medium that you are using at the time.

copywriting advice

Oh puh-lease!

When organisations get their tone wrong it hurts them. You’ve all heard of airbnb, the website allowing people to rent out their spare rooms in exchange for money. Well airbnb is in hot water. Owners corporations don’t like strangers in their apartments and more importantly tax-hungry state governments in America want to tax airbnb’s users the way they tax hotel.

(Commonly referred to as bed taxes, each hotel night booked attracts a few dollars tax for government. So far airbnb has just ignored this.)

This is a threat to the airbnb juggernaught, so its hired lobbyists, rebranded and started a campaign to persuade lawmakers of airbnb’s deep worthiness.

The 5 year old company may be valued at $ 18 billion but it claims that deep down it’s a community. (If it were a community not a business this place would be free.)

Like so many US businesses they act as if their corporate success is in fact some social movement - the “sharing economy”.  What do you think of the tone? Is it simply too, too much? We think so.

copy writing course

Cringe-worthy copy from people with money to burn and writers on tap.

airbnb is far from alone in making this error. Facebook is a regular sinner.

Little did we know that by using Facebook to stalk our exes we were supporting Facebook’s “journey”. We hate that word.

We don’t mind some poetic waxing but as soon as you’ve overplayed your hand, as soon as you’ve overstated your case, as soon as the reader knows that you’re trying one on – you’ve lost them. Then you have no chance to win them over.

This is as off-tone as Mark Zuckberg’s speech on the day Facebook listed on the stock exchange. (Kicks in about at 50 seconds or so.)

great copywriting

This copy is mo, mo good. (No that is not Ms Hamam pictured.)

But how about a positive (and local) example you ask? Sure. Friend of Hootville and leading academic Natalie Hamam recently thought that it’d be interesting to spend the month of November wearing a fake moustache whenever she was in public to show her support for Movember. She emailed Movember HQ outlining her idea. Here’s their response:

Hey Natalie,

Thanks for getting in touch and supporting Movember. We love hearing the different ways Mo Bros and Mo Sistas plan to get involved each year!

We do however appreciate the stubble trouble that Mo Bros must endure while growing a Mo that for the whole month of Movember sparks conversations, not to mention admiration, from all who lay eyes on it.

A fake moustache doesn’t have the same effect. By allowing fake moustaches we take away from the efforts of those Mo Bros who are growing pitiful Mo’s, so we steer away from them as much as possible.

We still encourage all Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to sign up whether you’re able to grow a Mo or not. Awareness, education and support are equally important to the cause. Mo Sistas can still get involved in a number of ways such as by holding events and pushing the Mo Bros through those uncomfortable times.

We hope this doesn’t put a dampener on your Movember plans and that you continue to support the cause as a valuable Mo Sista!

If you have any more ideas or questions that we can help with please don’t hesitate to yell out.

Mo-ver and out

It simply doesn’t get more “on-brand” than that. Kudos Movember. And no Natalie, did not wear the ‘tache.

Squiggle exclusive: Old men in hats take to Twitter

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landcare media training

Home, home on the range.

Once again our canine mascot and mentor Squiggle barks the hard barks (AKA asks the hard questions) of a standout marketer. Answering the questions - Yonie Tiljak, community coordinator with the Heytesbury District Landcare Network, the force behind  @HytsbryLandcare

When did you take to Twitter and why?

I took to Twitter in March this year after my interest was caught at a workshop led by your Mayor, Brett de Hoedt as part of the Landcare Facilitator program. Before that I was a major Twitter sceptic.

 

How big is your Twitter pack now?

My Twitter pack is now hovering around the 1050 mark, yesterday it was 1055 today it is 1049. Some come some go but generally more coming of late.

 

How many dog owners among them?

Being an owner of 3 dogs myself I find I’m pretty intuitive at judging dog people by their profile pictures, I would say by the number of dogs, cattle and outdoorsy looking types in the profile pictures we’d be sitting on around the 500 dog owners mark.

 

Close to half – well that’s a start. Anyhoo…how’d you get that rapid growth?

I took home tips from the workshop, read a free book on Kindle called “how to grow your twitter following” and just hit it hard really. I followed everyone I could find who was in to Landcare or Environment and I then followed their followers. Once a week I would go through and unfollow any who hadn’t followed me back, if they looked interesting though I then refollowed them. I pretty much became a Twitter pest. But I also backed that up with lots of interesting tweets, photos and retweets to keep people interested and thanked people for following and retweeting me. After a while I also found out the other use for # tags and started participating in Twitter chats, in particular #agchatoz which connected me with more like minded Tweeters.

 

social media environment groups

Outdoors, on the job, online, on message.

What do you tweet about?

I tweet about Landcare, local rural life, the environment and what it is like working for Landcare and being a part of a small community. I also tell off the occasional politician and thank our corporate sponsors for their support.

 

Were their some naysayers who thought that Twitter for a group like yours was a waste of energy?

Yes, in fact I was one of them but I will try anything once! There are some even more stubborn sceptics out there, I often get asked how much time a day I put towards it and my response is it is always on in the background, no different to my emails and my phone.

 

Any specific benefits from all this Twitter activity?

I won a bottle of wine at the National Landcare Conference for one of 2 best Tweets of the conference, Score! Also work bought me an iPad so I can Tweet in the field! But in all seriousness I have also made some really good contacts through Twitter including other Landcare Networks and Groups, Landholders both local and afar and businesses and other not for profits who are now showing interest in collaborating with us on projects.

 

How many hours do you spend on Twitter? In human hours please.

Some days 0 some days 3 (#agchatoz generally takes around 3 hours) an average daily time would be around half an hour to an hour of actual direct Twitter use but as I said it is always on in the background.

 

Got one Twitter secret to share?

Well you put it in to words but it is true, never miss an opportunity! Always check the trending list and if a relevant # tag is on it use it! Multiple times! If you are at an event and they have a # tag use it! Multiple times! Don’t forget to follow @hytsbrylandcare! See, don’t miss any opportunity!

 

Finally – cat videos are big on the internet. Do you agree that this is a waste of bandwidth?

Yes! Cats are one of the biggest threats to our native birds and small mammals! I don’t need them wasting my already measly internet allowance.

A poignant way to finish. Thankyou Yonie.

Read Squiggle’s previous interview which featured James Beckford Saunders.

 

This man needs Hootville. You do too.

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As Australian media trainers we were so … impressed … by Ryutaro Nonomura’s impassioned press conference performance that we decided to make a 46 second video ad utilising the remarkable display. The basic premise: don’t leave media training until it is too late.

For those of you not following Japanese political meltdowns (perhaps due to family commitments, work pressures or indifference) suffice to say that the citizens represented by the MP were outraged that he’d spent $40,000 of public money on visits to the local spa. Clearly the criticism hurt.  Enjoy.

It’s an extreme example but a good one – by the time you need media training, it’s too late. Many clients contact us for Speak Savvy 101 training and confess that they have been considering such media training for years.

In that time, media opportunities are going begging. Bad form. And then of course there’s always the chance that media will come knocking on your door with awkward questions. Message to CEOs and boards: stop waiting, get savvy.

Speak Savvy 101 is delivered across Australia by Brett de Hoedt who recently made an Australia-wide appearance from a small studio in Melbourne courtesy of ABC-TV’s Weekend Breakfast. Isn’t it smart to hire a media trainer who appears on the media?

Speak Savvy 101 is aimed at media spokespeople and anyone who presents or speaks to stakeholders. Lots of people hire him.If your media spokespeople need training contact Brett de Hoedt of Hootville right now. 0414 713 802.

media training al gore

500+ campaigners. 1 media trainer. 1 tart. Long story.

If we’re good enough to talk media at Al Gore’s Climate Reality event Hootville might be good enough to train you. We’ve also trained the Australian Conservation Foundation, Climate Commission, Berry Street, Our Community, University of Melbourne departments, Bush Heritage Australia, BirdLife Australia, Inner South Community Health,  Baw Baw Shire, Marriott Support Services, Environment Defender’s Office, National Family Violence Prevention Legal Service & more. Smart people, tough issues.

Hootville has media trained them all – CEOs, board members, senior management teams, young people, people with disabilities, homeless people, people with English as a second language. We can probably handle you.

People think we’re pretty damn good.

And if you’ve been mature enough to not watch that video yet – here’s your last chance. More on Speak Savvy 101 right here.

 

Facebook’s retargetting means never saying goodbye.

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We have all noticed the recent explosion in Facebook advertising. It’s all the rage for manufacturers of dental implants to manufacturers of marriages. If you need a primer why not read our previous posts?

facebook advertising

Everyone's at it from I.T providers to NFP recruiters.

Of course nonprofits are using it too – to recruit, to solicit donations and to campaign.

Our feeling on its worth are mixed – it’s fun to put one’s marketing intuition to the test, create an ad and monitor click through rates and costs per action. It’s cool to change an element of an ad – the audience’s gender or interests and see how that impacts on results. All those columns of numbers and staring at screens is akin to daytrading which was very big a decade or so ago but is little discussed nowadays but we digress…

That said, we’re yet to see even our most pleasing Facebook advertising performances turn into business.

Perhaps Facebook casts the net too broadly. Why serve an ad up to stranger (no matter how precisely targeted) when you could have your Facebook ad appear on the Facebook page of people who have recently visited your website? This is exactly what re-targeting allows you to do.

Thanks to a cookie, Facebook will identify individuals who visit your website and later serve them up your ad when they next log on to Facebook.

The ad may be designed to refer to the fact that the recipient has recently visited you or not.

You can be even cleverer serving up very specific ads that appear to people who have visited very specific pages on your site. Eg: serve up a Facebook ad to people who have visited your donation page but left without donating with the aim of extracting that lost donation. Muse on the possibilities dear Citizens!

Let’s say you offer accredited Certificate IV courses in animal management for people seeking to work in veterinary surgeries. You could target people who visited the page of your website offering information on that course without making an enquiry with an ad featuring a cute dachshund with the headline:

“Still want to work with animals? Good. Check out our course.”

Think of your Facebook ad meeting people a cocktail party. Re-targeting takes your Facebook ad from “Hello, nice to meet you.” to “Imagine bumping into you here!”

facebook advertising retargeting

Stalking? Please - let's call it smart advertising.

Here are some re-targeted Facebook ads that have been appearing on our screens here at Hootville.

The two highlighted posts are re-targeting Brett after he visited their websites. The cunning devils!

Virgin Australia excelled itself by placing an ad on Brett’s Facebook page showing the specific dates and destination that he recently searched. Big brother? Big deal – it’s a big opportunity for you.

We’d be interested in your experiences – anyone turn Facebook advertising – re-targeted or not – into stellar results?

Brett talks climate change campaigning on ABC-TV

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media trainer Brett de Hoedt

How quickly the media trainer becomes the media performer.

Before speaking about media to 500+ aspiring environmental campaigners at Al Gore’s Climate Reality event in Melbourne, media trainer Brett de Hoedt was interviewed on ABC-TV’s Weekend Breakfast. So how well does a media trainer perform on live television? Judge for yourself.

Brett says it was a tricky interview: “The interview brief was rather fuzzy. I spoke to three or four different segment producers each of whom was just carrying on the work for someone else. Nobody had fully thought through what was to be tackled. The best investment I made was writing a pre-interview document suggesting some topics / issues. I also explained that I wasn’t an environmentalist or event organiser. I explained the topics that I could address with knowledge and certainty.

Brett - who does not lack confidence – spent six to eight hours prepping for this seven minute interview. Why so much? “Evaluating or defending the climate change movement’s campaigning is not something about which I specifically blog or speak,” he humbles. “Other topics would require little more prep than the ironing of a shirt but this wasn’t one of those.”

Of course, going-to-air live adds an element of risk. The interview was held in the remote studio in Melbourne talking directly down the barrel of a tiny camera. The room is small, hot and there’s no monitor to see your interviewer. You are spoken to via an earpiece. There was no briefing by the interviewer’s prior to her opening question – just a time countdown.

Brett himself rates his performance a 7 / 10. “On time, dressed, no swearing, looked reasonably comfortable, made a few decent points, didn’t accidentally call interviewer Kochie,” he says.

“Bonus points for clarifying the interview’s direction beforehand and the subsequent research. I directed the conversation back to what I wanted it to be a couple of times. Yeah – about a seven.” Not good enough but not bad.

Brett’s review of Brett: Brett’s first response: You could measure it (the climate movement’s campaigning results) in a positive way or a negative way… That’s good practice. Explaining that it can be measured in a positive or negative way paves the way for me to then go ahead and explain the two ways. That’s two bites of the cherry and more control for me. I always teach that, so it’s good to see that I did it.

 

Eliza: Last year’s election result seems to be a mandate for Tony Abbott and his government to move away from a pricing mechanism on carbon. So therefore do you think that things have really stalled? Brett: Yeah, it’s certainly not a vote in favour of the current campaign… Very, very bad.

I should not have accepted this characterisation and should have said: “Well the election was a measure of many things – carbon tax being just one of them. In fact its been broadly agreed that environment matters were almost entirely off the election agenda. Interestingly this week another poll confirmed that 80%+ of Australians want to reduce carbon.”

 

Eliza: You talk about the current way of campaigning. An Inconvenient Truth – there were quite a few fear messages. I mean that part of it was quite frightening, the prospects of what would happen. Do you think that fear has been somewhat of a problem?                                                                              

In any reasonably sophisticated interview there’s the question and then there’s the premise on which the question is based. The underlying premise here was that Al Gore had overstated his case in An Inconvenient Truth and that predictions had failed to come true.

This premise had to be identified and countered in real time. Thus I am happy with my response which was in part: If we’re saying that the worst impact of climate change is yet to happen, well, I’d say, according to a report from the World Health Organization 7 million people around the globe, 7 million, died prematurely from air pollution. A staggering statistic. We’ve just had our hottest summer on record in Australia. We’ve had I think the warmest autumn ever. So the impacts are right here, right now. So I don’t think we have to worry about terrible circumstances down the track. The here and now is quite bad enough to steel us to action.

I’m am also glad that I repeated a key stat – 7 million deaths. Who’d have thought my prep would have paid off?

 

Eliza: Do you feel that the other side of the argument is running a better public relations campaign?    Not a bad response by me but I should have added that much of the media has decided to ignore science and climate change with this a line like this:

It’s easy to maintain the status quo when there is media on your side despite the facts. Some media outlets in this country are now so politically-driven that they can’t even agree whether we’ve smoked more or less in the last year – despite ABS data and annual reports of tobacco companies.” 

 

Eliza: OK – so how do you counter that? This is a broad question so it provided an opportunity to promote the Climate Reality training. Also glad I got to use the phrase, “Tree hugging vegans” and speak of 30-year-long comas.  

climate change media training

Shell sells a C tax.

One big dumb error was not mentioning this blog post by Shell’s climate change advisor David Hone which argues passionately for a price on carbon. I had my schtick ready: “Eliza last night I read a blog post titled: 10 reasons why business should love a price on carbon. That’s the sort of article you’d expect to see on a greenie website but I found it on the Shell website. As in Shell oil. It was written by Shell’s own climate change advisor David Hone. When Shell is schilling for a price on carbon, it’s time the politicians caught up.” Bugger.

climate change media training

Always good to hear from one's public.

When I mentioned that climate change attracts criticism and kooks I wasn’t exaggerating. By the time I returned to Hootville HQ two emails – each debunking the climate change hoax – awaited me. Then there was this minor and poorly written Facebook trolling.

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Al Gore almost meets Brett de Hoedt

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Hootville’s Brett de Hoedt has been chosen to present at Climate Reality 2014, one of the environment movement’s major events for 2014, where he’ll share the bill with former U.S Vice President Al Gore. The Oscar-and-Nobel winning Harvard graduate and Apple board member will be in Melbourne to present An Inconvenient Truth live and impart the wisdom gained from fighting for the environment on a global scale.

al gore in melbourne

Sadly Mr Gore will not have the opportunity to meet Brett de Hoedt.

Brett, who went to a local TAFE as a mature aged student and wrote for New Idea, will be delivering a keynote on gaining media coverage and performing effectively for media. Ain’t social mobility grand?    

Climate Reality, which is the brainchild of Mr Gore, brings together 500+ activists from across Australia and the Asia-Pacific region for three days of intense training before being unleashed to present and campaign on environmental matters. Successful attendees were selected from thousands of applicants.

Says Brett: “The challenge is to condense two full-day workshops to 60 minutes. Two options – talk really fast or distill, distill, distill. I’ll take option B.”

So has Brett been offered an opportunity to meet the great man? Yes – but he can’t make it. “I’m driving to Mitchell Shire to deliver social media training to 40 or so local community groups,” he reports. “That’s showbusiness.”

Media trainer Brett de Hoedt

Brett will be appearing on devices like this one across the nation.

At least Mr Gore can watch Brett on TV. Brett’s been invited on to ABC TV’s Weekend Breakfast Sunday June 22 to discuss the marketing of climate change. Be up early to watch it – 7.20am is the prime timeslot.

Read what Mr Gore said in the lead up to his Australian trip.

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