During my recent appearance on FBI behavioural analyst Robin Dreeke's podcast, dazzling parallels were drawn between my work as a PR specialist and a documentary maker.
Thanks to Robin's insightful questions, many of which explored my childhood, we unearthed one character trait that enables me to secure high-profile media coverage for my clients with great ease. Now it's your turn to experiment with this trait.
So, what's the trait? It's EMPATHY — the ability to understand and share the feelings of other people.
We've already shown you how empathy can be used to cleverly deflect awkward interview questions, but truth is, if understanding the needs of others is hard for you, writing a compelling press release that attracts valuable media attention is an almost impossible undertaking. Why? Let's see.
Here's a sentence I never thought I'd say, but I mean it: an alleged scandal in the cat food industry is going to make your next piece of writing instantly more interesting to your audience.
According to estimates, the average adult makes approximately 35,000 decisions every day. Shopify - the company that generated US$4.611 billion last year - leverages this fact better than any brand I've ever studied. How? By spraying their web visitors with a deluge of clear direction; which as we'll see later, relieves them of the stress of having to make yet more decisions.
A dating disaster I recently endured has no place in an article explaining how to win business awards, I admit it, but my date was guilty of the one social error found in almost all mediocre business award submissions. So, if you want to engage, captivate and persuade a judging panel (instead of sending them into a deep sleep), here's what not to do.
Never underestimate how stupid I felt standing in London's busiest underground station taking pictures of chicken nuggets bolted to a wall. Genuine shame. Happily, there was also an upside.
Applause swept through Linkedin this week following Tesco's cute ad supporting the British pubs industry. My question, however, is - "Was Tesco being selfless or strategic?"
When was the last time you didn't press 'skip' on a YouTube ad?
For me, those occasions are so rare, that when an ad does hook my attention, I demand to know why. The answer never surprises me.
In my opinion, there are proven techniques that underpin hypnotic ads - techniques that use powerful psychology and nifty copywriting. Let's look at one such ad from meditation app Headspace. Watch the ad below, then scroll down to see my 3 observations - all outlining why I think the ad is structurally excellent.
GOOD NEWS: All 3 techniques we cover will improve your marketing communications if carefully applied.
Imagine you're the richest man on earth. How would you respond if, during an otherwise pleasant interview, you're confronted with accusations of low wages and inappropriate working conditions?
OPTION A: Smile, thank the interviewer for the question, and subtly change the subject
OPTION B: Tell the interviewer that you welcome such scrutiny
OPTION C: Suggest the accusations are baseless
Following our recent exposé on the 'Rule of 3', here's another communications treat for you.
Ask yourself this question: In media interviews, how do celebrities, politicians and influential figures deflect uncomfortable questions without sounding evasive, elusive or plain rude?
Answer: Zealously care about people's patience.
How does it work?: Taylor Swift - the world's biggest popstar - was once asked why she's so secretive about her political leanings. She employed a deliciously subtle deflection technique that influential figures use every day. Take a look at her answer:
WARNING: you'll never un-see what I'm going to show you now. Once I share it with you, you might even feel manipulated, duped and a little grubby. Please don't. Instead, use this clever trick to: