They're irresistible. Those four little words. They tug at our imagination and immerse us in a grand adventure.
“Once upon a time...”
Whenever you hear those magical words, you know there's a castle. A princess. A dragon. Or maybe you think of shipwrecks. Pirates. Treasure. But even more important than the setting and characters, you know you're going to experience something special: a story.
We love stories. We listen to them, we watch them on screens, and we read them constantly. There's always time to enjoy a good story.
As we begin a brand-new year, I invite you to reconnect with stories.
Because we need stories. Stories immerse people in truth. In the truth that dragons can be defeated. That lives can be rescued. That what is lost can be found.
Stories connect us to each other. There's no better way to build a bridge to an outsider, to convey a difficult truth or to leave a lasting message than to tell a story.
We are made for stories. Our Creator uses stories to reveal himself: a lamb ready for sacrifice, a light to scatter the darkness, a farmer who plants a field. Is it any surprise that He is known as The Word?
If we want to reach our world, we need to re-master the craft of telling stories. The best way to learn is to spend time with some good stories.
So as we start the new year, take time this week to sit down and enjoy a good story – your choice. Relish it. Immerse yourself in it. And rediscover the power of a story.
As you reacquaint yourself with stories, you'll find that you'll want to tell stories.
And our world needs to hear more stories. Especially the one that goes like this: “In the beginning...”
Are you up for the challenge?
What will your story be?
Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media
It's that week. The week between Christmas and the New Year. All the presents are opened. We're eating leftover turkey, ham and sweet potatoes, and we're dealing with that “in-between” feeling. Now is a good time of year to work on your station's website and social media pages and get them tuned up for 2017. Need help? Here's a quick checklist to follow:
• Make sure your contact info is up to date. Check your site and social media pages. Especially the social media pages. Make sure your phone number, email address and physical address info is correct.
• Are your brand colors and logos current on all pages? Don't stop at your home page. Make sure your brand carries through the entire site.
• Check the staff member/on-air team page. Are the photos up to date? The bios? Email/contact info?
• Check for broken links. There's nothing more frustrating clicking on an interesting article and getting the “404” message. Fix or delete those broken links and missing pages.
• Clear the cobwebs. Does your last blog entry date back to 2015? Earlier? Maybe it's time to update it. Or ask yourself the hard question: has anyone read this and do I need to get rid of it.
• Create an editorial calendar for 2017. If you have events scheduled for the first quarter of 2017, take a couple of hours this week to schedule web articles, social media posts and design needs. Better yet, set up a template for how all of this will look online, then you can fill in the blanks with fresh information throughout the rest of the year.
Your online platform is just as important as your on-air platform. Make sure to treat it with the same care and attention you give to your on-air bits, breaks and programming.
Bill Arbuckle CMW
I could tell our corporate attorney was getting nervous about my radio copy, but I didn't realize how nervous until he looked at me and said, “Just be boring, OK?”
Those words mean certain death to any radio person, radio copy or radio contest.
To be fair, this happened several years ago. And the attorney was looking out for the best interest of our company, even if it meant putting the kibosh on some colorful copy.
I've thought about his words over the years, and realized that I often tell myself the very same thing. Sometimes I call it my “internal editor,” and yes, there is a place to watch my words...but the truth is that the “internal editor” - and “boring”- is often a synonym for fear.
How do we beat “boring”? Here are a couple of ideas:
• Remember that when you speak, some people are hearing your comments for the first time. Whether you're reading the same piece of copy ten times during your air shift, remember that it's still the first time someone is hearing it. Make sure to keep your tone and delivery fresh. After all, this announcement or PSA is important enough that you're giving it air time.
• Invite a friend to give input or critique. It's not easy, but it's how to grow. Ask someone to challenge you. To help you see things from another point of view. To point out things that you may not realize you're doing. And then, take their advice and put it in action. Change what you're doing. See if it works.
• Tell fear to take a hike. Sometimes when I speak or write, I hear the internal editor/fear telling me that what I'm about to say isn't safe. It's stupid. Or worthless. Or a waste. But God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a platform to speak. So...speak.
“Boring” involves more than fancy words or stories. It involves an attitude. A willingness to try. To take a risk and trust God to see what happens.
The alternative? Just be boring, OK?
Bill Arbuckle CMW
Found an old poem while working on some show prep a couple weeks ago. It's appropriate for our role in communicating Christ with a world in need.
The Work of Christmas
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The Work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.
May you, your family and your team be blessed as you continue the Work of Christmas in your community all year long.
How many times do you touch your phone in a day?
Give it a guess: 50? 100?
Not even close. If you're an average user, you'll touch your phone about 2,617 times per day. And in terms of usage, it translates to more than two-and-half hours per day. For “average” users. Heavy users doubled the number of touches – 5,400 a day which translates to almost four hours a day.
That's probably more time spent per day with a phone than with our spouse or family!
No wonder we sometimes feel like we're addicted to our phones. We are.
Research company dscout (dscout.com) tracked 94 cell phone users for five days in 2016 and discovered our phone usage is much higher than anyone expected.
So why do people spend so much time online? What occupies their attention? Facebook. Nearly 15% of users spent time on the social media network – more than any other app on their phones. Gaming and shopping were the next highest categories.
(Read the full research at dscout.com – Putting a Finger on Our Phone Obsession.)
Why does pone research matter so much to radio? If we know where people are spending time, we can program to that channel.
Are you making the connection between your on-air programming and Facebook? Are you investing in social media. What changes can you make to connect with your key listeners on the platform of their choice?
Bill Arbuckle CMW