8 Keys to Nailing Any Presentation

Microphone-on-Stage Even as an adult, I distinctly remember that day when my teacher tasked my classmates and I with our first Show & Tell presentation. I remember running around the house for weeks, looking for the coolest thing I could find and practicing what I would say with my mom. It was pretty easy; we were in a “safe zone” at that age - we knew everyone in the classroom, and we were comfortable with what we were presenting. As we grow older these “safe zones” become smaller and smaller, finding ourselves presenting to a crowd full of people we don’t know and terrified to be asked questions along the way. Even when these presentations aren't in person, the nerves and the pressure that builds up can often get the better of us. Wednesday night at a Publicity Club of New England (PubClub) session, Marty Robinson from Dale Carnegie, offered a terrific presentation titled “Presenting with Impact”. Robinson shared that in a recent study conducted among corporate employees that examined oral presentations; only 3% of these were considered stimulating. With such a worrying percentage, Robinson shared these wise points that should always be taken into consideration to prepare a powerful presentation. Know your audience By identifying who your audience is, you will know which language to use and how to connect better. Purpose Ask yourself what’s the purpose of the presentation and what are you looking to communicate. Attire It is important to select attire that will not distract your audience. This might be simple colors and minimal jewelry. Always try to avoid aggressive colors like red. Opening As Robinson said, you should always think about your opening, making it dynamic and interesting. Preparing a dynamic opening will allow you to captivate the attention of your audience and set a tone for what you’re about to present. Body Language When practicing for your presentation, consider doing it in front of a mirror, recording a video of yourself or presenting to a friend. Aside from giving you a clearer idea of your mannerisms; you will also identify what you need to improve. Avoid crossing your arms or holding your hands together as it might create distance and close you from your audience. Another essential aspect of body language that a speaker must always employ is eye contact. Try to maintain eye contact for a person for more than three seconds or until that person nods, giving you sense of approval and comfort. As Robinson shared, you can also maintain eye contact until you’ve identified the color of the person who you’re looking at. Robinson mentioned the work of Harvard researcher and Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, who shared her insights on body language in the Ted Talk video below: Major Points Your audience is eager to get the most out of your presentation. Identify what will be your major points in this presentation and limit them to three if possible. Supporting Ideas and Evidence When communicating your major points make sure you have supporting ideas and evidence that will leverage and give credibility to what you’re sharing. Closing Just as important as the opening, you want to end with a “boom” and some additional thoughts. Make sure you set aside a time for discussion and questions from your audience. If you’re short on time, always bring your business cards and share your email with everyone; they will appreciate having a way to contact you after the presentation is done. Some successful ways to close your presentation might be tying it back to the opening, speaking on a personal level, dramatizing your ideas or using a visual. With these tips, no presentation is unconquerable - so go for it!

Read More

How Emotional Storytelling Makes a Good Story Great for Business

DIGIREVCON blog series copy

DigiRevCon is a day of forward-thinking, actionable sessions with a focus on emerging trends in marketing. Thought leaders from companies including Harpoon Brewery, Cantina, Boston Interactive, Conductor, Life is Good, Wagamama, and Skyword will share their insights on social media, content marketing, the mobile landscape, analytics, and more.

The DigiRevCon Speaker Series are posts contributed by these speakers, which highlight content to be presented at DigiRevCon. 

rob   This post is contributed by Skyword Marketing Content Specialist Ted Karczewski. To learn more, catch Skyword President Rob Murray's session, "Telling Great Stories – How & Why Leading Brands Have Moved From A Copywriting To A Storytelling Mentality." Get your tickets today!

I found what makes a good story great when I clicked a Google link and landed on a Yahoo! Answers page.

Over the next few minutes, I’ll bring you through my emotional storytelling discovery process—and give you the tools you need to write better content. But first, back to Yahoo! Sometimes when faced with difficult questions, instead of using available research channels, I turn to average people for answers. In marketing, we tend to get stuck in our industry bubbles, and a straightforward answer can be hard to come by. MRY’s Chief Marketing Officer David Berkowitz described a similar revelation in his HubSpot Inbound presentation. Berkowitz laments, “I’m a storyteller at a storytelling company helping deeper-pocketed storytellers tell their stories, and then I go on the road and tell stories about all that while listening to others’ stories until it’s time to go to bed and do the whole thing over again. This is my existence.” In the end, a story goes nowhere and offers no value unless a relationship with the reader is established, Berkowitz concludes. Similarly, the four responses I encountered on Yahoo! Answers suggested that characters are what make a story great. Relatable, interesting, complicated characters fuel curiosity. These somewhat anonymous Yahoo! users are on to something—but what makes a good character great? For the answer to this question, I turned to two completely unrelated sources:
  • Andrew Stanton, an American film director and screenwriter whose works include Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
  • Two girls who wrote a satirical Craigslist advertisement looking for fall boyfriends.
(There’s a point here, I promise!) In his 2012 TED Talk, Stanton explains,”Storytelling is joke telling. It’s knowing your punchline, your ending, knowing that everything you’re saying, from the first sentence to the last, is leading to a singular goal, and ideally confirming some truth that deepens our understandings of who we are as human beings.” He further contends that characters play a vital role in emotional storytelling. A well-drawn character has a spine; something that drives his or her actions throughout the narrative. Stanton describes this as an itch that the character can’t scratch. That “itch” is so critical to any good story because no matter how fantastic a character is—no matter how futuristic the setting or scene—human traits are what connect readers and listeners to the stories they hear. Audiences need to relate to, believe in, and care about characters for any story to truly resonate.   Needed: Fall Boyfriends – 27 (Manhattan) At about the same time I was searching Yahoo! Answers and listening to Stanton’s TED Talk, social buzz was booming around a Craigslist ad created by two women in Manhattan. The words were funny, but the ad’s uncomfortable realism drove the Web nuts. From the justification as to why the authors need boyfriends to the requirements and activities they outline, the truth emerges that this ad is largely based on observations. The story is good because it’s funny; it’s great because it’s relatable. Kurt Vonnegut once said that a great story has at least one character the reader can relate to. That’s easy in the entertainment industry, in Craigslist ads, and even in children’s movies like Finding Nemo. Is it just as easy in content marketing?   The Key to Corporate Emotional Storytelling, as Told by You, the Consumer What makes a good story great for business? When the content marketer makes the customer the hero or heroine. Here are three businesses that do this exceptionally well:


By now, saying that General Electric is great at emotional storytelling borders on cliché—but the company merits a shout-out. In a recent Content Marketing World presentation by GE’s Katrina Craigwell, the idea of giving influencers and cultural icons the wheel when it comes to driving brand storytelling came to a head as she played the company’s “Drop Science – Matthew Dear + The Sounds of GE” campaign video (see below).

Craigwell and the team at GE put Matthew Dear, a well-known DJ, at the center of a new campaign that, at its core, is cool. While the surface of the story focuses on Dear’s music-making abilities, throughout the story line, GE adds compelling insight into the power of acoustics. For example, GE uses the technology to tell, far in advance, if there’s an underlying issue with any of its equipment.



Google For Work, formerly Google Enterprise, turns its Google Maps customers into champions of innovation and work efficiencies through its See Further campaign. Built to hold six installments, the See Further campaign profiles thought leaders within enterprise organizations and gives them a platform on which to amplify their Maps-related strategies—resulting in stories such as how Maps helped one nation prepare and respond to national disaster, or how an organization used Maps to inform stakeholders about product integrity. These beautifully crafted stories give authentic characters the spotlight and allow them to tell their stories to the masses, building loyalty and credibility among Google’s audience at once.

You are what you eat


“Storytelling is at the heart of the Jack Daniel’s brand,” Client Brand Director Laura Petry tells Adweek. “Everyone loves a good bar story. I do. You do. Your mom probably does, too. It’s a shared experience and part of the reason we all go to bars in the first place. A great story is the trophy of a great night out. So it made sense to document and share these great stories with the world.”

And that’s exactly what Jack Daniel’s did in its Tales of Mischief, Revelry and Whiskeycampaign, which features seven videos, 11 audio stories, and six written articles that aren’t scripted and feature real bar stories from around the United States.

Designed as an immersive content experience, Jack Daniel’s campaign not only pulls you in, but it makes you feel as if you’re at the bar with the storyteller. It makes you want to pour yourself a glass of whiskey—or two—before heading out with friends. See an example here:

  I’ll ask it again: What makes a good story great? Whether you’re looking for an answer on Yahoo!, on Craigslist, or from household brands, it’s always the characters—often inspired by you. The average consumer makes stories emotional, funny, engaging, and ultimately transactional in the business world.  

Read More

Roger Goodell Gets Tackled: The NFL Domestic Abuse Scandal

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 12.57.59 PM

How could the NFL, with arguably one of the most sophisticated PR departments in the world, handle a social media fiasco so poorly?  Fans were enraged over the actions of Ray Rice and the lack of response from NFL. At 451 Marketing, we had the opportunity to sit in on a webinar on Social Media Crisis Management: Lessons from the NFL, on this very issue.

Here are a few key points that I took away:

Bad news gets worse the longer it takes to come out - NFL officials were reluctant to admit that they had seen the video before it was leaked.  It took 10 days for Goodell to respond to the crisis and hold a press conference.  This is an unacceptable amount of time to address such a controversial and sensitive issue.  To many, the damage was already done.  This hurt the NFL's credibility and made its job of getting its views heard that much harder. Beware of the “Rolling Thunder”- It is usually best to break up a big announcement into a few smaller ones.  A bigger announcement, like Goodell’s press conference, addressed all the issues at once.  This can be overwhelming and leaves room for heavy scrutiny.  Smaller announcements allow the public to get the main ideas and digest it easier. Know what is being said - There were a lot negative comments flying about on the Internet in response to the NFL and its mishandling of the Ray Rice scandal. Although the NFL could not foresee the leak of the video, daily scans of keywords is a good way to see the ratio of positive comments vs. negative comments and help to predict future crises.


Appearances matter- The delivery of any message is key, especially when it is an apology.  Although Goodell said all the right things, his delivery was insincere and lacked emotion.  This led many to not believe his apology and take his words seriously.


Don’t censor comments - Just because there is negative content floating around doesn’t mean it should be censored.  People are expressing their views and they are upset—you can’t deny them of that.  Language should only be censored when words turn foul.

Know your audience and be sensitive to their issues - Domestic violence is an extremely sensitive issue, especially when almost half of the NFL fan base is female.  The NFL’s initial reaction to Ray Rice’s violence was seen as unsympathetic to the issue of domestic violence.


Utilize social media in a positive manner- Many people were expressing their views on the Ray Rice scandal via Twitter and Facebook.  This doesn’t have to be a place strictly for negative attention.  The Facebook page, NFL 12th Man, was a place where positive messages about the NFL could be shared.  This helped the league’s image.  It is also important to post third party content that helps support your cause.   In conclusion, following these guidelines can help to prevent and control any media crises that may arise.  From the NFL’s handling of the situation we are able to analyze and see what is most effective and what we may want to avoid if ever in a similar situation.   ** Written by Consumer PR intern Kelly O’Connor, Lesley University (Class of 2015)

Read More

#DigiRev14: Join the Digital Marketing Revolution!

Join the Revolution! at DigiRevCon from DigiRevCon on Vimeo. As marketers who work with brands on a daily basis, we’re tired of the same old marketing presentations, statistics, and buzzwords – so we decided to do something about that. DigiRevCon, short for Digital Revolution Conference, grew from our desire for a forum in which industry leaders and innovators convened to share insights into the latest and greatest in marketing – without all the jargon and boring conference content. Our goal is to help marketing professionals cultivate a deeper understanding of digital marketing and practical applications to take brands to the next level. On Tuesday, November 11 at District Hall in the Boston Seaport, DigiRevCon speakers will share expert advice and foresight on everything from building a loyal community to making data-driven decisions to market your brand. Thought leaders from companies including Harpoon Brewery, Cantina, Boston Interactive, Conductor, Life is Good, Wagamama, and Skyword will share their insights on social media, content marketing, the mobile landscape, analytics, and more.


The full agenda for DigiRevCon can be viewed online the conference website: www.digirevcon.com Tickets are on sale now for $179 and include a full day of sessions, networking, lunch, and post-event drinks. Tickets are available for purchase here: http://bit.ly/DigiRev14 DigiRevCon is presented by 451 Marketing, an award-winning marketing and communications agency. Event sponsors and partners include Conductor, Cantina, IdeaPaint, Boston Interactive, HALO Branded Solutions and AlphaGraphics.


We challenge you to "Join the Digital Marketing Revolution!" and walk away wowed and inspired.

Read More

1 City, 2 Days, Endless Takeaways: My Experience at the C3 Conference

C31 When Francis, our EVP of Digital Marketing, told me I would be attending C3 this year, my heart actually skipped a beat. Ever since I started, I had heard about the hundreds of marketers from all around the world, in all industries that convened to share tactics and insights. Now, it was my turn. As soon as I got back to my desk, I did what any digital-dork would do: I jumped online and mapped out my two-day agenda by the hour. Seth Godin at 1:30 p.m. Bolded and circled – definitely attending that one! Arriving Tuesday morning in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, I was greeted by a large “Welcome to C3” sign. Walking into the space filled with green ambiance lighting, I felt like Dorothy about to meet the Wizard of Oz.


Down the long pier, I passed the session rooms until I reached the “Partner Ecosystem,” where we had one of the most amazing booths I’d ever seen.  It was decorated with bright red chili-pepper lights, our signature 451 Hot Sauce and a whole bunch of 451 SWAG.


Before I knew it, it was time for my first session: Breakout Lab C. Together with my fellow agency search engine optimizers and marketers, we played a “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” themed game, in which we were quizzed on certain features of the software. I won a $25 Amazon Gift Card! During Seth Besmertnik’s speech, he introduced the idea of “Galileo Syndrome”:


Galileo syndrome is all about challenging the status quo. We have entered a new era of marketing and it’s important that we do not give up hope when faced with untraditional ways of thinking.  Unfortunately, Galileo was punished for playing a major role in the scientific revolution and discovering that things revolved around the sun.  I’m pretty sure marketers won’t be convicted for having a desire to challenge accepted conventions, or at least I hope so; especially in the SEO industry, things are always changing. Throughout the rest of Besmertnik’s keynote, we were seasoned with the idea of “Web Presence Management.” For years, our jobs were to focus on choosing the right keyword, placing it in a meta tag, making sure to link the keyword in anchor text and build links.

Today, we are more than that.


As an SEO in a digital marketing agency, I am able to provide information across various departments.  My insights are able to guide business strategies and in most cases I am a central part in crafting that strategy to ensure the best chance of success for our clients. Next up was the presentation I’d been waiting for: Seth Godin’s keynote. For an hour, I soaked up his fun facts and practicalities about digital marketing in this day and age; no slide deck, no fancy animations, just Seth and a microphone.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so enthralled in someone’s dialogue before. For day two, my favorite session was an Agency Success Panel. One of the questions from the audience was along the lines of what we, as SEO’s, call ourselves now that the marketplace has changed so much.  Since the industry has changed significantly over the past few years, everyone had a different answer.


One of the panelists described SEO as “ecosystem optimization” because we optimize every area of an agency.  Another said that we were considered a “digital conductor.”   The point is, as Search Engine Optimizers, we think more like marketers in 2014.  Our job is no longer about fitting a keyword into a page and manually mapping a 301 redirect. One of the most important lessons I got out of C3 was that I shouldn’t limit myself as an “SEO.” My goal at 451 is to influence business; with this knowledge, I am uniquely positioned to influence multiple types of mediums.  Because of that, I have the ignition to continue to fight for an epidemic of “Galileo syndrome.”  We have entered a completely new realm of marketing and it’s important that we do not give up hope when faced with untraditional ways of thinking.  It’s what makes us successful, and in an industry like this, we need to be ready for change.

Read More