The Media Training Bible: 101 Things You Absolutely, Positively Need To Know Before Your Next Interview by Brad Phillips

If you’re focused in PR or any sort of media training in your role then this book could be your go-to resource. Not sure about your bible – but it does make the title more catchy!
Highly relevant stuff here for spokespeople, though I’m not sure they would read the entire book which is reasonably large, no instead I think it’s best suited to the media trainers themselves. OR someone who can’t afford to pay for media training and needs to go on TV (eek).
Aside from a range of tips the book also includes a really useful message worksheet, which will be a fab resource if you’re a spokesperson (or need to train one), but of course you need to get the book to get your hands on that one.

Eight things to remember before your next media interview 

(headings = mine, all quotes directly from the book and are by the very smart Brad Phillips apart from the one at the end by Jane)
1. Don’t be afraid 
Despite what you may have heard (or personally experienced), most reporters aren’t out to get you. More often than not, they just want reliable information from a spokesperson who can deliver a media-friendly quote.
2. Don’t refuse an interview unless ABSOLUTELY necessary 
“Here’s why: There are three voices in many news stories—yours, your opponent’s, and the reporter’s. If you refuse the interview, “The Rule of Thirds” states that you’ll likely go 0-for-3 in the story.” 

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History by David Meerman Scott, Brian Halligan

Okay I’m a big fan of any book of David Meerman Scott, but I must confess I had no idea of how the Grateful Dead was, nor had I heard any of their music.
If you love marketing + this band then I’m sure this book will be all your Christmas presents wrapped into one. For the rest of us – there’s still plenty of useful marketing lessons.

Six fab quotes from Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead

(headings = mine, quotes = the amazing Mr Scott) 

1. What are you better at? Get unique 
“What are you three times better at than your competitors? What are you three times worse at than your competitors? If the answer is “nothing” to both, you are not unique enough to really break out. And no, you can’t be better than your competition in all dimensions—you need to rethink the dimensions.”

2. Organise the team around the funnel
“Organize your marketing team in this way: You want someone responsible for “getting found” (filling the top of your funnel), someone responsible for “converting” the folks who are getting pulled in, and someone responsible for “analyzing” the numbers and helping you make better decisions.”

3. Speak human 
“Speak like a human in your releases, not like a press release robot. Your marketplace’s mother tongue is human—it speaks press release robot as a second language.” Read More

The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost your Sales. by Dan S. Kennedy

I can hear you sniffing disdainfully at this title – who writes letters anymore!? The-Ultimate-Sales-Letter-Kennedy-Dan

Ok, so the concept of a sales letter is pretty outdated, still, much of the advice in this book is still useful for writing in general and writing sales copy more specifically.

And so the tips I’ve pulled out here – I’m going to call writing tips – let’s forget the medium and look at my favourite pieces of advice instead.

Six writing tips from the Ultimate Sales Letter

(quotes directly from the book)

  1. “I built up huge “idea files” — samples of ads, mailings, and sales letters. These are called “swipe files” by pros, and that is exactly what they are used for — to swipe ideas from.”
  2. “You do not need much creativity to write letters; you only need to be adept at recycling and reorganizing ideas, themes, words, and phrases.”
  3. “Write. Don’t worry about writing a letter from start to finish. Just write blocks of copy and stack them up.”
  4. “Avoid perfectionism. In most businesses, for most purposes, you don’t need a perfect sales letter to get good results.”
  5. “Remember, the more you write, the easier it will get.”
  6. “Just about everything you do easily now was once difficult to do.”

You can grab the book here. 

Happy reading,


Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries

A classic book from Al Ries (hey that’s even written on the title) and an important concept – one that many of today’s marketers might find rather obvious, but it still worth a read particularly if you’re in large corporate marketing as it covers line extensions, naming of products, product dilution etc.

Seven of my favourite quotes from Positioning: The battle for your mind
(directly from the book)

  1. The architect of the image era was David Ogilvy. As he said in his famous speech on the subject, “Every advertisement is a long-term investment in the image of a brand.”
  2. “But what does it mean to own a position in the mind? Simply this: The brand name becomes a surrogate or substitute for the generic name.” Read More

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently by John C. Maxwell

I must admit I love a book on anything to do with connecting! It’s quite self-helpy but you can get away with it for business as everyonecommunicates-fewconnectwell!

For me, the best part of this book was how it reminded me just how important connecting is. Sure it’s always zinging about in the back of my mind somewhere, but it sometimes takes a useful/practical book like this to bring it to the forefront.

Have you ever stopped to wonder just how much of your life depends on your connections with others?

Think about your connections with your

  • boss (payrise, promotion, or fired?)
  • family (love, support, fun times or…)
  • customer service people (great service or service that ends with you wanting to bite something/someone)
  • the list goes on 🙂

Do you think the amount of money you make is relative to your ability to connect? Check this:

“The number one criteria for advancement and promotion for professionals is an ability to communicate effectively.” (from the book) Read More

Always Eat Left Handed: 15 Surprisingly Simple Secrets Of Success by Rohit Bhargava

I must confess the title of this book drew me in! (so gulliable, so easy to market to).left handed

Obviously its more about simple steps to success than about eating – as I soon discovered.

Here’s my three-things-to-go-and-do-now

1. Write it on the back of napkin

One idea I’m absolutely going to test out is writing the idea/concept/campaign on the back of a napkin (though a beer mat might be more fun?). The direct quote is:

“Back of the Napkin is required reading for all my students….  In it, he proposes that the toughest challenges you will face can be simplified and overcome if you just learn how to draw them onto paper (or a white board!).”

Obviously the key here is something small so that you have to really focus. He also mentions using a Sharpie (thick writing) for even tougher constraints!

 2. Tell stories

This is one tip that I never tire of hearing (and hopefully it has sunk in somewhat since it’s in almost every book I read). Rohit advises making it personal. “Stories need real characters, and one of the biggest mistakes that people often make is working hard to remove all traces of humanity from what they produce.” I completely agree with this, cut out the people and you end up with a load of corporate dribble about products/features/compatibility and a load of jargon words.

 3. Rewrite your job description

Being a massive fan of any sort of career advice I dug into this section (if you’re the same then go and read Lean In, I dare you). Rohit offers some sound advice which is…rewrite your job description – obviously more ‘in your mind’ that actually editing that corporate document that your boss signed off on – unless you have her approval of course. And here’s the quote that I think perfectly sums up this section – follow this advice and you will go well:
“A job description isn’t a finish line – it’s a starting line.”

Any staff member that takes initiative and goes beyond their job description is a keeper in my book (unless of course going beyond the job description entitles ‘research’ on Facebook for eight hours a day).

The above three not enough? Then you can read it yourself? Here it is.

Happy reading,

C x