Melanie Deziel is the Co-Founder & VP of Marketing at The Convoy, and the author of the best-selling marketing and business communications book “The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story ideas.” She is an international keynote speaker, skilled virtual presenter, and is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in native advertising and branded content. Today on BetterPR, Melanie applies the framework to real, everyday public relations situations.

Read the transcript:

Kathie Taylor  00:00

Hello, and welcome. Today, our guest is Melanie Deziel. She’s the co-founder and VP of Marketing at the convoy, and author of the best-selling marketing and business communications book, The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas. She is an international keynote speaker, skilled virtual presenter, and is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in native advertising and branded content. Hello, Melanie.

Melanie Deziel

Hi, there. Thanks for having me.

Kathie Taylor  00:27

Well, thanks for being here. And I just have to say the intro that I just read is just the first paragraph on your About Melanie page on your website, Please fill us in on the rest of your story, it’s really amazing.

Melanie Deziel

I’ll do my best to hit the highlights. My background is actually that of a journalist. So, I studied journalism, I always imagined I’d be a journalist. But when it came time to go job hunting, what I discovered is that there was actually a much greater need for the skills that I learned to training as a journalist, you know, those skills were much more needed in sort of the marketing sales, PR side of things where folks are trying to tell stories, and maybe haven’t been given all those same storytelling tools that I was taught in journalism world. So, I found a way to the Huffington Post where I was a content creator on their branded content team. So, advertisers would come to us and say, hey, we want to create something that the HuffPost audience would like, and I would help them figure out what that is and help them make it. You know, this was a different time on the internet. And so, the answer was very often a list, we did a lot of lists-based content, a lot of blog posts. But after Huff Post, they moved over to the New York Times where I was their first ever editor of branded content. And there, we got to expand quite a bit the types of content we were working on. So, we got to create really awesome, interactive infographics, we did many documentaries and other great video content. It was a really exciting time. And that team ultimately went on to generate $18 million in revenue. Its first year so you know, really incredible sponsored content stuff they were doing to help support the work of the newsroom, which, you know, definitely made the journalist and me happy that we were getting to keep those lights on and keep the doors open. For all the hard work happening in the newsroom. I spent some time at time Incorporated, where I helped with branded content planning across the 35 US magazines. So, timing has since been split up and you know, sold off to different organizations. But at the time, those were brands like Time, People, Entertainment Weekly, Sports Illustrated, a lot of really fun content brands to work for. And, you know, what I realized is that as I was going from publisher to publisher, I was always going to be limited by which brands wanted to work with that particular publisher at the time and I realized that if I set up my own shop, I could reach more marketers and teach more marketers these storytelling tools and hopefully have a bigger impact. So that’s when I started my own consulting and training firm that became story fuel, and really spent, gosh, that was like 2015, have spent most of my time since doing workshops, speaking at conferences, I wrote my book that you mentioned. And then just earlier this year, I joined my husband to co found the convoy, which is slightly different, but really our focus at the convoy is helping small business owners save money by combining their buying power. So, sort of like taking your favorite local pizzeria, and teaming them up with lots of other pizzerias so that they can get Domino’s level discounts on the supplies that they order by kind of collaborating their buying power. So, it’s a really cool concept, helping small businesses, which is kind of at the at the heart of most of the stuff that I do anyway. So really fun opportunity and some creative content opportunities.

Kathie Taylor  04:00

Oh, man, I love that. Especially when you think that small business makes up, gosh, I just read this, the other day makes up an inordinate percentage of the employment opportunities in the United States. And I think that’s fantastic.

Melanie Deziel

And you know, not only most of the opportunities, but these are typically higher paying jobs than you can get with big box stores. They retain employment better when we’re in times of high unemployment, you know, you’re more likely to be safe with a local business than you are keeping your job at a big box store. So just small businesses are incredible, truly.

Kathie Taylor  04:35

It’s interesting, and I’m going way off topic, but now I know I have to say it. We were just talking about my business partner is part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and they just went back for their advocacy day for small business. And you know, what she found was that we are a micro business, my own company. We’re a micro business, we have five employees were very small. But there’s not a lot available to micro businesses like ours. So, I’m really intrigued by the Conway.

Melanie Deziel

Yeah, well, full circle moment here. One of the first clients that I created sponsored content for at HuffPost was Goldman Sachs, 10,000 Small Businesses. They were one of the clients that I worked with and created content for small businesses for over a year for their program. So definitely love the work they’re doing. But yeah, exactly, there’s, there’s not a lot of help out there. So, you know, since it will be helpful for you, the convoy Dotco, or the, either one will work is our website, the And if you go and check it out, there’s a marketplace there with over 200 Discount Codes that we’ve pre-negotiated for businesses just like yours. So, you may not qualify for all of them, they might not all be relevant for your business. But everything from discounts on Zoom discounts on web hosting, you know, discount codes that you can use for ordering signage or stationery gifts for your clients. Anything you might need lots of great discounts, they’re totally free. There’s no catch. We’re just out here trying to help small businesses save money. So hopefully that marketplace of discounts for small business and micro business owners is helpful.

Kathie Taylor  06:21

Oh, that’s fantastic. I know I’m going to check it out. And I’m going to make sure everybody I know understands about this. Yeah. But I’m going to hit the tangent button and bring myself back in. Because I would really want to talk about with you is the content fuel framework book. Like I mentioned to you before, we were chatting before we started recording, my business partner, Renee and I went to San Diego and we saw you speak at Social Media Marketing World in 2020 before the world shut down and everything went away. And we’re sitting there in your session, like mouths agape, nodding furiously at everything you said. And there were no words to talk about it later. Like we both went out and went, ah, that was amazing. And so, we haven’t, like I say, we’re a micro business, we serve micro businesses primarily. So, we have been really taken with this idea of helping small businesses make their content work better for them. And it feels like a simple concept until you try to actually implement it. But it’s brilliant, right? So, I have to know, did you just like wake up one day and go? I got it.

Melanie Deziel

No, no, I wish. If it did, man, I’d be writing more books. Because if it all came that easy, man. No, it was it was something that kind of formed over quite a period of time, maybe more than a year. And it actually was something that I was teaching in workshops. So, I mentioned that I was doing a lot of corporate training. And like you saw me at the conference, I was doing a lot of workshops on generating content ideas and I found myself coming back to the same frameworks over and over again. And so, you know, the more I trialed that framework with my different audiences, that I got feedback, you know, advice, clarity on what parts were confusing, and what parts were clear. And I just kind of refined it as a as a workshop over the course of a year or so. And realized that now that I have it all detailed out and understand it really well, this could be packaged really nicely in a way that makes it accessible to folks who might not be able to get to a conference and see one of the sessions or they’re a smaller business. And bringing in outside speakers for workshops isn’t in their budget, hopefully, a sub $20 book is a lot more accessible, and they can get much of the same information.

Kathie Taylor  08:50

I’m laughing because I’m sitting here with my book, I don’t know if you can see it, but it’s flagged. And then I realized, well, I’m flagging, like every four pages, so I’m just going to turn down the pages of the ones I really like. And then I have every four pages turned down. So, I’m like, Oh, my God. So, I’m just going to have to make sure that I keep referring back to the sections that I really love. Yeah. I want to kind of break it down a little bit for our listeners in talk about, you’ve got focuses plus more math’s equals content idea times multipliers. Yes. That sounds about right. Okay. So, let’s break it down even further.

Melanie Deziel

Yeah. So, you know, at the at the highest level, that formula, and I’m not a math person. So don’t be intimidated. If you’re also not a math person like me, this book is not math. This is the only formula that you’ll have to know. The idea here is that we think of content idea as like a single noun, it’s just a thing, a content idea, but it’s really more than that. It’s these several different pieces that make up a content idea. So that’s where the focus plus format equals content idea. When you are trying to come up with an idea you are actually coming up with two things. The focus is what it is that you’re trying to say. So, another word you might use for that is like topic, theme message, story, all those kind of fit into that category, like, what is it that we’re trying to say? What lens are we going to say that through? And then the format is, how are you going to bring that idea to life? And it’s really important that whenever possible, you try to start with the focus, what is it that I want to say, and then figure out what’s the best way to say it, because you don’t want to sort of force an amazing story into the wrong format and have it not had the impact that you were hoping for. So, what I do in the book is I kind of breakdown 10 different formats and 10 different focuses. That gives you 100 possible combinations of focus and format to come up with ways to tell any story. So, the goal is, of course not to create 100 ideas about the various pieces of content about the very same thing. But to give you a greater, like starting points so that you’re not starting with just the one thing you could think of, but you’re actually starting with a framework that allows you to generate lots of ideas and choose the best from among those so that hopefully, you’re not feeling stuck or having writer’s block is often because you’re able to, to kind of start with an almost like a prefilled idea matrix that you can use to tell the story you’re trying to tell.

Kathie Taylor  11:22

I love that so much, because as PR practitioners, we’re all about process, right? And making sure that we are covering all of the steps in the in these different ways that we handle our work. And the framework, I think, is brilliant so I’m going to make an example. Today, our focus is Melanie Deziel and the person is our focus and our format is audio. So, can you apply a multiplier to this?

Melanie Deziel

Absolutely. So, multipliers are then sort of like, talk about those at the end of the book, that’s like your secret sauce to turn one piece of content into many. So, in a way, the multiplier that you’re using is each episode, you’re talking to different people. So, one conversation can sort of become many. But what you could also do is, let’s say, this episode does well, and everyone’s learning lots, maybe we multiply it by location, and other nearby chapters also share that conversation with an audience in a different place. Maybe we multiply it by time, and you can break the interview down into smaller pieces to share on social media. So, you’ve got 32nd clips and 62nd clips in a, I don’t know what, three-minute preview so you take that one piece of content, and by considering these other elements, things like location or time or demographic, you’re able to get more content ideas from that single idea that you start with.

Kathie Taylor  12:54

Oh, my gosh, I just love this. Okay. Okay. So as a small business owner, or a micro business owner, we have presented this information. When we came back from San Diego, we were like, okay, we’re going to do this. And we’ve introduced it multiple times to multiple teams. And we often find that people tend to go right back to that one and done got to make more content thing. What kind of advice would you give to leaders about being able to implement something like this that makes that beautiful piece of content that you’ve done? How do you get people to think that way?

Melanie Deziel

Yeah, honestly, one of the one of the biggest things you can do is build brainstorming and idea generation into a process itself. So oftentimes, not always, but oftentimes, constantly degeneration is not baked into our processes. We start with the first draft or the outline or, you know, something that assumes the idea is already there. And what that means is that by the time someone’s being asked to create content, they are already assumed to have an idea. And they’ve got to work really fast, because everybody thinks that point has passed, right, and I need a blog post. Well, they assume you already know what you’re going to say. So, when you can start the process with the idea of whatever that means for you. It could be that you have a weekly brainstorm session, it could be that you have a document that everybody contributes to where you log ideas as you have them, it could be a quarterly mega brainstorm, where you log everything in some sort of shared system, you are ensuring that there is dedicated intentional time being put toward coming up with those ideas. And that makes it a lot more exciting. You have things to look forward to and different ideas and more time to think about it. But it also makes sure that you don’t have to make an idea appear out of thin air on the spot, in a way that’s going to kind of force you back into those comfort zones. Because while the framework can be used very quickly just like we did here, you can apply it in minutes. It’s a reality that when we’re under you know, when we’re in a time crunch, we little time little resources, all of us kind of default to the things that we know best that are safest or most familiar. You got to make it easy. And you got to make it familiar and accessible in order to make it easier for folks to use it on a consistent basis.

Kathie Taylor  15:18

And I love that collaboration piece. Especially in today’s world where I’m working from my home office today, my entire staff is remote. So, I love that whole collaborative idea of it is bringing people together and talking through these things and throwing out ideas, because I think that’s where the magic happens.

Melanie Deziel

Oh, yeah, well, one of the things I like to do in a workshop setting and I always recommend there’s ways you can adapt this for your team. I use 10-sided dice, so you have die that have 10 sides on them, right? If you roll that die, you can use it as a prompt for one of the focuses and one of the format’s it’s seemingly random, right, you could also draw numbers from a hat or use a random number generator, whatever you want to do. But you give yourself sort of a random prompt, I’m going to use focus number four, and format number seven. Okay, let’s do a challenge and see what we can come up with at that intersection. It kind of makes it really fun. It works well as a group activity, because you could have the same idea, we’ve got a new product coming, but different groups are using different combinations to come up with ideas. Oftentimes, you find that when you share those ideas, they get combined into like a super idea. Or you take the best elements from each and come up with what’s the idea. I just find that sometimes those random prompts turning it into a game, a creative exercise, makes it more fun and more approachable for people because it doesn’t feel so serious. We can be silly, we can share thoughts that aren’t complete, we don’t have to have as much fear of judgment because we’re feeling like we’re playing more so than working.

Kathie Taylor  16:51

I love that. And you definitely go into detail in that in the end of the book, with the now what, how do we get this to end you have lots of great resources on your website as well.

Melanie Deziel

Yeah. So, you know, when the book first came out, which was actually right around the time that we Social Media Marketing World that came out, February 24, I think 24th of 2020. So, it was like right around then that we met, I had grand plans of having an official game made up and rolled out. But obviously 2020 had other plans for everyone. And that didn’t come to fruition. But you can find links on the on my website at under the book section, and you’ll see the content fill framework, there’s resources there on how to make your own game. I’ve got like links to the stuff that you need. There’s a free printable game instruction sheet. I tried my best to make it easy for you to still have fun and play the game, even if you know supply chain doesn’t allow us to produce it just yet.

Kathie Taylor  17:55

Well, it’s cool. Because fairly recently, I want to say in the last six months, I went to your website, and I bought the book. And I went a little fan girl, and I requested the autographed copy. And the worksheets and the kind of the cheat sheets that you have are so fun, I was going through this because we’re going to play stump the star here in a minute. And I was going through this with Renee, my business partner. We were talking through it, and we were just going back and forth on ideas that we were pulling from those teachings on how we could go about doing what we’re going to talk about doing here. I totally encourage everyone because as PR practitioners, we are storytellers. Our main goal in life is to tell those stories and your content ideas and the call-to-action things in the headline worksheet that you gave out or that you have available on your website really get you on fire again when you’re stuck.

Melanie Deziel

Yeah, I think you know, this has always been so interesting to me. Coming from the journalism world we didn’t really have a scarcity mindset around ideas because you know, the papers always got to come out, the websites always got to get updated, the news must go on right? So I’ve always had sort of a view of these things as really renewable resources. There are always more ideas, there’s always more stories, right? And that’s really my goal, is to kind of help other folks feel similarly so it’s great to hear that it kind of helps you have that feeling to like there’s plenty to go on, there’s plenty I can use to start. I’ve got prompts, I’ve got you know guides, resources, that’s kind of what I want everyone to feel like I can do this I’ve got this creativity is so hard content. I got this.

Kathie Taylor  19:49

Great. Yeah. And it’s reminding yourself to use the tools that you have for sure because these are fantastic tools. I wanted to ask you; you have a virtual bootcamp that you offer on the website to help people implement. What is that like?

Melanie Deziel

So, is this the brand storytelling bootcamp that you see? So, it’s sort of a virtual version of, of the keynote that I would have given probably the one that you that you saw where we’re kind of walking through the entire framework bit by bit. You learn about all the focuses all the formats, we do examples, it sounds like we’re going to try some examples here, which is exciting. Really, it’s meant to kind of teach you the framework, because I know some folks love to pick up a book like you did, and get paid flags and highlights, right. And other folks learn more by doing or by hearing. And the bootcamp is sort of an opportunity to do that virtually and kind of go through everything. My goal, truthfully, has been to try to adapt this and deliver it in as many formats, so to speak, as possible. There is the audio book for folks who are more audio learners. I’ve taught it as a semester long class, I’ve taught it as a weekend intensive boot camp. I’m trying to make it accessible for folks, however they learn because I think it’s an empowering thing to be able to come up with content ideas on a moment’s notice.

Kathie Taylor  21:20

That’s cool that you said that about it being an empowering thing, because I did the work before the work today. Where in the book, you’ve got this section before we jump into the focuses in the format and whatnot. But it tells us kind of to stop for a minute and take a look at why am I doing this? And I think that’s a huge thing for all of us is, am I doing it just because it’s a really cool idea, I want to do it or what do I want to get out of it? When there’s a series of questions in the book that you ask us to think about for ourselves, and you answer the question, and one of the questions is what I hope my audience will feel as a result of my content. And that’s what I said, I hope my audience will feel empowered to look at their content creation in different ways. I know that was fun. I feel very validated right now. Thank you. So, okay, so I want to play stump to start with you. And, you know, a little preface is we, because our chapter is the Reno Tahoe chapter, we have a fairly large metropolitan area that we cover, but we also cover a lot of rural communities, and you know, talking about micro businesses, and small nonprofits and organizations like that. So, the focus that we have today, is an iconic institution in a community that went through a horrible experience and is now rebuilding their brand and their reputation. And they have very little in the way of written history, there’s a scrapbook somewhere that we’re looking for. I find that I want to begin telling these stories that might focus is the history of this institution. And that my format might be an animated tour through this scrapbook. And then my multiplier might be that it is in this historic, it’s on the National Historic registry of places. So, I think there’s a lot to work with, but I’m wondering, what kind of lenses could you put on this?

Melanie Deziel

Ooh so fun. So, with your multiplier what I would say is you could probably. I don’t know how long the history of the organization is, but you could probably do it by decade. Here’s what the business looks like in the 20s, 30s, 40s, you know, et cetera. I don’t know how, maybe if it’s a shorter history, you go with individual years, or increments of five or something. But that might be a fun way to break it down. You’re sort of building the whole timeline as you go. I think especially when resources like physical resources about the history are scarce, people are a really good opportunity to get some of that history. Talking to people who, I don’t know, their family goes way back with the organization, or they’ve lived in the area for a long time, or they were partners or clients of the organization. They benefited from the work that they do, kind of just the folks who are who can share the story of the organization since the organization can’t necessarily speak for itself if that scrapbook is lost the time.

Melanie Deziel

I think, I don’t know. Does the organization have a physical location?

Kathie Taylor  25:02

It does it occupies this building. That is also historic.

Melanie Deziel

Okay, so yeah, there’s a lot of opportunity there, it would be cool to see, and this is probably in city records, here’s that journalism background coming in, how that building was built and what it was when it was built. And some of the architectural features that make it so important or looking at other things throughout history that have happened in the physical building, even separate from the organization is still a way to talk about tangentially what they’re up to, and get people interested. Let’s see, I think anytime you’re talking about history, it’s smart to think about a timeline as a possible format. If the timeline comes in the form of you doing a piece, decade by decade, that’s great, you could make an actual timeline where people can kind of go through and look at each event as it happened on the timeline. I imagine if you do get that photo album, that scrapbook, that would be great. You could probably do some pretty cool photo slideshows, photo galleries, kind of letting folks see either archival pictures or other sort of documentation, like, here’s early ads that we used to run or here’s what our menu used to look like, whatever the case may be. Photo albums are great when you have access to any sort of historic visuals. Maybe a quiz if this is an organization that’s been in the community for a long time, it might be fun to do like a how well do you know such and such right kind of test the knowledge, this works really well, if you have content to follow up on those topics? So as an example, perhaps you ask about the location? And if that’s a question that they get wrong, when they’re testing their knowledge about the organization, now, you send them over to that blog post about the stork building so that they can learn more about it, right. Use any incorrect answers as an opportunity to educate more through content on that topic. Let’s see quizzes, fun. A map, maybe I don’t know, what’s nearby in the area, but there might be kind of a fun opportunity if you show the map of the of the area, and maybe you could point out other local landmarks that have some connections. So, the red stars represent all the other community organizations we’ve partnered with. And the blue hearts represent all the charity partners, we’ve had that have benefited from our work. And the yellow star is where our founder was born, whatever you can find kind of locally, if there are other geographically relevant touch points. That could be a fun way to explore the history through the lens of the local history.

Kathie Taylor  27:56

Oh, my gosh, I love all of those things. Thank you. That’s amazing. And it’s really cool to get that because you can do a quiz, let’s see, how would I do that? Right. So, it’s really cool to get that that tie back to, again, that content that we’re creating,

Melanie Deziel

Truly that is the framework that I shared, that’s what’s happening in my head. It’s why when you mentioned something that’s that, I mean, I love this stuff. Because what I’m doing in my head is saying, okay, could we make a timeline? Yeah, we probably could. Here’s an idea for that, based on the focus can we make, what if we do through the lens of people through the lens of history, a process if you kind of go through, it acts like a bunch of prompts, and it makes it so much easier than starting with a blank slate? So hopefully, that’s proof positive that it works well even without a lot of time to prepare?

Kathie Taylor  28:47

No, I love that. And the way that you were able to, to say, well, maybe we could do this. Yeah, we could do it this way. I think that’s helpful. Because sometimes we all sit in a room and go, we could write a press release, right? Like, yeah, and there’s so much more to public relations and press releases. That’s why this is so key, because we can apply all of this content creation thing, to tell the story that we’re really trying to tell.

Melanie Deziel

Well, yeah, and we’re also, I think, sometimes we get stuck in a single piece of content mindset, where, okay, we make a press release, but like, then what happens, right? Sometimes it’s hard to build momentum until, you know, an evolving story or a lengthy story. If you’re thinking of it, like single pieces. When you can do a brainstorm like this and start to see the connections like, okay, we’re going to build this timeline. And at one point on the timeline, we’re going to have this photo slideshow of when they were building the building, and on another point, we’re going to have the audio interview talking about why they chose this location. And you can kind of start to see how all your different ideas could fit together or combine or become a series or just kind of creating a campaign really so that you’re telling the story in a new and different way. It’s over the course of time and not just sort of a flash in the pan, and then back to the drawing board.

Kathie Taylor  30:07

Excellent. I love that. Thank you for playing with me today. That’s my favorite. Fun. I do have one more question for you. You’ve mentioned your journalistic background, you have a keynote that’s mentioned on your website, about think like a journalist. And because we’re PR practitioners, we work closely with journalists, sometimes it’s a very wonderful, friendly situation, and sometimes not so often. But what can PR professionals do to think like journalists and help foster those relationships?

Melanie Deziel

100%. Okay, so I can talk about this all day. But I’ll give some quick tips on sort of making journalists happy, we’re very, very simple creatures. Luckily, you know, the, the best thing that you can do is, first off, individualized outreach is really important. I think that’s true, probably for all sales and outreach. But journalists get tons of pitches all the time. And if we’re getting a copy, paste, and there’s nothing personal to us, or we’re BCC, and we know that 60 other people got that story, the chances of us picking it up are pretty minimal, because we know everyone else is going to do it too. And that’s not special for our readers or our publication. The individualized outreach can make it feel more special. The other thing you want to do is make it easy for them to say yes, and I know that might sound vague, but what I mean is, there’s a lot of other things that happen after they say yes to you that they have to go and do. And that could be tracking down contact information for sources. So, if you provide that you make it a lot easier, right out of the gate, they have to go, their editor is going to say, well, we need a visual for it. They’re going to have to now track down a photo and get the rights to the photo. So, include options for imagery that you have rights to, or they can use for that purpose with how they should credit the photo. You know, make it super easy. And as part of that you should be sharing, why it makes sense for them, specifically, if you’re going to a specific journalist, but also why it makes sense for their readership. I know I get a lot of a lot of press releases myself still, that they’re always talking about why it’s amazing, why the organization or the product or the event is great, but they rarely mentioned why my audience in particular would care about it, because everything in that press release might be true. But if you’re sending me a press release for a new drone and I run a gardening magazine, doesn’t matter how great the press release is, right. But if you start talking about how, drone photography allows you to get better pictures of your garden, and to lay out gardens from above, I’m making this up as I go so, I’m sorry to all drone engineers and gardeners at the same time or allows for better agricultural planning, because you can survey the land more efficiently. Like now you’ve given me a reason that my audience cares about it. And I can make that tie in. Again, making it easier for them to say yes, by providing as much as you can, I think is the kind of the best way to build that relationship. Because if you’re someone who’s easy to work with, if, if I’ve got 20 press releases in my inbox, and only one of them has contact information and photos and has given me a great hook that works for my specific audience, not just people in general, then yours leaps and bounds ahead of all the competition in that inbox.

Kathie Taylor  33:31

Thank you for that. That’s fantastic. I like that because your drone and garden example off the top of your head was amazing. But it but it kind of does. It comes back to what we do in our daily work is and then what happens and why and to apply that same philosophy to our media outreach, I think is tremendous.

Melanie Deziel

Yeah, absolutely. And then the other thing is, journalists, I don’t know, I can’t speak for all journalists everywhere, but for the most part, they’re not driven by money, right? This journalism is not a particularly well-paying profession. Most of them are very mission or purpose driven. Understanding the issues that are important to them, that they’re an education reporter or they’re an agricultural report, or they’re a business reporter. And keeping in contact with them about those things. So that could be you know, hey, I saw your article, even if it has nothing to do with you or your client, hey, I saw your article about that event downtown. That sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing about that show that you care about what they care about. And that’s going to really help build that relationship because, like I said, most of them are not in this for the money. They’re in it because they care really deeply about the topic that that they’re covering and showing that you also care is a great way to find yourself on a friend’s list.

Kathie Taylor  34:54

I love that. Thank you for that. I understand you have a new book coming out.

Melanie Deziel

I do I do. So, this October, just a few months from when we’re recording here, my new book is coming out. And it’s called Prove It Exactly How Modern Marketers Earn Trust. The content fuel framework really addressed how to come up with the ideas and prove it addresses how to choose which ones are best aligned with your business goals. What we find is most of us are operating in the most skeptical consumer environment we’ve ever had to work, and it’s very difficult to earn consumer trust right now. With prove it, again, given you a framework, that’s how I roll to kind of figure out what are the things that I most need to prove to my audience? Where’s the distrust? Where’s the concern, the skepticism? And how can I use the content that I create, to combat that, so to prove that I am who I say I am, and I do what I say I do, kind of giving you more of a sense of purpose and strategy behind carefully selecting from all those ideas that you’re generating.

Kathie Taylor  36:07

That’s really a cool thing. And I think about some of the struggles, not struggles, I would say some of the areas of improvement that I’ve noticed, in some of the work that we do is really getting down to audience identification. And do you feel that this is something that can help a little bit with that?

Melanie Deziel

No, I think you probably need to know on some level who you’re who you’re speaking to. We don’t talk for example, about audience segmentation, or creating avatars or personas that’s not covered in the book. But if you are getting more familiar, than having the awareness of what are these things they could be skeptical about is going to help you put more depth into those kinds of personas as you’re interviewing potential customers, you might know the right questions to ask to see what they’re skeptical about. Because, you know, whether you know them super well or not trust is definitely going to be a factor. So, if you can understand what is it that I need to prove to them going into it, I think you’re going to be able to ask better questions and get the right information to make it easier for you to earn that trust and make the sale.

Kathie Taylor  37:20

Excellent, because everybody in the county is usually not who you’re trying to reach. I think this is really great. It’s a really great way for us to think through being that trusted advisor that we want to be and being able to put out things that people can hold on to, especially in today’s marketplace of ideas.

Melanie Deziel

Yeah, definitely. The data out there, it doesn’t matter where you look, the data tells us that our audience is looking for evidence, right? They don’t know who to trust. So, again, like we said, for the journalists, right, make it easy to trust you by providing all the proof upfront. I think if you can take that approach it doesn’t matter which industry you’re in or the exact size of your business, I think you’re on your way to creating deeper customer relationships and seeing business growth, and sustainability come from that.

Kathie Taylor  38:23

Fantastic. Melanie Deziel, thank you so much. We’ll be looking forward to Prove It coming out in October, and people can check you out at Is there any other thing you’d like to leave our listeners with?

Melanie Deziel

I just like to tell everyone that there’s no such thing as a creative person, right? Every person is creative. So please know that this is not some magical skill that’s out of reach. It’s not something that you just don’t have a knack for. It’s a muscle. It’s a skill and you can build it by practicing and hopefully that practice can be a lot of fun. So please know that you are a creative person, whether you might think so or not. And if you have any doubts, just remember, you never have trouble thinking of creative ways that things could go wrong. So now you know that you can think of creative ways that you can tell your story instead.

Kathie Taylor  39:20

Fantastic. Fantastic. Thanks again, Melanie Deziel for coming on better PR.

Melanie Deziel

Thanks for letting me share my story.