Communication, Content and Connection
My Communication Journey: Learning, Creating and Teaching
I stuck with my major (Mass Communications) the entire time I was at Midwestern State University. A few months before graduating, I struck up a conversation with a math professor about my future.
At one point, he condescendingly asked:
“And what exactly do you plan to do with a mass communications degree?”
I explained to him that the degree would allow me to apply myself to any number of industries or positions.
He didn’t believe me. He said:
“I’ll bet you’ll realize there’s nothing you can do with it after a couple of years. And you’ll be back here trying to get a different degree.”
That was 1998.
Over the next 20+ years, communication, content and audience played a more significant role in my career than I imagined.
Healthcare, real estate, company training, continuing education, product marketing, SaaS, non-profit fundraising, technology, recruitment advertising, telemedicine, app services and more
Social media, blogging, TV, radio, video, podcasting, email marketing and more
The Content/Communication Game-Changer
One of my biggest successes as a "mass comm guy" was also one big career catalyst.
Content, media & goal
By 2007, I started to build a reputation for developing written, visual and audio content that resonated with audiences and distinguished itself from others. The Dallas/Fort Worth NPR affiliate thought I could take that skillset and improve the results of their on-air radio drives. Aside from being responsible for raising over $1 million a year, this was an exciting challenge for a few other reasons.
Lack of History
I was not an NPR listener, and I had limited familiarity with the shows, guests and listeners.
I knew listeners hated on-air drives. Was it really possible to change that through a new content and communication strategy?
Lack of Experience
I didn't have any experience in radio (much less major market radio) or non-profit fundraising.
Content & Staff
The station had a veteran radio staff and tons of fundraising content. What could I effectively change?
Results & Takeaways
The station had the mission, media and messengers - but communication from the media and talent had to evolve. Much of it had become stale, repetitive and sometimes harmful. New listener-focused content and messaging had to be developed to turn the tide.
Once changes were made, fundraising records were set, and the station received positive feedback about the content and messaging. Breaks felt more like programming, messages sounded less pushy
and listeners felt more inspired to donate .
Following the positive changes, I would talk to other stations about their challenges and offer insights and ideas to help them with their drives. Learning and sharing are a big part of my approach to my business today. I've learned a lot since this experience.
Consumers Want the Same Changes in Digital Marketing
Little did I know that the feelings, actions and demands of those listeners would mirror consumer behavior in digital marketing.
During the next 11 years:
I developed expertise in social media, email, podcasting, web video and blogging but noticed traditional marketing strategies weren't effectively translating to our new marketing era.
I started to study trends through some fantastic coursework provided by Northwestern University.
These studies showed me exactly what happened:
Marketers were no longer in control - consumers were, and they were tired of being "sold."
They want to be treated like humans, and they want the people behand the brands to act more human.
It was clear these trends aligned with my marketing experience and philosophy because success was consistently rooted in a focus on audience and differentiation. Yet, not every company is willing to evolve, and it's tough to watch the repercussions of that.
After 10+ years more of content work, I expanded my communication expertise with a master's degree in 2022 and launched this business.
My expertise in content and communication is rooted in people and a drive to help a business.
Today's marketing era is challenging - even for marketers. Humanized communication can be a game-changer.
Whether you're a new or established business, profit or non-profit, marketing team or limited team - I'm here to help. So, let's talk shop.