These podcasts can help you tell a better marketing story


Marketing is telling the right story, through the right channels at the right times.

However, as marketers we often forget about the story and slide easily into “er” marketing or using numbers to prove we’re quicker, stronger and bigger than ever before.

But a great marketing story can highlight value for us and do it in a way that’s engaging and not overbearing.

To remind myself of the power of great story-telling and to keep my story-telling skills fresh, I listen often to several podcasts. Below are my favorites, in order.

1. The Moth Radio Hour

The Moth features short personal stories from everyday people around the country, usually around a unique theme.




2. Third Coast International Audio Festival

Based in Chicago, the Third Coast International Audio Festival collects the best documentaries, stories and audio content from radio and the internet world. The stories are sometimes experimental, sometimes true but always good.





3. Snap Judgment

Hosted by the energetic Glynn Washington, Snap Judgment is “storytelling with a beat.” The show, which normally focuses on a specific theme, features unique stories from up and coming storytellers with live music and rich sound production.




4. Shannon Cason’s Homemade Stories

Shannon Cason is a Chicago guy, or at least he used to be. Shannon tells stories from his personal life – painful, funny and moving – with no holds barred.





5. 2nd Story

Also based in Chicago, 2nd Story features short personal stories from the finest storytellers from across the city, usually around a unique theme.




6. This American Life

Produced by WBEZ in Chicago and hosted by Ira Glass, This American Life features long-form radio stories, broken into acts, about a particular theme.




Just do it. The rest will come.


The last few weeks of the school semester, although hectic, make for good reading. That’s when several of UA’s seniors pen farewell columns and dole out their advice for fame, fortune — just kidding — success and achievement at the Capstone. Underclassmen are encouraged to make mistakes, pursue their passions and leave no regrets. I would beg to add another dictum. That is “just do it” (excuse my Nike.)

Get involved, join a club, play a sport, attend a lecture or participate in a campus event. Don’t be intimidated by the over 300 student organizations on campus. Don’t succumb to the ambiguity of the your career goals or choice of major.

I have a friend whose attention to detail and creative flair made him an excellent event planner. He threw himself into Restaurant and Hospitality Management (RMH) and worked feverishly as a programming assistant on campus. However, he’s since decided event planning isn’t for him and is now pursuing a future in the graphic novels industry as a comic book writer and reviewer.

Just do it. The rest will come.

An interview with Frye Gaillard


Interning at The University of Alabama Press has its perks. Last week I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Frye Gaillard, an awarding winning author, professor and former journalist. The transcript is available below. The interview was originally posted on the The University of Alabama Press’s blog.

Malcolm interviews author Frye Gaillard.

MC: How did you begin your career?

FG:  I started writing for the student newspaper at Vanderbilt, where I was a history major from 1964-68. I found that I loved the process of journalism – asking questions of interesting people, some famous, some not, trying to understand what made them tick. I also think it helped that I was a history major because I think it helped me to see certain stories, including the civil rights story, in a larger context.

MC: How did the civil rights era affect you as a journalist?

FG: Coming of age in that era, you knew you were living in the middle of history, a time when the country was forced to answer basic questions about itself: What kind of people are we? What do we really believe in? Do we really believe in the ideals of equality and democracy contained in our founding documents. The opportunity to write about the movement in that philosophical / historical context was one of the things that pushed me into a career in journalism.

MC: What encouraged your transition from journalist and later editor to writer and author of several books related to southern studies?

FG: It seemed a natural transition. I was still trying to tell the same kind of story, or stories, but just in a different format. I discovered I loved writing at book-length, the opportunities for greater depth that came with that format.

MC: Several of your books have garnered awards, including “The Cradle of Freedom” released in 2004. What inspired you to write this book?

FG: As I’ve already said, the civil rights story was extremely important to me and I had always written about it in one way or another. I knew a lot of books had been written about civil rights history, and about that history in Alabama. But I thought I could write it as a story – to make it read almost like a good novel. I don’t mean making things up or taking liberties with the truth; but I think Cradle of Freedom weaves together the stories of ordinary people, as well as the civil rights icons like Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks, and gives those stories a human face.

MC: What do you hope readers will learn as a result?

FG: Readers have told me that they see more clearly the humanity of people on both sides of the civil rights struggle as a result of reading the book. I think that’s important. I also think it’s important to see that this is a time when the nation – and particularly the South – really did make progress. Not as much as we might have hoped; there are still major problems. But things are not like they were fifty years ago.

MC: At close to 400 pages, the book is a hefty read and full of leaders and events both known and lesser known. Describe your approach to writing this book.

FG: I thought the story was genuinely a mixture of characters both known and unknown. There were great, iconic leaders and there were also people – ordinary people – who did extraordinary things. That to me was the essence of this history.

MC: Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy and Fred Shuttlesworth are some of the giants of Alabama’s civil rights struggle. How did you hear about lesser-known figures like Mr. Cammeron, of Gadsden, for example?

FG: One interview – and there were a hundred or so before I was finished – just kind of led to another over the course of three years of research. Some of my favorite moments were talking to people like Mr. Cammeron.

MC: In the book you cover several of the seminal events in Alabama’s civil rights history like the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 16th Street bombing and the Freedom Rides. What are some of the lesser-known events that you believe to have been just as impactful?

FG: Well, in the book, I also write about the movement in the Black Belt – in Lowndes County, Greene County, in little communities like Gees Bend. There’s the story of Tuskegee, of events in Tuscaloosa, Gadsden, Huntsville, Mobile. The truth is, every community has its civil rights story. I tell a lot of them in the book, but not as many as I wish I had had room for.

MC: Alabama was once known as the “Cradle of the Confederacy,” and during the 50’s and 60’s you the state shed that moniker, birthed the civil rights movement and became what you have described as the “Cradle of Freedom.” 150 years after the Civil War and 60 years after the Civil Rights Movement, where do you think the state stands now?

FG: That’s a really good question. I find our current moment in history to be a little disheartening. In the immigration debate, for example, I hear the echoes of our old prejudice. I worry that we may be slowly losing ground, and in that context it’s important to remember where we came from.

Malcolm Cammeron is a senior at The University of Alabama.  He graduates in May.

Frye Gaillard has been a journalist for the Associated Press and the Charlotte Observer. He is the author of Race, Rock and Religion: Profiles from a Southern Journalist, The Dream Long Deferred: The Landmark Struggle for Desegregation in Charlotte, North Carolina, Becoming Truly Free: 300 Years of Black History in the Carolinas, and Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement that Changed America. He is currently writer-in-residence at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

No more “bot blogging”


Blogging pioneer Mena Trott on the power of blogging.

I must admit until this weekend, I had no clue who Mena Trott was. I had no clue she founded TypePad, pioneered the practice of blogging and revolutionized how we interact online. It is my love for documentaries and my Netflix account that ultimately lead me to her 2006 TED Talk on the power of (personal) blogging. 

Although Mena’s perspective on blogging is considered blithe by today’s standards I find it remarkably refreshing. Her talk has encouraged me to shun “bot blogging” and get personal.

The Press and southern-fried marketing

Marketing, School

Originally written for The University of Alabama Press’s blog.

What comes to mind when you think of the university press? Classical literature? Plaid-clad professors? Certainly not marketing, right? Well, despite this disassociation, The University of Alabama Press’s marketing department is where I spent several hours a week this semester as a marketing intern. ‘Why?’ you ask? Well, as a senior marketing student I have a passion for southern studies and keen appreciation of Alabama’s integral role in this nation’s history.

Juan William’s foreword in Frye Gaillard’s “Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail: An Illustrated Guide to The Cradle of Freedom” delineates my sentiments. “It is mind boggling that there is so much American history concentrated in any one place, but it is in Alabama,” Williams wrote.

Since 1945, in addition to its other offerings, The University of Alabama Press has published books of a decidedly Alabama and southern pedigree in order to foster the understanding of history and culture in the state and region.

As an intern at the Press, I’ve enjoyed using the marketing and public relations tools and strategies I’ve learned while a student to promote such books. Furthermore, the internship has offered an opportunity to learn. Learn how to draft catalog copy, review slips and back-ad copies. Learn about Birmingham’s rich jazz history, life in Cuba’s Old Havana district, the deplorable conditions of Civil War prisons and pioneers in early black baseball. Without a doubt the internship has been one of the most enriching experiences of my collegiate career.

Next time you’re looking for a good read consider any one of 1400 titles the Press has published to date. Chances are I helped promote a few.

Five things I wish I had done while at ‘Bama


Being involved on campus offers a wealth of opportunities including, but not limited to networking, professional, and personal development. Although I’ve done quite a bit in four years, there is more still left undone. Below are a few things I wish I’d taken part in while a student at The University of Alabama.

1) Earned a Sales SpecializationWhatever you think sales is — think again. The Sales Program at Alabama offers challenging coursework, real, hands-on experience and incredible job and internship opportunities.

2) Written for Platform Magazine – Platform Magazine is an excellent way for marketing and public relations majors to share their knowledge and expertise. It looks great in your portfolio and is an ideal way to hone writing and communications skills, both crucial in today’s workplace.

3) Written for The Crimson White – Being able to write effectively and efficiently is important. Writing about random student organizations, events and shannigans is good practice.

4) Interned earlier – Professionals at #RWPRSA made it clear – internship experience is a must. One internship is OK, three or more internships is golden. The more internship experience you have, the more marketable you are. Intern early, intern often.

5) Performed research – Research opportunities, like those afforded by the McNair Scholars Program and student research postions, are readily available on campus. They are a great way to bolster resumes, network with faculty and staff, gain presentation skills and secure internships.

What things do you regret not doing while at Alabama? What would you encourage freshmen to do while at the Capstone?

Introversion is ok and other nuggets from #RWPRSA

Public Relations

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend Real World PR 2012 (#RWPRSA), PRSA|GA’s annual collegiate conference in Atlanta. The conference sessions, which featured prominent public relations professionals such as Reggie Roberts of the Atlanta Falcons (@FalconsPR), Charles Bloom of the SEC (@SECPRGuy), Glen Jackson of Jackson-Spalding and Mickey Nall of Ogilvy (@mickeynall), were captivating, inspiring and highly informative. Although the conference was a treasure trove of one-liners, quotes and advice, below are the three – yes, just three – nuggets that I found most encouraging and insightful.

 1. “Introverts can succeed in PR.” PR professionals are often typed as extroverts. Despite this perception, introverts can succeed in the field. According to one professional, introverts often bring creative and insightful ideas into the fold.

Here’s a recent post from PRDaily on the subject: “PR exec: Nourish your company’s introverts”

2. Writing is the single most important skill an aspiring professional should have. Working knowledge of AP Style, proficiency in media writing and the ability to make text come alive are essential to PR success. This is so much so that one professional wished she had taken “a few more writing courses” while in college.

Here’s a note on writing according to David Ogilvy: “10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy”

3. Be politically savvy. A director of media relations for Coca-Cola spoke briefly on office politics. The key to avoiding conflict and getting things done? Collaboration.

Here’s an interesting post from AdAge on the subject: “Goodbye to Office Politics: When Workers Lead the Culture, Collaboration Follows”

Did you attend #RWPRSA? If so, what nuggets did you pick up?