I’m working with the BBC Academy on personality driven content. It’s really interesting to hear the challenges they face in terms of engagement, and how it really relates to the challenges often felt within Commercial Radio.

The main thing that stands out is how you get personality into format. For commercial radio its the short links and commercial reads, and for BBC Local Radio, its breaking from the format of news reporting and adding personality.

If you watched the talk I did at Next Radio, you’ll know of the “Ten Things” exercise I do. This is where I ask the presenter to list 10 things they know to be true about themselves. I ask for passions, wants, needs, fears, worries….anything.

It never fails to help me as a producer or coach, to get under the surface of what makes presenters tick. Similarly it can help you to get to know your own passions, build story arcs, attach yourself to content or music you are playing out. Knowing these things means you can begin to work at getting personality into the format you are working with.

In addition you can do this about your audience: Ten Things You Know To Be True About The Audience”. The idea being that you should be able to find intersections between your wants, needs and fears, with your listener.

Sarah Kay is the inventor of this exercise. A poet who works with teenagers to enable them to express themselves through poetry. This is the exercise she does with a group, and when they start to share she finds that there are intersections between the people in the room. For example “I hate having to tidy my room” could be on more than one person’s list, and *boom* you have an intersection – a place where you connect.

Doing a list of what you know to be true about the audience, could create a similar experience between the presenter/content maker, and the audience. No doubt your own wants, needs, fears, loves and annoyances, will correlate somewhere with your audience’s, and enable you to make engaging personality driven content.

Here is Sarah Kay’s beautiful talk, including an amazing poem at the start….