Marion Farrelly – How to be interesting: The keys to cut through and working out your X Factor 

Now, what if I told you that I could capture your attention in 30 seconds or less. Then convert that attention into engagement so great – that you would voluntarily spend an hour of your day – every day – consuming my product. Then add to that maybe another hour of your day talking about my product to your friends, family, online networks.

And then – and here’s the kicker – what if I told you I could turn that engagement into action – to the tunes of millions of dollars in revenue – in the space of one week? And I would do that by persuading you to spend your own money to vote on the fate of a group of people that you don’t know – in a situation that doesn’t impact you or your life in the slightest? And what if I could do that every week? Week after week. In various different forms. To the tune of 8 billion interactions and counting.

So here’s the question – is that a formula you would be interested in knowing? My answer is a big fat yes. 

I’m talking of course about reality television. Now before you roll your eyes, and believe me I get it – let’s get real about the influence it wields. In the UK, more young people voted in the final of Britain’s Got Talent, than voted in the most recent general election. I’ll give you a second with that one. As a content tool, it exists within and shapes more conversations than the news. And as a force – it literally redefined the concept of celebrity and shaped an entire generation of attention spans. 

And on that note – I arrive at today’s guest.

Marion Farrelly created, built and produced some of the most influential reality TV shows on the planet. Shows such as The X Factor, Big Brother, Celebrity Apprentice, Dancing with the Stars, The Farmer Wants a Wife. Her content has been watched more than eight billion times worldwide and she’s put more than ten thousand people on stage, who were then watched by hundreds of millions. 

She’s worked with everyone from Hollywood A listers to Astronauts, Politicians to Popstars, Cyber Security Specialists and CEOs. Having recognised one thing very early in her career – that the people who were world-class, charismatic and utterly influential, all had one thing in common – The X Factor. 

In today’s conversation we get into:

  • The X-Factor – what it is, what it looks like and how to harness it from the fist moment – whether in a pitch, a video, or walking onto a stage. Casted over 12,000 people.
  • The formula for turning engagement to action; i.e. getting people to ‘vote’ – either with their time, attention or money. 
  • The power of ‘sticky information’ i.e. how to have the largest impact with the least possible words.
  • The A, B, C & D of presenting yourself in the best possible way whenever you’re required to step up. 
  • How to cut out the white noise; every industry has white noise – the words everybody else uses
  • The difference between hoping something will happen – and making it happen. 
  • And, in what has been possibly the most obvious and yet insightful piece of advice in the history of this podcast. Why the antidote to stage fright is one simple sentence: ‘no one knows what you’re going to say and so therefore, you can’t get it wrong’. Sounds obvious, but believe me it’s worth spending some time with that one the next time you feel any fear around using our voice. 

I’ve known Maz for a little while now. Other than being as brilliant as she is wholehearted. The reason I asked her on the show is really simple – I really believe that if you took everything she knows – about the levers behind attention, influence and action – and how to pull them – and then injected it into a brand or political party. It would rewrite the playing field.

Imagine an election campaign so compelling you would pay to vote? Hard right? Hopefully not so hard by the end of this episode.

So, turn on, tune in, put down the hashtags and enjoy my chat with the explosion of energy that is Marion Farrelly… 

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