Ned Kelly’s approach to the world is worth studying. You can apply it to your business publishing, to great effect.
As far as famous characters go, you can’t beat Ned Kelly. A man loved far and wide (except by the Police), Kelly was a handsome young fella with strong views about how people ought to be treated.
The story of Ned Kelly is known and loved by Australians everywhere.
It’s not just because of the romance of The Bushranger. It’s because Ned Kelly was:
(a) hanged for revenge
(b) Robin Hood.
The Kelly mythology was so strong that barely 80 years after he died — in other words, during the life of my own grandmother — it fuelled stories about Ronald Ryan, who was the last man hanged in Australia.
But that, my fabulous fledgling publisher, is a story for another time.
Instead, I want you to consider how Ned Kelly would have approached your task of producing an effective publication.
Ned Kelly: How he would have approached publishing
When you make a frankly dastardly mistake, own it and make it your business to see it through to the end. Kelly shot a cop to death but didn’t mean to… the first time. He knew it wouldn’t end well, even then, and so changed his approach to use it to better others.
Understand how powerful is your own story, and use it to your advantage when talking to your audience. The story of the poor Kelly lads is something everyone knows now: A story of unwarranted persecution, ending up with them in a position they didn’t want to be in. Telling the story enabled populations (especially women) to fall in love with Ned Kelly.
Stand up for your convictions and be opinionated! Kelly and his brothers and friends burned the mortgages of the poor (which is why the Queen herself wanted him dead, so the story goes). He wrote strong, powerful letters to the police, advising them that they won’t back down from freeing others. Later, in 1967, a famous jail-breaking Ronald Ryan did effectively the same thing — also to great effect.
Look after the people who work with you, on purpose or by accident. Ned Kelly looked after everyone who helped him out.
Be merciless to your enemies, even if they’re friends. When one of the Kelly Gang’s friends ratted them out, Ned Kelly and one of the Gang went and killed him. Just because you’re friends with your competitors, don’t let the rose-coloured shine of friendship dampen your inner predator. Go after them with everything you’ve got.
Be passionate in everything you do. Life, love, defend, proclaim, and fight with pride, not just because you’re backed into a corner, but because this might be your only chance to make a difference.
One of the most powerful of the lot is being able to use your own story to hit the right notes with your audience. To be able to do this, you have to know what’s motivating THEM. Why are they afraid, or breathless with excitement? What would you say to them if you had no f***s left to give?
If you were publishing today and this was your last day on earth, why would someone defend you until the hour of your hanging.
That, my friends, is what you want to get to in understanding your audience.
If you were Ned Kelly, how would YOU get people on-side?
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