May 23, 2012
By Eric Gervase in Heard on the Web
I shared this article a couple weeks ago on our Twitter account. But, I thought it was worth talking a bit more about here. Katya identifies a moment in time where your audience is most open minded, and how important it is to be able to identify moments like that.
Here’s why it is important. You have limited resources and money to present your marketing message. You want to optimize that as much as humanly possible. Even if you have a ton of money and resources, you still want to optimize it…. so, it’s not just a great message for us over-worked and under-capitalized. Anyhow… Katya uses the Chesapeake Bay Foundation as an example of how to do this well. They encouraged their volunteers to spray paint the message “Don’t Dump – Chesapeake Bay Drainage” on storm drains. That’s “the moment” if I’ve ever seen it.
It made me think… what is your organization’s moment?
May 14, 2012
By Eric Gervase in Content Strategy, Formative
Once upon a time, I was a hack running blogger. Not a ton unlike now, just a different subject matter. Something that always entertained me was that I was never trying to build an audience for my blog. In fact, I had no real goal of anyone reading my blog. Mostly, it was an outlet for any new idea that I was learning about at the time… Running.
After a bit of time, I began reading a bunch of other blogs. A lot of them just like mine. Also, some very talented as well. Through communicating with them in their comments and them in mine, I began to build a group of people who read my blog on occasion. I also began to see what the “more successful” bloggers were doing to get read. All the while, I still didn’t have huge need to be read… Though that need was growing a bit.
Then, a funny thing happened, I didn’t have anything new to say about the topic. My enthusiasm dried up. Running, though still an effective way to keep the weight off, just didn’t inspire me to write anymore.
Get to the point Eric. The point is this… I wasn’t writing for anyone. My writing consisted mostly of running logs with the occasional funny story. I wasn’t trying to build an audience. I was developing a community of friends that all cared about each other. At its most basic, that is what I hope to accomplish. I hope that we are all able to develop a community where we all care about each other. Once it becomes about “building audience”, we’ve just marginalized the very people we should be connecting with.
So, I say, build community… Not audience. You’ll be happier and more successful in the end.
May 1, 2012
By Eric Gervase in Events
We just completed our first two workshops in March and April and had about 12 nonprofit professionals attend each one. What was so great about this, was that we got the opportunity to share ideas with them. But… more importantly, they got to share ideas with each other and us too. Admittedly, one of the things we did wrong was get in the way of their conversation. We’re working on that and we think we did better in the second workshop than the first. But, one of the best sessions that really stirred some conversation was the “Content Ideas” session. We only got half way around the room (so only 6-7 of the 12 people) and we had quite the list of content ideas. Here is an idea of the different things that the people in the room were doing.
- Community Impact Report
- Photos of kids taking part in organization activities
- Special Events
- Conversation Series
- Feeding national blog on local website
- Career opportunities coming out of the college
- Volunteer opportunities
- Volunteer videos
- Photos of service dogs
- Educational Events
Of course, I’d assume most of you are doing newsletters and annual reports of some sort. I’d also guess that you are posting photos on Facebook as well. But, I thought the photos of service dogs was a particularly cool and most likely very active idea. Just like in this post, events can be a rich opportunity for content. Actually, most events are content in and of themselves. It’s just another opportunity to share your cause. Don’t miss it.
If this sounds interesting and you want to be part of the conversation… come on out. We’ve got one more workshop coming up on May 15th. Check the link for details. http://www.nonprofitresourcenetwork.org/events/detail.php?id=594
April 28, 2012
By Eric Gervase in Storytelling
I’m really interested in how people communicate the data and research around their cause. But, one thing to remember when doing so is that, “statistics aren’t stories”. To communicate these statistics as consumable and exciting stories, you have to present more than just the statistics and data. There are a couple ways to do this. But, one of my favorite is through an Infographic.
Take, for example, this Infographic. There is A LOT of great information here. But, since it is so visual and well laid out, it is very easy to digest. It is clear, at quick glance, the message they are trying to pound into your skull. 97.5% of all the earth’s water is saltwater. 2.5% of the earth’s water is freshwater. Less than 1% of all the freshwater is accessible to us. Pretty powerful numbers. But, I would have likely missed that information if just thrown at me in a simple stat.
The second example is great for an altogether different reason. The design is pretty simple. But, the thing that is remarkable is the way that they use the Infographic to elicit emotion and right next to it give an outlet for that emotion. They give their audience a compelling bit of information and then give them a form to fill out to help them affect the problem. That’s a great combination of data driven storytelling and a direct link to action.
So, two great examples. One that uses quite a high factor of design to catch attention, one that does a very effective job of connecting data to action. While statistics do not tell a story, they can be presented in a way that does. Maybe statistics can be a story… when presented well.
April 27, 2012
By Adam Grim in Uncategorized
Tools like videos, social media, an infographics are at the forefront of any conversation on digital communication; but the power of the tools will never surpass the skills of the person using the tool. The best designed infographic will have little affect if the story behind the data is week; the same rule applies to any flashy new digital technology.
A recent story on NPR lists three resources that can help communicators at any skill level increase their ability: Jargon To Jabberwocky: 3 Books On Writing Well