How to make a magnificent mini-impression

Posted on February 21, 2012. Filed under: Storytelling | Tags: , , |

These insights and tips should help you to start formulating some attention-grabbing ideas for your storytelling videos. Good luck!

Thank you for sharing, Katya!

Kathie van Vugt irevenuestream.com

How to make a magnificent mini-impression

People decide very quickly whether something appeals to them – usually in a matter of seconds. If you work in communications, marketing or fundraising, it’s wise to remember to focus on that mini-impression formed in the first few instants of engagement.

You can be sure the Super Bowl advertisers knew that – heck, they were spending $116,667 a second to make a good impression. They didn’t always do a good job, but there is a lot to learn from their successes and failures.

In the Harvard Business Review blog this week, Ron Ashkenas shares reflections on the three things needed for the best possible mini-impression, drawing on lessons from the Super Bowl. He says to think about your favorite commercial and three things that might have made it great. Did it:

1. Capture attention. Which part of that commercial stays with you? What technique did the advertiser use to draw you in?

2. Convey a clear message. Consider the key message for the target audience. What did the company try to convey, and how did the advertiser use that to connect with viewers? How did they frame the message to make this point?

3. Differentiate. Think about what distinguishes your advertiser from the rest. How did the company use the commercial to portray its unique brand?

Now think about how this applies to your work. What attention-grabbing technique can you incorporate into your next important conversation? How can you ensure your audience walks away with your most critical takeaway? Are you making clear what sets you apart from others?

Good advice. You don’t have to have an insanely large marketing budget to master the mini-impression – you just need to remember these basics. In fact, if you have a small budget, these tenets are even more critical. You want to leave a big impression right away, every time you get the chance.

Source:  How to make a magnificent mini-impression – http://bit.ly/wzGOWk

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How to Create Enough Good Content

Posted on January 12, 2012. Filed under: Creating Content | Tags: , , , |

This article by Holly Ross and Brett Meyer is particularly helpful because it is an actual case study based on their own experience with their own company.

Thank you for sharing Holly and Brett!

Kathie van Vugtirevenuestream.com

How to Create Enough Good Content (Case Study)

As nonprofits have flocked to the e-newsletter as an inexpensive and timely way to communicate with stakeholders, the number of newsletter tips has also proliferated. While subject lines, “from” addresses, and your template design are all important, they aren’t the biggest challenge to putting out a quality newsletter. The most difficult part is creating good content, content your subscribers want to read.

For many organizations, simply getting an e-newsletter out regularly, with enough content — let alone enough good content — is a win. That was certainly true for NTEN a few years ago. But since then, we’ve developed loftier goals for our e-news NTEN Connect, transforming it from a chore we had to cross off the monthly to-do list to a blockbuster driver of traffic to our blog. And we managed to reinforce our values and culture while doing so. Here’s how:

The Chore
 

NTEN is a small organization. With just a handful of staff members, we felt the pain of the e-news challenge intensely.

Writing enough good, timely content to fill a monthly newsletter was simply not an option for our overburdened staff. Instead, in 2007, we started stocking it with articles written by members of our community.

While we selected the topics and the authors for each issue, producing the newsletter itself became a matter of curation rather than creation. This shift also aligned nicely with one of our core values: providing a platform for our community’s views. And we took one step further to publish our newsletter stories on our blog (on our website). Readers of the newsletter received a teaser for the article – usually the first paragraph or two – and a link to read the entire article on our site.

We very quickly saw a jump in the website metrics we track. Traffic started to rise and we got lots of compliments on the new format. At that point, we knew we had something good on our hands, but knew we could do even better.

The Experiment
 

We shook up our e-news format again in November 2008. Rather than hand-picking topics and authors, we invited the community to write about anything they wanted. Submissions flowed in, including quite a few we couldn’t use. While we put out an interesting issue, it didn’t drive traffic quite the way we had hoped it would.

Then we added a twist to the experiment in Fall 2009. We had always used the newsletter to “break” stories, publishing all of the new articles at once on our website, on the day we sent out the newsletter. This time, we posted the articles on our website as they were submitted, letting the authors know that the most successful posts — those that generated the greatest usage as measured by page views, time spent on the site, and comments — would be included in the November newsletter.

By this time, of course, social media had burst upon the scene. The NTEN community is generally pretty tech savvy, so we saw them using blogs, Facebook, and Twitter to share news, likes and their own accomplishments. So we tapped the power and reach of the community for the newsletter, leveraging our authors’ social networks to drive traffic to our site and increase newsletter subscriptions.

Our incentive strategy worked! That November, we saw an 80% increase in blog traffic over November 2008. We watched our authors using their social networks to highlight their accomplishment – “Look! I have an article on the NTEN site!” – driving traffic our way. That single month was a huge factor in our 22% increase in blog traffic in 2009.

Unfortunately, blog traffic in every other month (when we curated newsletter content) flatlined.

We continued experimenting with the e-news throughout 2010 to boost site traffic, redesigning the template and removing less-popular features. Nothing helped us reach the boost that the social network November 2009 edition created.

The Leap
 

So, in September 2010, we moved to our Community Guided Content model. We still ask authors to write about specific topics, but we post new articles to our website almost daily, then use the stats to determine what goes into the actual newsletter. Since this shift, blog traffic is up 37% year-over-year and shows a fairly steady month-to-month growth rate. Plus time spent on web pages on page is up – a modest but welcome increase of three seconds.

This new strategy means we’re driving a lot of traffic to NTEN.org overall: We’re up 24% year-over-year in 2011. The blog/newsletter strategy drives most of that, as you can see from the increase in blog traffic as a percentage of total site traffic for the last few years:

2008: 17%
2009: 19%
2010: 22%
2011: 25%

Most importantly, publishing more and more diverse content on the blog gives us a sense of what the NTEN community is most interested in. Then, when we compose NTEN Connect each month, instead of guessing what we should send out to our 30,000 subscribers, we can look at our blog and social media analytics data to learn what our blog readers have already found most engaging.

Looking to the Future
 

We now have a successful newsletter strategy in place — one that aligns our values and goals, and has significantly expanded our visibility and prominence in the sector. This year alone, our newsletter subscriber base has increased 50%.

Next, we’re hoping to match newsletter content even more closely with our audiences’ wants and interests. We’ve begun experimenting more with segmentation: instead of sending out one issue to our full list, we deliver seven different versions based on job function, so, for example, Executive Directors receive different content than IT staff members.

Going forward, we’ll even be able to tailor newsletter content based on the articles our readers have interacted with over time. Already, we’ve seen the potential for this level of segmentation by including dynamic content based on our subscribers’ membership status and activity levels.

Who knows? Maybe next year we’ll be able to send out a Star Wars edition to all the subscribers we know who have a thing for Han Solo.
The information is there; our community will tell us how to use it.

Source: How to Create Enough Good Content (Case Study) – http://bit.ly/svPJ2u
Authors: Holly Ross, Executive Director & Brett Meyer, Communications Director, NTEN

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Rock Stars of Nonprofit Thank You Notes

Posted on December 20, 2011. Filed under: Online Communications, Tips and Ideas | Tags: , , |

Kivi itemizes the key elements that make a great thank you note, and using this example of a real note is a brilliant way to show how these elements come together.

Thanks again for your insights, Kivi!

Rock Stars of Nonprofit Thank You Notes

I’m a nonprofit marketing geek, so I get really, super excited about things like awesome nonprofit thank you emails. That’s why you are here, right?

This week I received a thank you email from Stacey Monk of Epic Change. You may know Stacey and her organization as one of the shining examples of using Twitter for fundraising via campaigns like Tweetsgiving/Epic Thanks and To Mama with Love.

But you may not know her as an awesome nonprofit thank you note writer. Now you do.
Rock Stars of Nonprofit Thank You Notes
Stacey hits all the high notes in this email:

  • Personable
  • Positive
  • Results
  • Taking Us There
  • Credit to Donors
  • Building Anticipation for More Goodness to Come
  • A Great Photo
  • Reminder about Our Connection
  • Integration with Website and Social Media

. . . and does so in a short, very readable email.

Because I was so thrilled with this email, I asked Stacey to share a few thoughts on the results it produced.

She says the open rate was average, about 20% (which is solid, if you aren’t familiar with these metrics).

She reports that it also produced 100 Facebook likes on the linked blog post, which is “way north of normal – more than double, actually” and that “only 9 of those are from people with whom I personally am friends on Facebook” so it spread far from Stacey’s personal circle.

Stacey also received an email from someone who’d been forwarded the email from someone else who wrote:

“Hello Stacey,[Friend’s name] forwarded me the Epic Change email about Shepherds Junior 7th grade graduation. I loved it. Can you include me in on any emails re: Shepherds Junior? Thanks so much!”

She also got kudos for the email on Twitter, and here I am blogging about it.

Wonderful job, Stacey, and thanks for sharing such a great example!

Source: Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog – Rock Stars of Nonprofit Thank You Notes
Author: KIVI LEROUX MILLER 

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