Part I: Make the Most of Media Queries — Talking on Goodwill DC’s Marketing Innovations

Part I Make the Most of Media Queries -- Talking on Goodwill DC's Marketing InnovationsI was thrilled to get an email from Marketplace reporter Andrea Gardner a few weeks ago. I’m one of Marketplace‘s 8 million loyal listeners, tuning in daily when possible.

Anyway, Andrea wanted a nonprofit marketing pro’s take on the very innovative work Goodwill of Greater Washington is doing via its DC Goodwill Fashion blog. Seems the savvy and sassy marketing team there DC were able to punch through “business as usual,” designing a great way to turn their ages-old earned income strategy on its ear. So they are re-framing used clothing as vintage/designer/collector duds, blogging about them and other fashion trends, and selling highlighted items via their ebay store.

I admire the team and the Goodwill DC board for their guts, imagination and willingness to experiment.
Great vision to engage young professional women in Goodwill to build brand, audiences and income stream; and great implementation. Challenging however to ensure audiences — these new folks, and those pre-existing — understand Goodwill’s impact in the workforce development arena.

Unfortunately, I see only a slight probability these fashionistas will become donors (of $ or clothes), volunteers or board members. And a significant possibility that long-time (read that, older) supporters might be offended by the very light-hearted approach the Goodwill  blogger takes. Goodwill fashionistas, remember that fashion is a means for increasing revenue and audiences, not an end in itself.

But back to Ms. Gardner. To tell you the truth, I haven’t had too many opportunities to be heard by 8 million listeners, and I didn’t want to miss out. So I thought through how to make the most of this opportunity — our subsequent communications and interview — just like any other marketing program I plan and execute, with fabulous results.

You can listen to or read the interview here.

All too often nonprofits, hungry for media coverage and anxious to get their two cents in, rush to respond to a media query without working through how to satisfy the journalist’s needs while capitalizing on the coverage and long-term relationship-building opportunities.

P.S. Learn how to achieve both goals (when you satisfy a journalist’s needs, you strengthen that relationship and are more likely to get a call for the next story) in Part II of How to Respond to Media Queries.

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Nancy Schwartz on December 11, 2007 in Branding and Messages, Earned Income/Ventures, Media Relations and Press, Nonprofit Communications, Unique Approaches | 1 comment
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  • Brendan Hurley

    Nancy, thank you for the kind words about our new media strategy at Goodwill of Greater Washington.
    While the strategy has met with tremendous early success and significant media coverage, the two concerns you address were and continue to be concerns of ours: 1. The mission of Goodwill getting lost in the fashion content. 2. Older, more traditional supporters and shoppers feeling offended by the approach.
    We chose to utilize social media as a way to engage a young audience because it is a form of communication that an older audience hasn’t fully embraced yet, so we minimize any “ill will” or message confusion. Also, since we weren’t reaching a younger audience and engaging them in our mission through traditional means, we hope to be able to achieve that goal, while also building trust and increasing sales through the use of a common interest: fashion. That’s where the blog, social networking sites and virtual fashion show come in.
    While young “fashionistas” may not have the disposable time or income to volunteer or donate to us now; they will later, and hopefully the relationship we’ve established through social media will pay off.
    Getting a young population to understand and develop passion for our mission is not a quick fix. But if we continue to communicate the mission, in both large AND small doses over time, we believe that eventually it will resonate with them.
    The mission is posted on the blog, often incorporated into the blog content, and was included at the beginning of our virtual fashion show.
    Through social media, we’re starting to get their attention. That’s a far cry from where we were only a year ago.
    If we continue to build trust, I believe support for our mission will follow, without alienating our core shoppers and donors.
    Regards,
    Brendan Hurley
    VP, Marketing
    Goodwill of Greater Washington

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