“When the new antenna went live at New Year’s, you’d swear that Dizzy Gillespie was in your living room.”

I can easily visualize this scene, and hear it too. Can’t you?

This is an excerpt from a fundraising letter I received recently from WBGO (the premier jazz radio station in the NY metro area), referring to the value for listeners of the station’s huge new $2 million antenna.


Nancy Schwartz in Writing | 2 comments
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Being that I’m a less is more person, I’m continually looking for the right metaphor to integrate in my writing as a short cut to understanding.

That’s what metaphors do — relate something your audiences don’t know or understand to something they are familiar with. It’s one of the most reliable techniques there is (as long as you know your audiences well enough to be confident that they’ll get it — the same criterion goes for using humor in your communications).

Metaphors are a simple and proven way to build connection with your target audiences. And they frequently deliver a bonus — many metaphors are highly-visual and greatly enliven plain vanilla content to make it much more memorable.

Here’s a great metaphor model shared by Mary Beth Lambert, a participant in the recent Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop held in Seattle. Mary Beth participated on behalf of The, the program she markets for the Washington Scholarship Coalition.

A program name like that raises so many questions: It is related to clean laundry, highly-developed abs or what? But Mary Beth clarified The’s focus and impact in a second with this metaphor: “It’s the E-Harmony for scholarship students.”

This metaphor enables us to immediately understand that the program makes matches between students seeking scholarships and scholarship providers. The imagery is still fresh in my mind!

What metaphors have you used that generated an “aha?” And which ones have fallen flat, and why? Please share your metaphor experiences here.

P.S. Learn more on how to strengthen your nonprofit’s marketing impact with the Getting Attention Guide to Nonprofit Marketing Wisdom.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages | 2 comments
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You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged for over a week. Mea culpa — especially as I’ve advised you that maintaining your publication schedule is vital to your credibility and to sustaining an engaged community of readers.

As you may have guessed, I got absolutely snowed under with other commitments and, for the first time in the five years I’ve been blogging, just didn’t get to it. But now I’m back and want to ensure it never happens again. 

The same content gap happens to so many nonprofit marketers I know, especially with website updates and blogs which somehow seem more ephemeral, thus easier to let slide.

So let me share my secret recipe for the care and feeding of your nonprofit newsletter, website and blog–the content inventory. Here’s how it works, using your newsletter as an example:

  • List the regular features, as well as the range of topics covered in the lead article in each issue.
  • Outline three topics for each feature and three for the lead article. Topics should have some longevity.
  • Schedule an ongoing hour each week (at a set time on a set day) to write one of these features or some of an article, gradually building up your content inventory. 
  • Once you have three of each feature and three lead articles, take a break from your content creation hour.
  • Scan your inventory monthly, on an ongoing basis,  to ensure it’s up to date.
  • Next time a work crisis or unexpected commitment arises, pull a story or two from the content inventory. It’ll be fresh (because you’ve kept it that way, right?).
  • As soon as you deplete your inventory, re-schedule your weekly content creation hour and refill it.

What are your strategies for keeping your nonprofit content flowing?  Have you built up a content inventory and, if so, is it working for you? Please share your keep-the-content-flowing experiences here.

P.S. Get more in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit marketing  success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Content Creation | 3 comments
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