marketing

Sometimes we have so many strong stories available that it’s hard to select the best ones to feature in a specific campaign. At other times, it seems impossible to source the right story or find a fitting one to harvest from the story bank. I’ve been there.

Luckily, there’s a proven, two-step solution to both problems:

  1. Pinpoint what your people need to understand about your organization’s focus (problem or cause), and about your solutions and impact.
  2. Select or find a story that provides those answers.

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Nancy Schwartz in storytelling | 0 comments
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Does the protagonist of your story know what she’s getting into—how you’ll use her story, and the risks are of sharing it? Probably not, if you’re like most communicators. Let’s change that.

Organizations like ours—that share stories regularly to activate our people—wield power and influence. When a protagonist lends us her story to share, she opens herself up to curiosity, criticism, misunderstanding, and sometimes even physical harm. It is our responsibility to respect those whose stories we share, ensuring they 1) are comfortable with the way we use their stories and 2) stay safe.

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Nancy Schwartz in storytelling | 1 comment
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It's About Them -- Your Network -- Not Your Org, So Shape Your Messages AccordinglyYour network (my new word of choice for your audience/base/supporters) has to be your organization’s guiding light, 24/7. Because if what you do, and how you say it, doesn’t interest with their interests and needs, your organization is dead in the water. (FYI — that intersection is your brand, but that’s another post.)

When you craft messages, it’s imperative that they resonate with your network. Not that your organization doesn’t have some very real needs that may have nothing to do with the outside world, but either you find the meet with your audiences or your communications fail.

Take a look at these crystal-clear examples of what works (that intersection) and what doesn’t: These are email subject lines from three organizations, each asking me to respond to an online survey:

  • XXX Religious School needs your opinion! (thumbs down)
  • What do you need? (thumbs up)
  • How can we help your child? (thumbs up)

Each subject line makes the same request, but the first one does so from the point-of-view of the organization, whereas the latter two do from from the reader’s perspective. The benefit is clear; I can guarantee you that these latter two surveys generated a much higher level of participation — the organizations behind them are so focused on their audiences that the audiences are bound to respond more eagerly. Everyone loves attention, and to be understood.

My prediction? Extend this focus to all of your work — program and communications — and your organization will flourish.

P.S. Don’t miss out on the in-depth articles, case studies and guides on branding, messages and more featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Photo: Flickr Moog

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages | 2 comments
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