I’m deviating a bit again from my website strategy series to bring you an expanded version of the post I wrote to the amazing people subscribed to my newsletter.
I’m about to share with you the best idea I have right now about being super connected with your audience.
I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and I can’t believe I haven’t shared it explicitly here. I’ve only mentioned it casually because I assumed everyone already knew. But lately, I’ve realized how important it is, and how some people don’t totally understand it. Why would they? Not everyone thinks about communication and audience all day, right?
(But for those of you who have thought about what I’m going to say, think deeper. Think, well yes, but am I really doing this?)
Anyway, this best idea revolves around narrowing your audience. Yep, that might sound a bit crazy.
I’m taking a break from my website strategy series to bring you a blog on storytelling that was originally published on TechSoup. If you like this, don’t forget to check out my other posts on storytelling.
Remember the old woman who lived in a shoe? Or the man who stepped in a puddle up to his middle? Or Peter Peter, pumpkin-eater who had a wife but couldn’t keep her? Even if you don’t remember the full rhyme, one of them probably rings a faint bell. That’s because these aren’t just children’s nursery rhymes; they’re sticky stories, or stories that stick with you for decades.
When we were children, we all knew how important stories were. Many of us demanded them every night, sometimes over and over again. We like to be entertained, and we definitely like to hear about the impossible.
So, isn’t it obvious that’s how you should be reaching your audience? And I don’t mean rhymes, but really high-impact, emotional stories, true stories. Because there are many out there waiting to be told.
Now I know storytelling is a buzzword right now, and buzzwords come and go. Storytelling has been a buzzword before, and will be again. As a former journalist, I was passionate about it before, and I will continue to be long after people have moved onto the next buzzword. But even when storytelling is not a buzzword, your story needs to be told.
And these stories you want to tell need to stick, they need to entertain, and yes, sometimes they need to talk about the near impossible.
I’m deviating a bit from my website strategy series to bring you a post that was originally published on NetSquared. I wrote it with Roshani Kothari, my co-coordinator of NetSquared DC.
Nonprofits often struggle with creating effective content and engagement* strategies. It’s not enough to just share stories about your impact, but how do you mobilize and engage people who are passionate about issues you’re working on? NetSquared DC organized a panel discussion at the innovative co-working space, 1776, on Engagement Strategy: Empowering Champions* and Influencers* on November 3, 2015, to delve into this question.
NetSquared DC Engagement Strategies Panelists — Maddie Grant, Andrew Nachison and Dale Pfeifer (left to right).
Here are some of the key points shared during the discussion, plus a couple of our own thoughts.
1. Put People at the Forefront of Your Stories
Your audience will respond to stories that immediately grab their attention. For example, a story that begins with a big emotional impact will leave the reader asking questions and wanting more information. It will keep them reading, and that’s what you want!
One of the best ways to do this is to tell the story from someone who has been impacted by your work. Interview people who are your influencers and champions, and find out why. Create meaningful relationships with both of these groups. Write their stories exceptionally well (hire someone for this if you need to; great stories told well are priceless). Share their stories with your audience.