When you look at a new website, it’s similar to meeting someone for the first time. First impressions count, right, even if you can overcome them with a lot of work later? But with so many websites competing for readers’ attention, it’s a lot harder to get that chance for a second impression.
What reaction do you want your readers to have: a smirk, eyes rolling, or yes, it could be eyes widening in delight? A website is the public face of your organization, and while you’ll never see visitors making those faces, you and your organization will feel the effects of them.
A website shows an organization’s brand, its personality, who it is to their customers or supporters. Some websites shout loudly but don’t have much to say, but I tend to think far too many websites whisper quietly, and get lost in the conversation online.
Being able to tell your organization’s stories is vital to connecting with your audience. (Again, when I use the word story, I’m talking about a true tale, nonfiction).
How you tell your stories will determine who will be moved by them. You can find inspiring stories, whether you’re at a nonprofit or a business, by spending time with the people you are helping. I understand this can be difficult, especially if it’s not part of your regular job description. It’s often easy to get bogged down with daily duties.
In other instances, public relations managers focus their attention on getting the organization’s message out to the traditional news media. That used to be the most important way to reach a large audience. And while good media coverage still matters, someone in your organization should also be aware that a big part of what you should be doing is telling stories to your audience directly. This allows your audience to feel a greater connection to you.
Once you find a story to tell, it’s also important to craft it in a way that immediately grabs the reader’s attention. It’s essential that you identify what part of your story will do this, as well as how to structure it. The following series will walk you through how to write the beginning, middle, and end of a story.
This is the second part of a series of posts about writing a story. (Again, when I write the word story, I mean a true tale, nonfiction). Here, I will discuss why your story matters and how to convey that.
Have you ever started watching a TV show and season one is so absolutely amazing that you’re obsessively glued to the screen? So much so that you don’t hear the doorbell, you unconsciously ignore your ringing phone, and your significant other has given up trying to tell you about his horrible day and gone in the bedroom and slammed the door. None of this registers.
Then season two comes around, and it might be almost as amazing, but you can tell it’s starting to go downhill (which may actually be a good thing for your personal life). There may be a few things you frown about, and you forgive them because season one was so great and you’re really hooked on the characters. But then season three is pretty bad (you can’t deny it anymore), and season four is dreadful, but you’re loyal and you keep watching. It doesn’t get better, and you feel like you’ve been conned.
Well, when you’re writing a story for your organization you will have much less time to keep people engaged. People will stick around for lousy TV shows because they’re hooked, but when it comes to your story, they have a million other things to do (including watching those lousy TV shows). So ultimately, you have to find a way to keep them engaged, and it has to be totally stellar.
Then she broadens this and tells you Dasani is just one of 280 children at that shelter, and 22,000 homeless children live in New York, which, she writes, is “the highest number since the Great Depression, in the most unequal metropolis in America.”