Digital Strategies: Engaging Influencers, Creating Champions

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.

The panelists included:

NetSquared DC
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.

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The Most Important Questions About Your Website Strategy (Part 4)

At first glance these questions might seem simple.

1. First, ask, who needs to be part of this?
2. What are your goals? How do they align with the organization?

But once you think about them in terms of your organization, you’ll realize how complicated they are. Those of you who work in large organizations know exactly what I’m talking about. If you need a ton of buy-in from staff members across different departments, these questions can be one of the hardest parts of the process.

If you’re in a smaller organization, they can be a little less intimidating. While these questions might take you less time, you will need that time to focus on other pieces of the project. Hopefully, you have more than one person working on your website, but I know some small organizations are stretched thin.

These are also not questions that you can ask and answer in the beginning and then forget about. These questions definitely have a life to them; they have to be actively maintained.

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First Impressions Count; Yes, I’m Talking About Websites (Part 1)

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.

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