Posts in Communications
A New Definition of Networking

Or: To Network is to give

Networking is hard. You sign up for a conference where you don’t know anybody, you spend all your time scoping out people who might be interested in what you’re selling, and you hand out 40 business cards. Then weeks down the line, still nobody has contacted you back.

There is a better way to network. It starts with changing your mindset.

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How to Figure Out What Media Work for You

Or: Why Twitter Works for You… Or Not.

Everyone has at one point been told, “there’s this new thing out there, it’s called __________. It’s really big, everyone’s on it, and we should be too.” How can you tell if this new media will be useful for your business or organization?

First off, no matter what anyone else says, you don’t need to be on whatever new media they’re talking about right this second. For most new media, there’s a period of time where it’s uncertain if it will actually take off or not, or how it can be used for business or nonprofit marketing. It takes a while for best practices to be established, no matter the platform. You don’t need to rush.

Ok, well if we can take our time and choose our media wisely, what should we be looking for in a marketing platform? There are a couple different considerations that need to be thought about when you’re looking to start any kind of marketing.

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Putting the Social back in Social Networks

Or: Organizational Listening for Beginners

Have you ever wondered what your customers and clients think about you and your organization? If you haven’t then you’re likely not focusing enough on how you affect your customers. If you have, but didn’t know where to start, this post is for you.

Part of the rise of social media has been because of a desire to hear and be heard. Where most organizations see social media as a new way of marketing, the most successful firms use social media as a method to connect with their customer base. There must be a significant shift in how you operate as an organization to be able to move from advertising on social media to connecting through social media.

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Optimizing Webpages for People

In my previous article I explained how you can start improving the SEO of your pages. Now, all of that SEO is worthless if you don’t also improve how your pages function for the end user. You want to have a page that is both accessible and useful. This can be done in a variety of ways, but I will be walking you through how to use links to improve your site accessibility, how to format your content to present it in a more understandable way, and how to use lists to your advantage.

 

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SEO Basics

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is an important tool in the modern digital marketing toolkit. It is a method for writing webpages and content that attempt to gain better visibility on the most used online tools: search engines.

Anyone with a computer who wants to know anything uses search engines. If you want people to see your online site, you probably want to optimize for a better position with those search engines.

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The Most Important Part of Communication

Trust is the most important part of any communication. Without trust, there is no way to communicate. Because of that, you need to find ways to build trust with your audience.

Why is it important for your audience to trust you? Have ever had a friend that always asks for a couple bucks every few weeks and rarely pays you back? After a while, no matter how much they promise they will pay you back, you won’t really believe them. If you can’t trust the people that you’re talking to, then nothing of significance can come from the conversation.

There are many ways to build trust with audiences. The most important part of building trust is consistency. As people see your brand acting in a consistent way, they will begin to trust that you will stay the same. From that initial trust, you can begin trying to expand that trust to include your work.

Usually when people first encounter your organization, you will have people who are excited to see what you do, and those who are naturally skeptical. You will need to be able to interact effectively with both kinds of people.

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How to Write Like You’re Talking to Real People

Have you ever written a piece for your company’s blog and felt that it came out wooden and stiff? How about writing Facebook broadcasts that ended up being a bad sales pitch? Tweets like you’re talking to cardboard? Instagram pics that… You’ve probably already got something in mind.

We’ve all seen examples of poor performance that comes from producing content for “the website” or for “the internet.” Often you can see that it wasn’t written for anyone. You can do better.

Audience personas are tools to help you speak to your audience.

Audience personas are useful because they help you imagine who you are talking with. They can also help guide you to understand what you should talk about.

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Who Do You Compete With?

Most nonprofits don’t see themselves as competing with other organizations. In the traditional sense, they don’t. Most nonprofits don’t compete to sell a product or service.

Looking at competition in a different light, nonprofits definitely compete in a variety of ways with other organizations. They compete with other nonprofits and charities for donations, they compete with all forms of entertainment for the time of their volunteers. They also compete with significant industry lobbyists for the ear of politicians.

There are many ways in which nonprofits need to compete.

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How to write an elevator pitch

The ideal elevator pitch takes less than 10 seconds to repeat, and is used to intrigue whoever you’re talking with. The elevator pitch is not to sell a product or service, but to introduce yourself and your organization. If you have a good elevator pitch, the people who you speak to will either be interested and ask for more information, or they will know that they aren’t interested in what you have to offer.

 

When establishing an elevator pitch for yourself or your organization, start with a couple paragraphs describing the brand of your organization. When writing out these paragraphs, try to answer the following questions:

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