Archives For Tactics and Tools

Have you started a 365 Project yet?  A photo-a-day? A blog-post-a-week?  A journal project?

These can be an amazing way to highlight the year at the end of the next year.  But you have to spend a few minutes this week to plan for the content when you need it in 11 months from now.

Planning year-end highlight videos now

 

Here’s a fun little video that my friends Sim & Bek just released — as you can tell, it was 9 months in the making.  BUT —  if you think about how they produced it, it is something anyone (even you! ha!) can execute on if you just plan it out in advance.

Take a looksie and I’ll join you further down the page after you watch the fun vid:

 

As of this post’s publishing they’ve already garnered over 1,000 video views.  Would you love that for any of your organization’s videos too?

All this creative couple needed was a still camera — an iPhone cam would do perfectly; a regular spot for the camera to sit; and a regular spot for Bek to stand when taking a couple of snaps each month.

If you review the video again, they only take 3-6 shots for any given milestone.  Easy-peasy!

The more important thing to think out now is the workflow — You can easily email the photos to yourself with the same subject line (easy to search for at the end of the year) or sync/transfer the photos into a project folder that you set up now.

At the end of the project, all you have to do then is simply import them into iMovie or Windows Movie Maker and overlay a track of music to fit the mood.  That’s it!

What kind of project could you create in 2013 if you started today?  Check out these fun photo-lapse videos to spark your creativity:

 

Imagine taking a photo a day of your staff at work in the office.  They can hold up ipads or printouts or chalkboard with whatever big project you’re working on that month?

What about a photo a week for every Sunday at your church?

Or have someone hold up signs that feature flyers / posters / marketing collateral featuring your monthly events, message series, etc.

A simple one is to create a simple sign that says “We HEART our volunteers” or “supporters” and then take snaps shots whenever you meet one anywhere.   The key here is that you have a sign or some other device that stays constant in all of the photos.

Do you launch customer projects all across the country?  Why not create simple signs that your sales force brings around and snaps with their customers?

Or get a small whiteboard and have people answer a fill in the blank statement that talks about something related to your mission.

Imagine a year-end review video flipping through the photos of all of these various series of photos.

 

All it takes is a simple snap of a photo TODAY to get things going!  Can you help me pick a project for myself?  Drop a comment here to suggest one!

Nanalew - Puppy's First Christmas Video on YouTube

Have you seen the latest trending viral YouTube video this Christmas season?

It’s a cute 96 second video against a 1 1/2 minute music track.  Short, simple, cute.  Perhaps people just want to watch anything other than Gangnam Style, but this is a sharable, watchable fun video in its own right.

Take a look:

You can easily see how this video has racked up 4.5 MILLION video views on YouTube, at least as of this post.

While viral videos can never be architected, there are a couple of things you can learn from this viral video and apply right now:

1) Timing.  Just like the timing of PR and any newsjacking piece you are employing, timing of content publishing is important.  This video tapped into the Christmastime season as well as the niche trend of families getting new puppies for the holidays.  The lesson here? Take your intended message, subject or idea and try to tie it thematically with a current trend, news piece or movement.  You’ll hopefully be able to harness the momentum others have already begun so that your video is not trying to depend on pick-up from scratch.

2) Short & Sweet Music Track. The mechanics of the actual video are quite simple.  While there a couple of moments that are timed to the actual song, most of the video clips used in the montage are simple and almost random cuts that anyone (like you!) can put together.  The key here is that they picked a short and sweet upbeat song to use as the backdrop of the video.  By using a music track as the basis for creating the video, it becomes a much easier task to assemble clips to fill in the parts of the song — vs — building a script from scratch, and then trying to source background music to fit / match the storyline. The lesson here?  Try planning a video project by using the music track as the constraint and see what happens.

3) Lots of different views.  Did you notice all the different camera angles, and varied ways the puppy was shot by the camera?  This video took one subject, one idea.  And then shot tons of various video clips of the subject (the puppy!).  This makes is relatively easy to shoot.  Are you shooting a volunteer celebration video?  Go out and shoot various scenes of your volunteers in action, high-fiving each other, working together, etc.  The lesson here?  Don’t make it super complicated and hard on yourself.  Find simple approaches in producing your film.

4) Just Publish.  If you look at Nanalew’s YouTube channel, this isn’t the only video produced and published this year.  In fact, once you start watching the other videos in the account, you’ll see that there a bunch that are nothing close to 4.5-million-view-worthiness.  The thing Nanalew understands is that the Internet rewards a bias for action when it comes to publishing content.  Many coaching clients I have worked with continue to look at web content as single-event, milestone-like publishing.  That’s what you did in the Gutenberg era.  But in the Google era, you want to be able to publish a *stream* of content so that your audience on the web can help lift up the winners.  That’s exactly what happend with PSY and his 1 Billion View Video.  He’s been a Korean pop-star for a decade, pumping out song after song.  It was the YouTube audience that decided to make Gangnam Style the king of web video.  The lesson here?  Stop planning on planning it out.  Just start the project and drive it to completion so you can publish it.  Remember you always have the option to take it down in the end.  But please, just publish.

What else can you see working with Puppy’s First Christmas video that might be applicable to videos for your organization, cause or campaign?

It still surprises me a bit that whenever I mention that I actively use virtual assistance across the various projects I’m managing, it is still somewhat of a novelty.  The majority of people have not used any sort of remote help. . . yet.

But whenever I have walked someone through the process of finding and utilizing outsourced help, it has been a big win — and in a couple of cases, they have become basically addicted to scaling their work with the help of remote assistants.   This can come in form form of help with small finite tasks as well as hiring contractors to do full blown large-scale projects.

Slide1

One way virtual help can have a big impact for most business workflows is the role of executive assistant.  This is where Bryan Miles, founder of Miles Advisory Group comes into the picture.  Bryan has built out a service providing proficient virtual executive assistants who are all US-based, native-English speakers, technologically adept, and as he explains a bit in this interview, typically are of a much higher caliber than for what you probably would be utilizing them for.

Bryan Miles - MAG Miles Advisory Group

Check out how he describes the service MAG & eaHelp provides in this video interview below.  (the video session went totally 8-bit on us in a couple of spots, and Bryan looks like he’s morphing into Wreck-It Ralph here and there, but the audio is just fine and you’ll be able to appreciate the interview content just fine). Continue Reading…

So Want to improve your communications for end of year donor development or other community building campaign?

Take just one of the 6 core principles shared in this great video overview piece on the Science of Persuasion and you’ll be sure to see some improvements in responsiveness and engagement.

First, take a look at this fun video:

 

I’ve previously shared about the book, The Science of Giving: Experimental Approaches to the Study of Charity — edited by Daniel Oppenheimer and Christopher Olivola. If you want to learn more about the 6 principles shared in the video, that you’ll love this book — because it talks about the value, social factors, role of emotions and other important influences in charitable giving.

But again, even before diving into the Science of Giving book, I’d challenge you to take just one of the principles of persuasion presented here, and figure out a way to incorporate some of it into something you’re doing right now.  How can go back and revise language or positioning, or the sequence of messaging to leverage this learning?  Here’s a quick review again of the principles. . .

6-principles-of-persuasion

Continue Reading…

In terms of content marketing, videos are “the new black”.

If you’re on the web, you want to attract the attention of as many new people as possible. And you already know that if you’re producing content for the web, video needs to be a part of the mix.

YouTube Viral Videos in Church Marketing

The question is, just how long is the ideal video length?

90 seconds?

3 minutes?

4 minutes?

10 minutes?

Popular notion has been that you want something definitely under 5 minutes if you want it to be shared and spread across various social networks.  Attention spans just aren’t that long.  While the average online video viewed is 6 minutes 14 seconds, if you look at the most shared videos on YouTube you get a different story: Continue Reading…

One of the biggest tools you can utilize in your communications when trying to get people to consume content, sign-up for your program or attend an event is SOCIAL PROOF.

So what is it and how does it look like when put into action on the web?

Well, social proof (of some nerdies call it “information social influence”) is taking a scenario where the end user is given some choices (buy something, attend something, sign-up for something, etc) and presenting some traction data, show the other people “like you” are doing X, Y or Z.  Basically. this helps people psychologically take the risk to move in the same direction as the others doing so.  Usually, this is more effective in circumstances where the choices might be a bit ambiguous or if there isn’t a clear demonstrated need to participate (it’s not mission critical).

Shopping is one environment that is a great example.  Here’s a great example of Crocs using it in a customer email blast:

 

social proof with social media - facebook twitter pinterest

 

Do you see how they are presenting the highlighted products based on the “MOST ______ed” across the three major social networks?

But it’s not limited to shopping obviously. when you provide social proof, it taps the assumption that the people around you are making good choices and removes some of the needed decision discernment.  Social proof increases confidence in the behavior being presented as a successful one.

 

Billions Served social proof example

There are many ways social proof can be offered.  Five different ways social proof is expressed are:

  1. Crowd-based social proof –– This is the Crocs example above.  Using the masses to signal suggested choices is highly effective.
  2. Celebrity or high influencer social proof — traditional endorsements leverage the high-profile individual’s brand equity by association to provide the proof to the audience
  3. End user social proof — This can be featuring user reviews.  Displaying Zagat or Yelp review counts and specific examples is an example of this.
  4. Expert or authority social proof — Using the testimonial of a sector expert or someone positioned with authority on the category or topic related to the behavior being proofed
  5. Personal friend networks social proof — you’ve seen Facebook ads feature specific friends within your own personal network that have already “liked” or purchased something.

Whether you are trying to increase the effectiveness of your donor development communications, registration for specific events or fundraisers, or even take up a new praxis or discipline, social proof can be a powerful tool to employ across your communications efforts.

What specific marketing communications project are you working on now that could benefit from integrating social proof?  Share your live examples and we can help brainstorm how to maximize the impact.

Pinterest is an image sharing social media platform that helps companies connect with their target audience. Non profit organizations can use it to promote their campaign and collect money from donors. I’ve blogged about churches starting to use Pinterest before.  In this guest post, I have asked Hema Gupta to discuss some of the techniques for driving online traffic towards a non profit website. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please review the guidelines

Pinterest used by non-profits
We have social media networks like Facebook and Twitter for business promotion, then why Pinterest? Facebook fan page and Twitter connections bring clients, yet Pinterest is creating a buzz among social media lovers and corporates alike. The image sharing, intuitive and bright UI of this latest social media network gives it an edge over its contenders.
While Pinterest is growing rapidly and people love this image sharing platform, business houses have not explored its full potential yet. It’s quite surprising that non-profit organizations are not using this platform for promotion and fund raising, and missing a huge opportunity to reach millions of donors.
If you are wondering how an image sharing (rather pinning!) website can help the serious cause of a non-profit organization, here is how:
Creating Brand Identity and Spreading the Issue- This site is used by millions of users all over the world. Therefore, when you post something, it captures global attention. If you run a NGO, pin relevant images, documentaries and reports. Pinterest users may click on the glossy and happy photographs more often than dark and gloomy ones, but when an image is soul touching, users are bound to notice it.
  • We all know a picture can spell a thousand words and break the boundaries of social-cultural differences. When you post an image of a nuclear disaster or a child refugee, it grabs immediate attention. It creates curiosity among viewers and they will probably visit your site to know more about your organization. However, it is important not to present your organization as needy. Tell the story behind each photograph and highlight the solution so that people can help you in your mission.
  • Showing What You Do- People love a brand that has a human face. When you show the logo and ask people to donate money, it may not appeal to them. Instead of displaying a corporate image, upload some pictures of your organization’s work. Show what the volunteers are doing on the field, how you are fighting against pollution/poverty or anything else. Make people believe in your work so they understand that their contributions won’t go intro wrong hands.
  • Fundraising Prospects- Pinterest can be used to drive the “social” traffic to your website for better income. If you want to sell goods for charity, create an e-shop page and collect money for your campaign.
You can also use this site as a monitoring tool and shape future strategies. Take a look at the items people are pining from your site, where they are sharing it and the discussions about those pins. Following this strategy, you can get an idea of your brand perception and plan the future campaign promotions accordingly.
Pinterest has really opened a new door of possibilities for all types of businesses. All you need to do is set your own path and make the voice of your non profit’s mission heard.
Hema Gupta is an accredited social media marketing expert at Webguru India. She often likes to write contents on several subjects regarding website design, search engine optimization and social media updates during her free time. For more information she suggests to visiting here.

Video marketing and video seo are hot right now.  It’s one of the most effective tactics to focus upon regarding your online marketing mix, at least for the next 12-18 months.  One non-profit that has had great initial success implementing simple strategies to promote their video is led by Deric Milligan whom I have known from the Redeemer Entrepreneurship Initiative community.  It has been great to see Deric go from zero to sixty over the last several years with his diligence in learning best practices and simply executing on them.  Enjoy today’s post about how he’s focusing on video marketing these days.

Inheritance of Hope // Deric MilliganDeric Milligan’s life was changed drastically in 2003 when his wife, Kristen, was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer.  Apart from his time-consuming role as caregiver, he felt led to alter his professional aspirations.  Deric and Kristen founded Inheritance of Hope in 2007, and after completing an MBA (with distinction) from New York University’s Stern School of Business, Deric became the Executive Director of Inheritance of Hope.  His passion is for serving and supporting families like his; young families living with a parent battling a life-threatening illness.


The organization I co-founded with my wife, Inheritance of Hope, recently celebrated its 5th birthday.

To mark the occasion, we released a short video about the organization and its ministry to young families living with a terminally ill parent.  We worked hard to create a video that captured the heart of our mission and was “remarkable.”  Check it out here! :http://youtu.be/GoHl9XZSVQk

 

YouTube Video Marketing Tips and Tactics

These are 7 specific strategies we implemented to get more than 3,000 YouTube views in the first week:

1)     We created a short version “teaser” of the video to stimulate interest two weeks before the release date.  We released the short version through our monthly e-newsletter and made sure our audience knew to look for the full version on its release date.

2)     We released an email blast to our subscribers early on the release date with nothing more than the link to the video.   The only action they could take after opening the email was to click on the video.  We have also found that putting the word “video” in the subject line improves our open rates.  With an effective subject line and a clear call to action, our clickthrough rates were significantly higher than our monthly e-newsletter.

3)     We sent targeted emails to key supporters, volunteers, and past participants telling them to look for the video and asking them to share it with their friends.  We gave specific instructions about how they could share it (Facebook, forward the email, share via YouTube).

4)     We asked our inner circle (4 people) to share the link on each and every one of their Facebook friend’s wall on the morning we released the full version.  It took some time and effort, but we found that it got far more traction than simply sharing it on our own wall.

5)     We shared the video with relevant blog writers and asked them to share it with their readers.

6)     We made the video easily accessible from a number of landing pages on our website.

7)     We shared the video through our Facebook cause.

While 3,400 views is just a start, these strategies can be easily implemented by organizations of any size.  I hope these tips help you spread the word about your ministries!

Are you surprised that these tactics drive traffic for online videos?

Today, Facebook is changing the design of the “pages” that most churches use to the “Facebook Timeline” format.  

I had a chance to sit down with Sean Coughlin of FaithStreet.com recently.  He has been gearing up for the transition for some of his church clients.  

So I asked him to share some tips that you can use right now to helping reach a bigger audience on FB.  Enjoy today’s guest post.

 

Here are 5 tips to make sure your church’s timeline is optimized to reach people on Facebook. 

(1) The change to Facebook Timeline happens on March 30th, so be ready!

Facebook says, “On March 30, 2012 your Page will automatically get the new design.” Right now, Facebook allows page users to edit their timelines in a preview stage, so take advantage.  If you haven’t made any preference changes, it’s time to visit the admin section today!

Facebook Timeline in Church Marketing
(2) Choose a beautiful cover for your Timeline.

Probably the most important feature of the Facebook timeline update is the “cover”. (The cover is the giant 851 x 315 pixel banner at the top of your new profile). Churches should make sure to choose a wide angle, high resolution photo to minimize distortion. Your church is your people, and studies have show that people engage with pictures of other people far more than pictures of places. A church we work with here in NYC, City Grace, has done a great job of creating a good-looking, welcoming covers shot. Check out City Grace Timeline and Cover here. 

(3)  Pin the posts that you want people to see first.

If you have a post that you’re especially proud of or just want visitors to see on your page first, make sure to “pin” it to the top of your timeline. This might be another great picture of some members, a recent milestone you celebrated or a campaign you’re running now. To pin a post:

  • Scroll over the upper right-hand corner of the post and click the pencil icon.
  • Scroll down within the menu and click “pin to top”
  • The post will now appear at the top of your timeline until you “unpin” it.

As TechCrunch recently reported, “The feature gives you significant control what visitors to a Page see first. Be sure to at least keep a link to your website pinned at all times, and rotate it with links to your apps and whatever else you want to drive the most traffic to or impressions of.”

(4) Post Pictures Wisely

As I mentioned above, newcomers and church members alike respond to pictures. Pictures generate more likes and shares than most other types of content, which means more exposure and an expanded “reach” for your church. Since pictures are powerful outreach tools, you want to get the most out of them, right? Here’s how you do that. Instead of posting an entire album, post one picture at a time. You’ll get more engagement per photo if you individually post them than if you post an entire album. Try posting 3 photos per week – one of Monday, one Wednesday and one Friday. This will create anticipation within your Facebook community and drive engagement.

(5) As an admin, make sure your church members (and your friends) “Like” the page

This was true for “Pages” and is still true for “Timeline”, the first step to using Facebook as a tool to reach new people is to make sure your church’s people “Like” the page. By simply inviting their congregants to “Like” their Facebook page, one church we work with here in NYC went from 35 “Likes” to almost 100 in less than a week and increased its “reach” by 495%. (reach is the number of people who have seen a post about your page, and yes, that four-hundred-and-ninety-five-percent!) You can invite your friends and fellow church members to join the timeline by clicking on the “Build Audience” tab at the top of the Admin panel.

Then, you can track your page’s reach, likes and how many people are talking about your church from the Insights box on the Admin Panel.

 

FaithStreet.comSean Coughlin is the co-founder and CEO of FaithStreet.  FaithStreet helps churches reach people using the Internet. Follow Sean on Twitter: @seanwcoughlin

Pinterest is taking the social media scene by storm.

The platform’s users are overwhelmingly women (90%!) as of now. In 5 months, the has gained over 15 million new users.  WOW.

One of the stats that stand out about typical Pinterest behavior that speaks into the potential from a word of mouth marketing perspective is that 80% of of the content on Pinterest is shared content — that’s the essence of what social media is about.   Contrast this with Twitter users, where only 1.4% of the content is passed along (via Retweeting) by other users.

What to make of this?  It means that the chances of content to spread has huge potential on Pinterest.

The mad rush from business is taking place as new teaching content starts to emerge about how to take advantage of the traffic referrals that can happen with content introduced to the Pinterest ecosystem.

Take a look at this infographic that shares some of the interesting aspects of the Pinterest social media platform:

Infographic on Pinterest Basics

The question that arises of course is, what about the church? Can Pinterest be seen as an effective vehicle for church marketing?

I’ve been spending time on Pinterest over the last several weeks now and have started to formalize some approaches for sharing content which in turn drives traffic to the site where the images were originally picked-up.  I hope to share some of these practices in the near future here.

But in the meantime, here is a round-up of various posts that have started to explore how Pinterest might be relevant to church communications: