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I’m excited to share with you that I’ll be speaking once again at the Redeemer Ei Forum conference April 5 & 6 in New York.  If you don’t know about the Center for Faith & Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, you really should.  It is an amazing ministry.

Within Redeemer’s CFW is the Entrepreneurship Initiative — which hosts an annual conference on Gospel Entrepreneurship.  They also run an annual business plan competition, where ventures run by christian entrepreneurs have a shot at awards up to $25,000 for their non-profit, for-profit or arts start-ups.  This year’s theme for the Ei Forum conference is RISK: Faith or Folly.  I’m looking forward to hearing Tim Keller’s reflections on how thoughtful christian entrepreneurs can consider risk in a faith and work integration framework.

Redeemer Presbyterian Church conference - Ei Forum April 2013

 

Here’s the blurb for my talk:

Risk and Rewards of PR & Social Media:

Do you feel the pressure to have a social media presence, but don’t know exactly how it will further your venture’s objectives? Are you a bit fuzzy about when your media campaigns are actually helping or hurting your cause? Strategic communications advisor Kenny Jahng will share concrete content marketing tactics at this year’s Ei Forum.  Kenny’s insights will help you reap the rewards while avoiding the risks involved with publicity campaigns for your venture.

 

Ei Forum conference details

 

Whether you can make it or not, what questions do you have about social media, PR and how you approach communications with the various audiences related to your organization?

This is going to be a great week ahead.  I’m headed off to Q DC (www.qideas.org) to hear and interact with some forward-thinking ministry leaders and then returning to NYC to participate in Redeemer’s Entrepreneurship Initiative annual conference called the Ei Forum.

This year, I’ve been invited back to speak as a communications practitioner and share some of the trade strategies I have been employing for ministry and non-profit campaigns.  It should be a great time.

Right now, the workshop is shaping up to dive into three specific areas of which many church and non-profit leaders seem to be apprehensive about.  These are areas where most know they need to figure out at some point in the near future, but there’s a lot of anxiety, apprehension and just plain fear of being sucked into a time sink that won’t ever end.

But in my experience, these three areas are also very powerful ways to extend the reach of your communications efforts and tap new audiences in a very efficient manner.  Also, if you are strategic in your approach, using some structured frameworks, it doesn’t have to take over your life.  In fact, it can be quite manageable.  So the three areas that I’ll share in the Ei Forum presentation will cover:

(1) PR.  Public relations is a very powerful tool.  Earned media as they call it, can provide awareness, legitimizing influence and tangible outcomes if done well.  I’ll share the three keys to success in crafting great PR stories that news media outlets want to cover.

(2) Video & SEO (search engine optimization).  As our world gets even more media savvy, content production and distribution is becoming easier and easier.  Anyone trying to maximize SEO potential, needs to take a serious look at how they can incorporate video into their communications praxis.  I hope to share a simple yet powerful framework called the “10-4” methodology for video syndication success.

(3) And lastly, social media.  Social networks can leverage existing networks and the more important weak links in your contact ecosystem.  Last year, at this same conference, I shared my “5 C’s for Digital Community Engagement.”  Since then, Google+ has been one of the most recent entrants to the game that everyone needs to take notice about.  Not just because Google Plus has gained a tons of users to give it a core network worthy of connecting with, but just the fact that it’s run by the Google behemoth.  I’ll have a co-pilot for the presentation from the Google+ team in LA that is flying out to NYC to share some Google wisdom in this area.

I plan to share much of the content covered in the presentation here on this blog in the near future.

But in the meantime, take a look at this promo video for the Ei Forum this year:

Tim Keller will make an appearance from the stage on Saturday afternoon. Last year, his Ei Forum talk was about how “God is an entrepreneur.” It was fantastic. I’m looking forward to what Tim has to say this year around.

Will you help me with crafting a practical and impactful presentation? What’s your one question that’s top of mind about PR, search engine optimization (especially WRT videos), and social media? Leave your question in the comments section and I’ll see if I can address it directly in the presentation and/or a future post.

Here’s an excerpt from a press release I sent out today for a project I’m working on right now — The Adoption Journey Project (www.adoptionjourney.org)

There’s two factors of this example I’d like to highlight.  .  .

But first, here’s the content about the campaign first:

This year’s football fans gathering at various watch parties will have access to one Super Bowl coach’s personal thoughts during halftime. A free downloadable video kit is available to local game watching party organizers which features Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren.

The video message includes a personal appeal to Americans on the subject of the current orphan crisis and adoption. Dungy is involved with The Adoption Journey Project (www.adoptionjourney.org) to help influence more couples to consider adoption.

“The big win on Super Sunday would be to raise awareness about the millions of children who need a family. I would love to see thousands of local community groups and circles of friends gathering together to stop and consider how they can help,” said Dungy, the winning head coach of the 2007 Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts.

“With more than 100,000 children in need of a stable and loving family in the US, if just a fraction of groups gathering to watch the Big Game influence just one family to adopt, we would make a huge dent in this social crisis,” said Marc Andreas, Vice President of Marketing at Bethany Christian Services, the largest adoption agency in the country.

 

 

Basically, we’re asking anyone that’s hosting a Super Bowl watch party to play 3 minute Tony Dungy video message sometime during the halftime.  Dungy is the Super Bowl winning coach of the 2007 Indianapolis Colts team.  PLUS, the 2012 Super Bowl is being hosted in Indianapolis this year.  And Tony & Lauren Dungy are also Christians as well as adoptive parents.

The downloadable video file is available at www.adoptionjourney.org/dungyhalftime — along with instructions to burn it to DVD or stream it to TV set-top boxes like AppleTV, Tivo or WD Live devices.  Hosts can also download a printable conversation guide with some suggestions on how to set it up and spark some discussion.

So what are the two factors I wanted to highlight about this campaign?

(1) The usage of press releases and a resource-filled landing page is a tool most non-profits and ministries really should be considering.  The release is being sent out over PR Newswire and Christian Newswire.  We’ll see for sure over the next week or so if utilizing these outlets will gain us positive coverage and exposure.  But in general, using a tier-1 wire service can really help the cause.

Once the release is published it will also help us in approaching bloggers and other influential leaders by pointing to a media resource page with some or all of the following:

  • clean full text copies of the published press release — both as text on the page as well as a downloadable PDF.  For example, you can find the PDF of the full press release on the Halftime video campaign landing page
  • listings of early media hits for the story to give social proof
  • downloadable and embedable video clips that relate to the story
  • static images / photos that help tell the story — with captions
  • background on your organization, sometimes called “boilerplate” ABOUT US type info
  • FAQ’s that anticipate the basic questions a writer will have about the story
  • contact information so media can reach out to you to coordinate interviews and quotes

(2) See how this campaign takes advantage of timing around another public event — with this example, it is a national event that is brings with it a lot of pre-existing top-of-mind and awareness related to the advocate talking about the cause.

Over 100 Million people will be gathering around TV’s to watch the Big Game on Feb 5th, so it is a rare opportunity to reach tons of local groups huddled around the TV set on a single day.  If just a tiny portion of a percentage of game watching parties actually showed the video, having the Dungy give this appeal to Americans about the orphan crisis could make for a huge win for adoption initiatives.

Keeping tabs on current and upcoming trends will help you jump on the bandwagon and take advantage of topics that have built-in enthusiasm from the media community.  If you build your story properly, you’ll be able to get your message played in front of the audience others are already building for you.

 

If you still aren’t sure about press releases in general, I’ve written before about why I think press releases are a good tactic to use in your communications mix.

QUESTION: How can you start using press releases to draw supporters, participants and simply more awareness to your programming efforts?  Leave your brainstorming comments below.