Use Stories to Knock Down Nonprofit Marketing and Fundraising Siloes
Embrace the centrality of content marketing to your success; then simply tell stories. Stories draw us in. They make us want to be transported. That’s all there is to it. Duh! I don’t see a lot of articles I wish I’d written, but Why content marketing will make your small business sexy is one of them. Because it gets right to the heart of why folks may not be buying what we’re offering for sale. Because… we’re forgetting to sell!
Wait, you say…
I’m selling all the time. I tell folks what a great job we’re doing. How many people we helped. How we’re making the world a better place. People are very interested.
There’s a world of difference between polite, detached interest and passionate engagement. Think about the parties you attend where you pretend to listen to who you’re talking to, while simultaneously looking around the room for where you might go next. Then you spot that gorgeous, sexy person who just lights up the room. You’re drawn to this person. Everyone is. They’re exuding energy… appeal… passion!
We must draw people to us. Like bees to honey. Do you know where you keep your honey? Your stories, of course. As business and thought leader Jim Collins taught us: “We are known by the stories we can tell.”
|This puppy gives this man hope.|
Think about the meaningful stories you can tell. Yes, those heartwarming narratives where there is a character we come to know and care about. Those things that start with “once upon a time” and have a beginning, middle and end. Those things with a spellbinding plot filled with emotional twists and turns; not just data points. Those things that transport us on a journey.
Think about the places you can tell your transporting stories. The reason that ‘content marketing’ has become all the buzz of late is that social media has made it possible for us to easily share our content. Across multiple channels. And all the time. So… we’ve got to fill our content buckets: twitter stream, blog posts, Pinterest boards and Facebook wall. We’re thinking about content more than ever before.
Let’s think smart, active and creative with content. And let’s have some fun with it! Kids love to have stories told to them. They love to act them out too! And we’re all still kids inside. So think of your constituents as children, and tell them a tale that makes them sit up and really pay attention. This is not a bedtime reading story; we don’t want to put folks to sleep. This is a playacting story; we want folks to jump up and join us in the fun.
|What are your heartwarming stories?|
Let’s tell the stories we have the time to tell. If you think you must always tell War and Peace you’ll never get started. Sometimes we can do short stories, or what is called micro content. Begin with something you’ve already created, and simply edit it down. Or simply elaborate on someone else’s content, share your take on a news story, explain what pending legislation may mean for your constituents or add some captions to existing photos or videos. Or just crowd source and put up comments from your followers. I wrote a post in March that includes a number of linksto places we can look to for micro content inspiration.
In building your stories, come from a place of informed creativity. Don’t get stuck in the trap of thinking all content must be original. And don’t ‘efficiently’ use content as ‘filler’ for brand presence at the expense of ‘effectively” using content as a gateway for engagement.
Stories are powerful like nothing else. A recent article by Jonathan Gottschall, Why Storytelling Is The Ultimate Weapon, says science backs up the long-held belief that story is the most powerfulmeans of communicating a message. Actually, science proved this three decades ago. So, if you’re more of a scientist or data person at heart, use this science to persuade yourself to sell with stories. Let your emotions and passions shine through.
You’ll find people will buzz around you if you’ve got a story that sticks. It’s much better than having their eyes roll back in their sockets whenever you come into their room.