Storytelling is the catchphrase of the day (or maybe year? decade?). It’s easy to talk about the scope of your work, you know, the number of animals you saved, the number of homes you built or the number of people you fed. But to your public they are all just numbers, until you’ve given them a face and told their story. If you’ve ever highlighted one of the people you’ve helped, you know all about the spike in engagement and website traffic that follows.
Storytelling is the catchphrase of the day (or maybe year? decade?). It’s easy to get caught up in the features and benefits of your widget or service, but you can only write about those so many times before your audience is bored or no longer interested. Once may even be too many times for some of the most technical of features of your products. But if you aren’t talking about your products, what are you talking about and how does that even benefit your business?
Often nonprofits have multiple “target markets”. They need to capture the attention of donors and prospective donors, they want to pull in additional volunteers and they need to reach their constituents. Each group has it’s own “division” within the organization from development to volunteer coordinators to program managers.
Let’s say you’ve taken the time to write a blog post for your B2B website. You’ve created a rich and compelling story as full of reliable statistics and practical information as it is emotion. You considered your audience when writing your piece and you’re sure it’s going to be a hit. You press the publish button and voilà! It’s out there for everyone to see and you eagerly await the response you get. You come back a week later and find “gasp” no one read it! What went wrong?
Before we ever reach this launching off point, we’re already going to have had a lot of conversations about your business, your goals, your dreams and even, on occasion, the weather. All this information will influence the strategy we work together to create to make sure you reach those goals so you can take advantage of a sunny day at the beach or a weekend skiing without worrying so much about work.
When I was working on my English degree at Mississippi State, I quickly learned the importance of editing and multiple drafts. It always perturbed me when my professors would hand me a paper covered in red marks and tell me to try again. But as one professor told me, “Your first draft will always suck.” You never know how people will respond to what you’ve written until you have someone else read it. It wasn’t until I became a copywriter that I realized how much that statement applied to writing nonprofit blogs.
Have you ever been in a meeting where everyone gets all excited about doing something? Maybe it’s about making a change in software or holding a big event. Whatever the “something” is, everyone is excited. Then you leave and a month later you get back together, get excited again but nothing ever gets done. Pretty soon you’re just phoning it in for those pep rallies because you know you’ll never actually see anything happen.