Content is king. So what are you doing about it?
There is something so simple you should be encouraging all your staff to do it – and that is blog.
But there is a tendency for such communications to be run and controlled by the ‘Communications’ Department or team. So a blog is something a select few are asked to do. You probably have to submit your blog for it to be checked in advance to make sure it is ‘on brand’ and uploaded to the main site. Or worse still, if you’re the CEO, maybe its written for you.
We started a very simple approach at SolarAid which is beginning to pay off and gradually spreading. Staff are encouraged to do their own blogs about their work. This has so many advantages.
1. Because people are really publishing something, they do all the final editing themselves. Chances are if they have to submit something centrally they won’t quite copy proof it. But when you are making something public for the world to see you really make sure it’s ready. By encouraging blogs that staff can do we don’t have a bottleneck of content that needs proof reading. It’s just there.
2. It’s fresh because, well, it’s authentic – captured at the moment you were excited enough to write about it.
3. All we, i.e. SolarAid, have to do now is point to it. Instead of having to deal with a backlog of content to edit we just tweet, facebook, or plug the latest blogs.
So you can follow “SunnyKathy‘s” fantastic trip to Kenya, or read of SolarAid’s CEO, latest insights, or find out what Ellie is up to in Zambia, or what John Keane, our roaming Head of Programmes, has seen. Or yes even me. I blog using SunnyRichard to capture little anecdotes as they happen (check out the links highlighted).
We now have all this lovely and engaging content that SolarAid can easily point to and help amplify. And, if we don’t use it now, it’s still there – not hidden on some hard drive or someone’s inbox or in-tray never to see the sight of day.
Your best brand advocates
And of couse this extends beyond blogs. Get as many staff tweeting and using a variety of social media (such as Flickr, Pinterest) and now your social media strategy goes up a notch because you have all this fantastic content being directed your way by people with a passion for your cause (I assume if you are a non profit thats one of the reasons people work for you!). All you need are some selected hashtags and ‘follows’ set up and you are away. It gets better. Photos submitted will be tagged and captioned and probably of better quality (after all what budding photographer will upload poor pictures out of focus). Because it goes public there is a sort of pride about it.
And videos. There is a belief that videos have to be done by ‘professionals’. No longer. It’s something we can, and should, all master. Check out Katie’s wonderful SunnyMoney song as it happened in Tanzania.
Which comes back to that lovely phrase that “your staff are your brand”. Now they really are.
Simple isn’t it. In fact it feels so basic I apologise if having read this you are saying. “Duh. Of course”. It’s just I think that controlled communications still dominate many places. Which is a shame when we have such great stories to tell. To get this started you need to give your staff a nudge. Few will do this without being told they can. However many will enjoy the prospect. It’s just they need permission – and advice where its needed (such as how to get started on Tumblr or WordPress).
And then there is the next step.
If your staff can produce great, engaging content what about your supporters and donors? Can you let go and set them loose too? But that’s another story or the subject of another blog.